The Power of Doing Daily Devotions with Your Children

Children need some formal instruction and devoted time to be in the Word and learning about what it means. ~Christin Slade

What is a devotional? We view this as a book that takes us through a daily reading and teaching about God's word. While this is true, real devotion is much more than sitting down to read a daily passage and a few notes to go with it. The very word devotion means profound dedication. To break this down further, profound dedication means the deep penetration of one's thoughts and actions to be wholly committed to something.

Your devotion isn't found in doing a devotion. It's found in your dedication to the Lord. The devotional is simply a tool to help you understand how to live out God's Word.

So what does this mean for your children? Where do devotions fit in here?

First, let's look at what it means to live a life of devotion.

Your children need to see you living a devoted life for Christ. They will see your example and mimic it--whether you're living for Christ or not.

However, children also need some formal instruction and devoted time to be in the Word and learning about what it means. Just as we need to be in the Word and learn what it means, so do our children.

Something I have learned about doing devotions with my children is that when they learn about something, they are more apt to apply it.

For example, when we talk about obedience, my children are more likely to obey and remember to obey, when we have talked about it, therefore, it is in the forefront of their mind. When we talk about why it's important to obey and who their authorities are, they begin to see reason for living out this attribute. They begin to understand the role God has given them.

I want to share 5 elements of a devotional life with you. I have found them to be necessary aspects to living out a life of devotion to God and they will help you as you teach your children the same. They are not exhaustive.

5 Elements of a Devotional Life

  1. Perspective - when it comes to devotion we need a perspective shift. Devotion is not something we merely try to squeeze into our lives and hope there will be room. When we live a devoted life, what we are devoted to will get the most attention. Our words are not enough of us to be considered devoted.  We can say we're devoted, but if our lives don't mirror that, our words render useless. God wants us: heart, soul, and mind.  
     
  2. Prayer - there are so many things that seek to derail us, this is a crucial part of a devoted life.  Satan seeks to debunk that in any way he can. He uses distractions, life circumstances, fatigue, excuse after excuse. Anything can stand in the way of simply sitting down to train our children. We must pray for a clear path and to resist temptation.
     
  3. Patience - As our children learn and grow, they will make mistakes. They will give in to temptation and "forget" what we have taught them. Training children requires heaps of patience. Anger and frustrations will not help us here. If anything, they hurt what we are trying to accomplish.  This is a good time for us to remember that a gentle answer is more productive than a harsh word.
     
  4. Persistence - There will be times we will want to give up because it gets hard. It is so easy to find excuses on why we didn't get around to it today.  Our excuses run endless. But isn't this also training our children? It teaches them we are inconsistent. Do not give up making this time to train in devotion. Be persistent. Do not give up when it gets hard. Push through.
     
  5. Practice - We need to practice what we are teaching and remind our children to do the same. When moments arise that allow for training, most often, it will be something you have taught them about. Now is the time to help them put what they learned into action. Practice living a devoted life. Good behavior and good character are not the only ways to practice devoted living. Sing praises! Pray together. Serve one another and others outside your family. Practice love.

It is not merely the acts that make us devoted. It's a heart of devotion to Christ that makes us devoted. When our hearts are turned toward Him, we will want to devote our time and efforts to Him. But, even those wants can be stifled by excuses and hardships. Don't allow yourself to become complacent. Be active and intentional about living for Christ and training your children in the same.

Some devotionals I recommend:

Our 24 Family Ways (Ages 7+)

Big Thoughts for Little People (Ages 2-5)

Growing Together in Gratitude - and others in this series (Ages 8+)

 

For His Glory,

Christin Slade

How to Turn Pain into Purpose

How can I see past my pain to know that God cares? How will I know my pain won't be wasted?

When someone (or something) hurts you and the pain runs deep, how can you process it and deal with it without making matters worse? How can one understand the purpose of pain in the midst of it? Don't let your emotions lead you into a disaster. Pray through them. Let God help you sort them out and ease them. Most importantly, wait on the Lord.

This might be the hardest thing to do in the middle of feeling rejected or worthless. Sometimes our emotions just want to take over which can only add to the problem.

But, when you give your pain to God, He transforms it which in turn transforms you.

Pain can run deep and feelings of betrayal, anger, resentment, and rejection can creep up. We may even feel justified by our stance. I don't believe it's a sin to feel. I truly believe God gave us emotions for an important reason, but it wasn't to lead us or define us.

They are a gauge into our own hearts. Emotions can become ugly because they make us realize where our hearts truly lie. Yet they can be an asset to teach us compassion.

Rejected Because of Christ

The Bible talks about being rejected because of Christ (Luke 10:16). Not because someone didn't like your idea or disagrees with how you discipline. That's not the same thing.

Being rejected because of Christ is being rejected because you love Truth and follow Him. Jesus' ways can be offensive.

Think about what a privilege it is to be in such a place. {But be careful not to believe you are there through self-righteousness or false beliefs}.

The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name. Acts 5:41

Um, what?!

Following Christ can be controversial and make others uncomfortable when you talk about "dying to self" and "selling everything to give to the poor". In fact, it can make me, uncomfortable!

But isn't that the point?

Living for Christ isn't a comfortable life. It was never meant to be. Even if you're not living for the Lord, you will still experience pain at some point in your life.

God Suffered Pain

God will use your pain; it will not be wasted. But you must wait on Him and pray through your thoughts which can deceive you. Your pain does not mean God doesn't love you or care; it means we live in a fallen world where people sin. All people.

God knows pain. He knows betrayal. He knows denial. His pain brought redemption for all who believe.

You may not know at the time how He will redeem your pain, but you can be sure you can trust Him.

There could be something greater in the works that you cannot see, and how you handle this type of conflict can have an impact on this change.

Sometimes we just cannot see what's beyond the pain, but when we wait on the Lord, He will ease that pain and use it.

In fact, sometimes we don't even fully understand the pain and it's purpose until we look back. This is a key reason it's so important to cling to Christ during these times and trust that He has it sorted, regardless of the circumstances.

So how can we turn our pain into purpose?

We give it to God and trust Him with it. We get on our knees and pour that hurt out right at His feet. Because He cares for you and every tear you cry.

Maybe that sounds oversimplified for how deep your pain goes, but I assure you, there is no better place to release your pain. There is no One better to comfort you. He may not give you all the answers you seek, but He can offer you peace, comfort, and joy again. He wants to.

For His Glory,
Christin

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Sometimes we just cannot see what's beyond the pain, but when we wait on the Lord, He will ease that pain and use it.