family devotionals

family time is precious to us.

we have worked hard to preserve as much time with our little family as possible, trying to eliminate too many nights out.

meal times together are by far the most important time for us.  we’re still not at a stage where we just sit around the table and talk.  it usually consists more of things like this: “take your foot off the table”, “tummy to the table”, “buns or knees”, “don’t lean across the table”, “stop switching seats”, and “don’t touch your sister!”.

so how do we make that time valuable?  we play highs and lows, but we also have a time of devotion.  we read little visit with god.  the stories are totally understandable, even by silas, at 3 1/2, and still relevant for gracie, who is almost 8.  each section has a verse, a story, questions, and a prayer.

the kids love this book!  they ask for it before sean has even had a chance to finish his dinner.   the stories almost always encourage questions beyond the prompts, and are good segways into deeper conversation.

another time we take advantage of is our homeschool time.  we homeschool 3 days a week and we always start our days with singing “this is the day” (as suggested by my sister-in-law), and read from the child’s story bible.  it is a really great version of the bible.  very accurate, yet difficult to understand passages are explained in language that even the littlest ones can comprehend.  we’re reading about the passover right now and they are really understanding it!  a bonus: i’m even understanding the passages better!

so do you have devotional time with your kids? what do you do?

Comments

  1. 1

    What great books to use! We have 9 year old twins and a 3 year old boy…I’m glad to hear that you say the same things at dinner as we do! :)

  2. 2

    This is something we struggle with at times because our kids are 3 and 1. We are trying to find something that works…..but nothing so far as worked out so well :(

  3. 3

    Mine are all in their 20s, with 2 out of the house now, so it is rare we can all be together. It was so nice to sit at the dinner table when they were young, because that is one of the primary chances you have as a family to ‘get together’ during the day. I had one big rule: no mean talk. That meant, no teasing or pointing out what anyone did wrong that day. It was generally pretty fun and lively. (I have 3 boys and a girl, btw. Or should I say, 3 young men and a young lady.)
    You’re smart to teach your littles good table manners. It will also help when you go out to dinner as a family. My kids weren’t perfect angels (ha, ha) but they did know how to behave. I think most kids do, if given the chance. Just keep on enjoying your family meals together and it will pay off in the years to come. There is nothing like having dinner with four twenty-somethings, LOL!

  4. 4

    my mom does devotionals with us…and we have done the catherine vos bible. i love it, and i’m almost 16! we are now doing daily light…its a passage that is all different scriptures. it’s really great, because all the scripture goes together with a theme.

  5. 5

    so, so sweet! we do our devotional time around the breakfast table. (the kids and i–kevin has already left for work by this point.) we read out of a children’s Bible and then also either a saint story, or a chapter out of a missionary biography (i alternate.) the kids LOVE it and so do i!

    we also are big into gathering around the table at mealtimes. i’ve just always done it that way (the simplest way with so many kids i think) and i love that they’ll have memories of family meals together, all sitting down, no matter what we’ve done that day. miss you guys!

  6. 6

    I love it, and couldn’t agree more. We are currently using (because my kids are a bit older) a devotional called Choose Your Own Ending Devotions. My kids are 9 and 10 and they love the idea that they can come up with an ending and then see what the real ending was :D

  7. 7

    My kids are 4 and under but at night we read a portion from the Jesus Storybook Bible. I absolutely love this version. Wonderful pictures and every story points to Jesus. It has been good for me to read as well and keeps me mindful of His story.

    http://www.jesusstorybookbible.com/index.php?option=com_page&key=book

  8. 8

    This just makes me smile! Mine are 11 mo and 23 mo, so we haven’t started family devotions yet- but they were some of my best memories from growing up! We called it “Special Night” and it was a staple in our house every Sunday or Monday night. After dinner (and normal chatting about the day), we scooted into the living room and piled onto the couch. We read through a devotion book together (age appropriate, so it changed drastically through the years) and answered questions at the end. When we were little, we each got a turn to “present” our Sunday School papers from the day before and we got to share what we had learned. Then we piled back onto the couch, shared prayer requests, and each took turns praying; one of us would have the Sunday bulletin and we prayed for all of the names listed specifically in there. Then, we moved across the room to the piano (I played once I could) and we sang all of the hymns from church that Sunday. Then, we gathered back in the kitchen for dessert- the only night of the week we HAD dessert. It’s probably the #1 things I’m grateful my parents did with us!

