“I will study Your commandments and reflect on Your ways. I will delight in Your decrees and not forget Your word.”
Do we delight in the Word of God? In reading it, in studying it, in sharing it?
I believe we would want to say yes to this, but when we think about devotions–sometimes especially family devotions–we can tend to sigh and think of that as boring.
But maybe that’s because we’re looking at devotions in the wrong way.
We tend to view devotions as something to check off our list–read some Bible verses, maybe teach a little bit, and then move on. And that can sound boring. Especially to kids.
Now I obviously don’t have kids, but I do work with them! And I also remember family devotions from when I was a kid myself and the ways my mom always made them super fun.
So if family devotions are feeling boring, or even intimidating lately, here are some creative ways that you can participate in devotions as a family without hearing the kids say, “I’m bored!”
1. Act it out!
When I was a little girl, my twin sister and I loved to write scripts for plays and then act it out. For family devotions, my mom would sometimes use this skill we acquired to have us act out skits to Bible stories we were discussing.
As a family, choose a Bible story you want to learn about and then assign roles to acting it out. Be silly and have fun with it! Or if you want to be more creative, choose a specific theme such as, “showing God’s love” or “the armor of God,” then split your family up in teams so each team can create a skit based on the theme you’re learning about. Then enjoy some friendly competition.
2. Watch a movie and discuss it!
Movies are engaging for just about any age group and they can teach a lot. Family movie nights are fun in general, and during quarantine I’m sure we’ve all had plenty of time in front of TV. But what if you used the time you had with your family in front of the TV to teach a lesson?
Before watching the movie, give everyone a pen and paper so they can pay close attention during the film for any lessons they can learn. Encourage them to write down anything important so they can share them with the family after the movie is over.
If you want even more interesting conversation, choose a movie that is family friendly but doesn’t have a clear Christian theme. This can open up the door for some interesting and engaging faith discussions.
3. Use music!
Music is powerful and everyone loves it in some way or another. Choose a specific theme you want to learn about or discuss and have everyone in your family go find a song that shares the same message. Share the songs you’ve chosen and you can even enjoy some time togethering worshipping through song.
If you want to take this deeper, pick out some of your family’s favorite worship music and research the stories behind the lyrics.
4. Do an identity check-in!
For a few years I was a writing ambassador for a women’s ministry called Lane of Roses. Every month we had team meetings on Zoom and we always started them with something they called an “identity check-in.” I loved it so much I’ve used it in zoom calls with our youth and it works really well.
Especially when we’re walking through situations in our lives that are difficult or chaotic, we can forget who we are in Christ and who God is to us. We lose sight of those things, and it’s important to bring the truth of our identity in Christ–who we are in Him–back to our focus.
To do an identity check-in, you ask 3 simple questions:
- Who was God to you especially this week? (Example: This week, God was my Peace in the midst of situations that tried to bring up anxiety)
- Who are you because of Christ? (Example: Because I belong to God and He gives me peace, therefore I can be calm no matter what is going on around me.)
- How can you live because of this truth? (Example: I can choose to trust God and go to Him for peace when I start feeling anxious, and I can do that through reading my Bible and praying.)
These questions can spark great conversations on who God is and who you are in Him.
5. Zoom call with another family!
To give your family something new and exciting to look forward to, invite another family you’re close with into your devotion time for a week. You can all share different input, enjoy each other’s company and engage in fun games together.
6. Serve others as a family!
When we learn more about God and how to love Him more, we want to serve Him and others more–which helps us to learn more about Him and love Him even more. So one of the ways you can grow as a family in knowing God and loving Him is by serving Him.
Who are some people that could use encouragement right now? How about someone who needs help? Gather as a family and brainstorm ways you can serve God and others this week. Maybe that’s by writing cards for people in the church who might be lonely. Maybe it’s by working together to cook a meal or dessert for someone who could use that right now. Or maybe it’s even by making homemade masks for people you know who need them.
7. Look for reasons to be thankful!
So often we fall into the habit of going through prayer requests and praying only to ask God for things. Prayer requests aren’t the problem at all–the problem is when we treat God more like a vending machine than the King of kings.
One of the ways we can avoid that problem is by remembering that prayer should include gratitude.
And here’s the thing about gratitude: Gratitude changes our attitude.
When we make gratitude a daily part of our lives, our perspective and attitude on our current circumstances shifts greatly. So as a family look for the little things to be thankful for–try to see how many you can find and list out in an hour or even all day!
8. Use object lessons!
This is one of my favorite ways to teach and learn. Object lessons provide you with the opportunity to engage others hands on. You can find plenty of object lessons online, using Pinterest, and they even have books written that are filled with useful object lessons.
One way that I’ve used this before with teenagers is to have everyone go and find a random object. Once they bring that object back they have fifteen minutes to look up Bible verses or stories and come up with a way that object can teach a Biblical truth. I’ve had teens come back with bottled water and then teach off John 4. And I’ve had them come back with paint and talk about how we are God’s masterpiece. Using object lessons in this way not only engages everyone, but it also gets them thinking deeper than they may have before. I can almost guarantee they’ll remember this much longer than you would expect.
9. Memorize Scripture together!
We’ve lost the importance of memorizing Scripture because we’ve gotten busy or we’ve gotten distracted.
As a family you can provide each other with accountability to memorize the verses you’ve chosen, along with providing a little friendly competition. You could even set a memorization goal as a family and have a special family prize when you reach that goal.
10. Watch the TGSM Kids videos and discuss them!
Each week we put out our TGSM Kids Weekly episodes. But instead of just watching them, engage with your kids through discussing the lessons we teach and memorizing the verses together–even doing the weekly challenges together. You could even have fun with it and test your family to see how they would answer the kids questions each week.
Devotions don’t have to just look like sitting down and reading a few chapters from the Bible out loud and discussing them. When we realize that devotions and growing in our faith–especially as a family–can be outside of our box and we can find God in the every day pieces of life, we open our eyes to so much more.