Do you ever find yourself wondering how best to fit family devotions into a full schedule of school, sports, music, and church commitments? Bruce Ware offers a practical suggestion. He says it’s helpful to think through ways that we can recall the past words of God, the past works of God, and the everlasting character of God together as a family throughout everyday life.
In this excerpt from Dr. Ware’s keynote address at the Truth78 conference, he focuses on one of the ways he emphasized recalling the Words of God with his daughters when they were young.
A second way that we should recall the Words of God...is through special times of family devotions…I think there just is no substitute for setting apart time to read Scripture together, talk about the meaning of God's Word, and pray together as a family. There is such a richness that comes when children with their parents see their parents—who love that Word, who want to pass it on to the next generation—take time to explain to them what is there as they read through a short passage of Scripture. [This] shows the importance of praying together as they meet for family devotions.
So I think whether you do it in a mealtime or perhaps at bedtime...I found with my two girls that bedtime was a great time to teach them theology. It just worked perfectly because they were happy-go-lucky girls, who didn't want to go to bed. They weren't being naughty. They were just having fun. So I thought, well, if they don't want to go to sleep, why not co-op the time? So I’d spend maybe 10 minutes with each one and just walk them through different areas of theology in those evening sessions with them. They were brief and short and to the point, but, oh my, how wonderful that was to spend personal time with my girls in going through glorious teachings of the greatness of God, and of Christ, and of the atonement, and the nature of sin, and what God has done for us on the cross; the whole gamut of theology was just a joy.
So these times where we memorize Scripture together, perhaps learn a catechism, have family devotions and pray together—perhaps even some special times like this of learning some theological truths—are times that are richly rewarded in our children's lives. Honestly, I think two words come to my mind when I think of what makes this work—simple and consistent.
If it's complicated, then you're probably not going to keep doing it over the long term. So simple and consistent is by far and away the preferable way to go with this. And I think your children will benefit greatly as they learn the words of God more fully, as you recall the past works of God.
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