The Discipline Of Devotions
“Culture eats strategy for breakfast”
Culture is like a river running down stream, it has a natural momentum. If you throw a stick into it, the stick will swim with the momentum of the river. Throw a stick into a lake and it will float but it will move very slowly. Try and make a stick swim upstream and you have a problem. That’s the power of the culture, and every family has a culture.
The greatest teacher of all time, Jesus Christ once said:
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.” Mathew 7: 24-25
Here Jesus just taught what many historians and theologians regard as the best sermon ever preached, the Sermon on the Mount. In it he gave the people both stunning revelation but also practical tools to apply to their lives. Here he ends his teaching with an admonition, the admonition is to not just listen to his teaching but to put his words into practice.
By putting his words into practice his followers would lay a strong spiritual foundation that the storms, troubles and trials of this life could not destroy. The advice is clear; do what Jesus says and you will be spiritually strong.
So how can we lay a strong spiritual foundation in the hearts of our children?
Well first we can lead our children to Jesus so that they have a personal relationship with him, which was the topic of last week’s blog. And today we discuss how to further build and strengthen that spiritual foundation through creating a culture of daily devotions for our children.
We see from Jesus words in Mathew chapter 7 that it is not enough for our children to just to hear the words of the Bible, though this is essential, our children need to be doers of the word
“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says." James 1: 22
So let’s look into how we can lay a strong foundation for our kids through daily devotions.
Let's get practical:
- Find an age-appropriate bible to read with your child (or if they are older for them to read for themselves). It’s important that the bible you choose is one that your child likes.
- Set a time each night for your child to do daily devotions (I do daily devotions with my children every night around 7PM).
- Read a different bible story each night
- Ask your child questions about the story
- Apply the theme practically to your child’s life
- Have your child ask God how they can do what they learned, then encourage them to do what God told them
If your child is older and prefers to do devotions by themselves, buy them a journal and walk them through the process above. It is important that they learn to:
- Read a bible story or devotion every day
- Write down what the story/devotion means to them
- Ask God how to practically apply what they learned in their life, and write it down
- Apply what they learned the next day
A similar devotional method that is easy to remember is SOAP journaling. A simple Google search will help you learn more about the SOAP journaling method, and how your children can apply it to their lives.
“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart." Hebrews 4:12
By developing the discipline of daily devotions your children will be laying a strong spiritual foundation in their hearts by both hearing Jesus words and putting them into practice. It is your role as a parent to create the culture of daily devotions in your home so that they become a habit for your children. Once devotions are a habit they become a flowing river in your children’s lives that bring a natural momentum and over time a strong spiritual foundation will be laid that Jesus can build upon.
By establishing this discipline, you are setting your children up to be strong, wise followers of Christ who will be conduits of His presence wherever they find themselves.
Why not apply the practical principles in this blog and create a spiritual culture that will continue to create momentum for your children for many years to come?
Being His Presence In Every Place