One day when our daughters were in grade school, John got home from work and I said, “Ok, let’s go! Everyone into our closet!” Apparently I’ve gotten them used to my crazy ideas because they actually went.
We huddled in the dark in our master bedroom walk-in closet and I lit a candle. From there we talked about the many people around the world who are persecuted for their faith and have to worship in secret…some without a Bible. I said, “What if we lived in one of those places and didn’t even have a Bible? How many verses do you think we know by heart?” From there we all contributed, trying to remember as much Scripture as we could.
Here’s a secret I learned (very slowly) over the years. There is no place in the Bible where it gives a prescription for “family devotions” where you spend fifteen minutes (always first thing in the morning when everyone is stressed and trying to get ready) reading one chapter of the Bible (in the King James or the NASB, because those are the words that God actually spoke don’tcha know) and praying for exactly eight minutes for missionaries.
It does say, “Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” (Dt. 11:18,19). That’s outside the box!
I’m sure our girls, now grown, could tell you many times when family devotions felt awkward or forced or boring. But the times that maybe impacted them the most were when we thought outside the box.
When we would go around in a circle at the dinner table, each person saying one word of a verse we were memorizing, and them collapsing in hysterics because their pastor father was always the first one to mess up. Or the times “devotions” was serving dinner to the homeless or taking a trip to help build houses in Mexico (living out “one of the least of these” verses).
We got it wrong so much of the time, but we tried to keep in mind a quote from Jim Rayburn “It’s a sin to bore a kid with the Gospel.” There’s a lot that is hard about faith and following Jesus, but too often we major on that, and forget the joy of the “with God” life that goes everywhere, invading every minute of the day.
What have you done to make family devotions more experiential or “outside the box”? Share your ideas!
By Laura Crosby
Wife to John, Mom of 2
1 Corinthians 13 Parenting Team Member, Pastor, and Blogger