Family Devotions for the Long Haul

Have you ever had ambitious plans for starting a new and exciting project but then partway in, your enthusiasm dwindles and you’re tempted to give up? Maybe there were unforeseen obstacles or you simply ran out of steam. Maybe tedium set in or the goal no longer seems that important.

Unfortunately, family devotions can follow this same kind of pattern. At the beginning of the school year, we’re all geared up and excited to commit to regular family devotions but maybe days or even weeks later, we’re ready to throw in the towel. Sound at all familiar? 

Before giving up (and please don’t give up!), read this very short but encouraging article “Why We Fail at Family Devotions by Tim Challies. Here are two of the five reasons he states that I found especially applicable, 

We Make it Too Hard

I think the main reason we fail is that we make it too hard. Family devotions are the simplest thing in the world. We just need to get the family together, and then read the Bible and pray.

… Sing a song if you like. Engage in discussion if you like. Memorize a catechism if you like. Don’t feel like you need to begin with more than the basics. Don’t feel like you have failed if you do not get beyond the very basics. Read a few verses and pray. Then, the next day, read and pray. 

We Measure Too Short

Another reason we fail at family devotions is that we give up too quickly. We measure short instead of long. We do it for a few weeks or a few months and don’t see any significant results. …We need to think more about eighteen or twenty years of exposure to the Bible than eighteen days or eighteen weeks. We need to think about our own lives and how we need to hear things a hundred times, not one or two times, before we respond to that conviction. We need to remember and believe that God works through these simple means, but that he does so at his own pace. We need to believe that God honors the means he provides.

Here is his conclusion,

Look, family devotions are a sweet and simple habit, a sweet and simple discipline. It is called family devotions not only because it is a gathering of the family, but because it is meant to be by and for your family. Make sure you allow your family devotions to reflect the uniqueness of your family. Make them your own, and do them for the good of your family and the glory of God.