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Topic: Spiritual Formation

No-frills family devotions

March 11, 2014

by Steve Watters

Do you have good intentions of having regular devotions with your family, but find yourself feeling under-qualified or too busy to pull it together? You might be over-complicating family devotions. When I first started trying to get into a devotions routine with my family, I looked to models that had multiple steps, ones that required a lot of front-end planning. I pulled off a few of these, but quickly found myself feeling unqualified to execute the model and stretched in carving out prep time. As a result, our family devotion time was sporadic, even though I knew it was important to do.

I was grateful for an older friend who came along and encouraged me to scrap the complicated model and simply pick up the Bible and read it to my family. “Just start reading through a book of the Bible, maybe start with the Gospel of John,” he said. “Now that my kids are grown, they tell me that our time together reading the Bible was the most meaningful part of their spiritual formation.”

When I asked him what kind of discussion they had about the text, he said they would talk about what the passage revealed about God and what it revealed it about us and our need for God–but he said there were many nights his family would simply read a chapter from the Bible, pray for the Holy Spirit to illuminate it, and call it a night. He pointed out that squeezing in a no-frills family devotion was better than skipping them just because of limited time.

Since taking this approach, our family has been able to fit in much more family devotion time than we thought possible, and we’ve been able to read much more of the Bible as a family than we would have imagined.

You can trust the Holy Spirit to produce fruit from regular reading of the Word. Even if you feel under- qualified and crunched for time, there’s no reason you can’t do no-frills family devotions as a way to serve your family.

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