Family devotions weren’t part of my childhood. My mom and stepdad believed in God and all. For some reason, spending time with Jesus simply wasn’t important. I can count on one hand how many times our family went to church together. I’m not only talking as a child. I mean my entire life. Don’t judge us.
The Christian faith was important to my mom. I know this because she made sure I went to a private Catholic school. I needed to know who Jesus was and what He accomplished. That’s what my teachers, nuns, and the priest were for. It wasn’t her responsibility to make sure my faith was important to me.
By the time I woke up for school, she was already at work. It wasn’t unusual for it to be near my bedtime when she made it back home. There wasn’t time for family devotions. Jesus didn’t pay our bills. The hair salon she owned did.
If you think I’m being disrespectful about it, good. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to shame my parents. They did an amazing job of raising my sister and me. That being said, I can’t allow myself to become that kind of a parent. With everything Jesus has blessed me with, I couldn’t imagine not making Him a part of my daughter’s life.
Because Li’l V is only three, I wouldn’t exactly call what we do “family devotions.” That being said, my daughter is at mass every Saturday evening. On Sunday mornings, she goes with me to the Protestant church I’m still involved with.
I’m Catholic. Expository preaching simply plays a huge role in my relationship with Jesus. If you’re Catholic and that bothers you, cool. Leave a comment so I can pray for you by name.
As I said before, my daughter is three. If her momma and I sat down to engage her with a devotion based on Scripture, I don’t know if she’d comprehend what was going on. We pray every morning and every night.
Before she goes to bed, I read Psalm 139:13-17 to her. I’ve been doing it long enough that we don’t even use my Bible when we need to hurry. I know it by heart. My prayer is that she will also before teenage boys start sniffing around our house to see where her heart is in about 12 years.
“For it was you who formed my inward parts; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; that I know very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes beheld my unformed substance. In your book were written all the days that were formed for me, when none of them as yet existed. How weighty to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!” (NRSV).
No, family devotions are not a part of our schedule or routine… just yet. That being said, my daughter knows she was created by the great Creator and that He has a plan for her. She knows there’s a mission and it’s for His glory. Not the sake of her name or family. This is firmly planted in her heart at just three years old. At this point, part of her prayers is that ballet is a part of His plan and purpose for her.
Normally, when I write, I stick to my own experiences throughout life. I can’t exactly do that in this post. What I can do, though, is share with you my prayers about the time we will be spending in family devotions and why they need to be important.
Maybe my wife and I are putting this off for wrong reasons. Maybe my daughter isn’t too young and this needs to be a part of our life now. The more I think about this, there’s a chance I can write a post regarding the same subject in sixty days with an update on just how family devotions are affecting our life.
Regardless if this starts happening tomorrow or two years from now, it has to be important. I apologize. Not all Christian families include children. Some family devotions only pertain to husband and wife. That doesn’t mean something’s been done wrong. It simply isn’t my situation.
I don’t think there’s a wrong way to have family devotions. I’m not expecting Li’l V’s mind to stay centered on what she’s doing with her mom and me. She’s a kid. That’s not going to happen. I imagine there’s going to be days when she’s dancing in her mind or talking with imaginary friends when we sit down for this time.
Maybe that’s why her mom and I are putting this off. Possibly, somewhere deep down, like yourself and your spouse, we’re thinking if family devotions don’t go just perfect, that means we’ve failed. I need to think about that for a while. Maybe you do also.
What’s important about this time is that Jesus is the subject. As a Christian man, I need to do everything I can to make sure my daughter knows exactly how much love held that cross together. At her age, she’s only going to see this through how I love her and her momma. It’s important that I somehow show her this through family time together.
During this time, cell phones and electronic devices aren’t permitted. Work emails, messages, and other obligations aren’t important. The only thing that matters is the time I’m with the women in my life and discussing how important Jesus is to the three of us.
For me, personally, when this time starts happening, my daughter needs to see mistakes made by her mom and me. She needs to see firsthand that loving Jesus and making Him important doesn’t mean we are perfect. I’m a Bible nerd. I have a reputation amongst my friends as being the go-to guy when there’s a question about Scripture. I can’t wait until my daughter asks me a question during family devotions I can’t answer and get to teach her how to use a Bible commentary.
That’s what’s important to me. Making sure Victoria knows my love for Jesus and His relevance in my life doesn’t make me perfect. It only makes me needy. I need Him. Just as importantly, I need her to experience this firsthand so she knows it’s ok for her to be the same way.
I want to go over just a few more ideas before wrapping this up. Not because I’m an expert with them. Simply because I want to make sure I remember. I hope they help you in making family devotions important in your life.
Making time for family devotions
I don’t think the exact time we set aside is important. What will matter is choosing a time and letting nothing else get in the way. It needs to become a habit, regardless if the Cubs are hosting the Brewers at Wrigley. It has to be scheduled around both my wife’s and daughters dance classes.
The time we set needs to be when we can focus on what we’re doing. That could be shortly after getting home from work. Maybe after dinner. Possibly not long before bed when everyone’s winding down. What matters most is that we make it routine. It becomes a part of our schedule. You know, the important one.
Staying on topic
This time isn’t for discussing how busy I am at work or what my daughter learned that day at school. The subject of the devotion isn’t something we decided on after sitting down. It needs to be something I can prepare for. Not because everything has to be perfect. Because I’m a man and I’m to love my wife as Christ loves the Church.
I need to make sure the topic is ready for devotion time at least two days beforehand. That could be a dated page in a book we read and discuss as a family. Maybe it’s something my wife and I start planning out for the week every Sunday night. What’s important is there’s a subject and we stay on topic. This time needs to be special. Because of that, I need to be prepared.
Learning from my daughter
I have a degree in theology. I lead Bible studies and write about Scripture. I spend just as much time reading Bible commentaries as some people do God’s Word alone. All that being said, my daughter teaches me more about Jesus than any professor I’ve ever had or book I’ve read.
When I get all caught up discussing what she learned at Sunday School on our way home from church, she says something to get me back on track. She simply has a way of explaining things I could never do on my own. That’s what will be most important for me during this time. Remembering God created my little princess and He already has a plan for her. I’ve simply been given the responsibility and blessing of being her daddy.
If I’m too close-minded to learn from my family while we do this, I’m missing the entire point.
Featured Image by Brandon Morgan