I’ve been writing about making priorities for your school year align with God’s heart for your family.  This applies to all about priority setting and living, no matter if you have school-aged kids or not.  If you missed a post in this series you can read them here:

Thinking Through What Your Fam’s Spiritual Training Looks Like.

Today I’m getting to the nitty gritty. Now that you know that God’s Word says YOU are to be the teacher, THE spiritual influencer in your child’s life, let’s talk about what spiritual training looks like. As you read, ponder.

The Bible. A Must.

In your still time with the Lord, ask Him what spiritual training would look like for YOUR family with YOUR children, their ages, their individual and collective sin natures, bents, struggles, interests, passions, temperaments and needs. Plan to have specific times of investing God’s Word into the hearts of your children.  Here are some things to ponder on as your family’s devotional time(s) will be uniquely your own.

  • What to study from God’s Word?
    • A few verses a day in Proverbs? A chapter a day? Digging Deep in The Psalms? The life of David? A specific book of the BIble? A specific character quality needed in your home to hone in on from men/women in the BIble? A topical study on particular character qualities needed in various children (and/or yourself)
  • How to go about studying it.
    • Read through the Bible in a Year? Chronological Bible? Use a study guide? Commentary? Strong’s Concordance?
    • Read through a Bible study together? Do separately and come back together to discuss?  Or read together?
  • Who will be present?
    • The whole family? Just the oldest? A separate Bible study or book study with a particular child in need of that time/topic with you?
  • Who will be leading?
    • Will the dad lead at nighttime when tucking the kids in? The mom in the morning?
    • If your kids are older, will you be rotating them into the mix of leading? (more on how older siblings can help in tomorrow’s post)
  • When will you have your own and your family devotional time?
    • First thing in the morning- as a disciplined time, before the kids head out to school? In the evening with the whole family together?
    • If you are home all day – multiple times throughout the day
    • As a homeschooling mother, home all day – although our plan varied year to year, most days we were able to do something related to our “spiritual goals” during meal times. This helped me be more consistent.
  • Where will your planned (or even spontaneous) devotions take place?
    • In the living room? On the floor of your child’s bedroom? While feeding your only child in the highchair at lunchtime? At the table at mealtime? Your family all sitting on your bed together?
Devotions during mealtimes worked well for us. All six kids home. Boo hoo. I miss this.

Devotions during mealtimes worked well for us. All six kids home. Boo hoo. I miss this.

Sometimes, they would draw pictures while great books with a spiritual theme/emphasis were read.

Sometimes, they would draw pictures while great books with a spiritual theme/emphasis were read.

  • What does your devotional time look like?
    • Each family member with their Bible opened up while sitting at a table? Study resources spread all over the center to cross-reference and dig in?
    • Are you all sitting together on the floor, with little ones leaning against you?
    • Casually sitting around in the den, on couches and floor with one person reading?
    • You presenting? asking Q/A’s? Engaging the kids in dialogue?
    • Being transparent? Sharing your own personal journey with Christ? Practical application? Laughter? Are you okay with crying, revealing your tender heart? (You should be.)
    • Please note: train ahead to your active ones to teach them sitting still. At a separate time, prior to devotion, set a timer for a brief period of time and have them sit still – with nothing in their hands. Gradually increase the time on the timer.
Relaxing in the den, listening to a story on missionaries across the globe.

Relaxing in the den, listening to a story on missionaries across the globe.

This globe is used to refer to the location of the missionaries in the stories we are reading and as a prop for Kelsey’s body. LOL

This globe is used to refer to the location of the missionaries in the stories we are reading and as a prop for Kelsey’s body. LOL

  • Do you want to incorporate other things into your devotional times? or at separate times throughout the day or week?
    • music, prayer, journals, scripture memory, great books chosen because the theme/emphasis aligns with your goals of what you want to teach the children this year. More on this in tomorrow’s post.
    • Be aware of the tendency of some temperaments to be too rigid once a  plan is made. Desire to hear the Holy Spirit guide you with creativity and ideas that meet needs that may arise after you’ve made your plan for the year. Be flexible.

On Monday’s blog, Melissa, my friend, mentee from nearly 20 years ago, and my now-assistant with Cultivating a Home will be sharing in a guest blog post.

Then, I’ll be sharing a few more things to consider going into your devotional time. Topics like praise, worship, prayer, scripture memory, special books that sway the hearts, choosing a particular spiritual emphasis. You don’t want to miss it.

Just a few of my favorite books as I strolled down Memory Lane thinking about devotions with the kids.

Just a few of my favorite books as I strolled down Memory Lane thinking about devotions with the kids.

What does your favorite type of devotion with your family look like?

Rhonda Thisiswhatmyspacelookslikerightnow. ellis

4 Comments
  1. Sandra Hendricks

    The last three years we used some great material called “God’s Great Covenant,” which is a four-part chronological study of the Old and New Testaments. It is set up as study material, though, with questions, fill-in-the-blanks, quizzes, etc. after each story. Midway through the material last year I realized that Jude was dreading “Bible time” because it was just another school subject that required completing workbook pages. When I dropped the “work” and just read the stories, it went much better. Any thoughts on how much to require from the kids? (I’m sure age and temperament are factors.).

    • Sandra, thanks for sharing with us about God’s Great Covenant. I do think it wise of you to recognize when something (or some component) isn’t working and to change it (or even stop it completely).

      I’d love to hear comments from others regarding your question.

      My thoughts are that children shouldn’t dread BIble time, but also that it should become simply part of our family’s culture. So, the question is how do we do both. Finding BIble studies or approaches that work for your family- pray for direction, ask your friends what’s working for them, as your kids (I’m speaking to all reading this comment and wanting help with your same question) become old enough for their input, you can ask them. But, ultimately, you’re not asking “do you want to or not to do devotion/Bible study” but would you prefer this (method) or this (choice)?

      If a child is seeing it as another school subject, I would change the approach to be more casual…like move from a desk or table with pen and notebook to sitting together on the couch and reading and discussing. Or, changing it up and even being spontaneous (or googling specific ideas ahead of time) and acting out or making props for a particular thing you’re studying.

      I know that Mystery of History is a history text book (used most often by homeschooling families) and it has many fun activities. I’d love to hear other ideas. In fact, I’m going to ask this question on my FB page. Respond here and/or there. I think we could get much input from others. The point is – not this particular book- but the creativity in making the Word come alive and having fun with it.

      One of our goals in parenting, though, is indeed for the children to learn to study the Word…to dig in, to digest…and always to apply it. So, the part about sitting still and actually studying IS indeed important. This might be an approach where the mindset is to work with them first thing in the morning to show them how to have a personal devotion in the Bible, and showing them how. When they are younger, this could be with the assistance of a good children’s devo guide. (Would love to hear names of ones people have enjoyed and the appropriate ages for them). Or, if they’re older, you sit with them and demonstrate different ways this time could look.

      I believe continuously asking the Holy Spirit for guidance and discernment in this area is key. He will lead you to understand the appropriate level and type of interaction to have. Don’t give up. Teaching him to hear, learn from, and do God’s Word and see it as important is the goal.

      Input welcome!!! Help us out here, friends.

  2. Mel

    family devo recommendation: 30 Words by Jarrid Wilson

    • Thank you, Mel. I will add that to my reading list. I love hearing about books others have loved!

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