  9. 9

    i’ll have to check those books out! i also love the idea of starting the school day singing “this is the day”- probably a better reminder for me than for them:O) we have a 4 year old and an almost 3 year old with one on the way- We LOVE the Jesus Storybook Bible and the kids listen to it intently, comprehend the stories and adore the illustrations. Then Daddy reads the Chronicles of Narnia with big brother while i put sissy to bed. I’m looking forward to adding more bible time/outloud reading time with our school schedule this coming year!

  10. 10

    Sometimes I read a story to my one year old son while he plays in his room. I read from The Jesus Storybook Bible. Holy Smokes. It’s is awesome! It’s select stories from the Bible that help us see that everything points to Jesus and God’s nevergivingup, neverending, always and forever love for us.

    I usually sob my way through it. So good. So soooo good.

  11. 11

    yep, every Monday night with have a Family Home Evening! It usually consists of a story about Christ/ the gospel or even something like safety/kindess… plus a song, activity/game, prayer and a special treat.

  12. 12

    We have family worship time every night. We open in prayer, sing a hymn or psalm, read a few sections from the Bible then maybe discuss it. Each month we’ve taken time to memorize different things. This month we are working on the Beatitudes. Then everybody takes turning praying which is always sweet to hear. To finish, my husband prays a blessing over all of us.

  13. 13

    I have been looking for a little devotional . . . thanks for the idea. :)
    ~cheryl

  14. 14

    Another great Bible version if you have boys is The Action Bible. It is the modern comic book version of the one my husband had and LOVED when he was a boy. My son is six and loves to read it. We have given two away as gifts to his friends, and they thought it was the best gift ever. I like it because it includes some of the stories other children’s bibles leave out. Happy reading and enjoying Jesus!

  15. 15

    I’ve been thinking about trying this with my kids. I’ll have to see if I can find that book on my next shopping time. Now that Andy is almost 6 (mentally 3 or 4), I think I can get him to sit still long enough after eating to do this in the mornings. Can’t wait to try it.

  16. 16
    CARRIE O says:

    Yes. we do it in the evening in our bed! picture the bed in Willy Wonka. every one in their pj’s, kids at the foot board us at the headboard. all under the down comforter.
    http://www.pajamasandcoffee.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/wonka003.jpg

    we keep it simple, reading through a chapter one paragraph or so each night. discuss what it says and means for us. then we share and pray together. then everyone off to bed.

    By the way this is with our two 13 year olds.. we love it. many times they still ask if they can fall asleep in our bed while we finish things down stairs.

    I love it. simple and sweet.

  17. 17

    We tried doing the VeggieTales 365 days devotional and failed, but we do pray with them and read the Bible every night as part of our night routine. We also listen to Christian music in the house and talk about God constantly. I am going to check out this Bible because we have read ours several times and are looking for another one to read.

  18. 18

    I really want to look at the Visits With God book. Meal times at all are hardly existant with us right now, but have been SO important to me b/c I did not have that as a child, and I am an ONLY CHILD! We have always eaten together until this past month. I like the breakfast idea, although for my first grader school STARTS at 7:45, which I still have not gotten over. His school provides breakfast but he could have milk with us while we do it. I also like the evening idea. We all pray together before bed and sometimes are going to be at different times. You see, baseball is upon us. Three practices a week and sometimes two games a week. My daughter takes dance once a week and soccer twice a week and the ball player also takes piano. Two things each, with one of those each being year round and cultural and the other being a seasonal sport to which we only allow once a year. Its been the craziest time of my life. We have our devotional times AND meals in the car as of lately. I have the book of One Year Devotionals for Pre-schoolers. Even though one is in first it is still applicable. I think I also mentioned our surprise baby who turnred a year old in February! I am 37, and feel 47! I am always looking for ideas. God is first in all of this. BTW- on a side note I just ordered the coolest car cooler for our take along dinners (fajitas, burritos, sandwhiches, crescent dogs, etc.) from Thirty ONe. Have you heard of it? A business geared toward young mothers and based on The Proverbs 31 Woman. VERY COOL. Check it out if you have not already. There are several people here in Lubbock who sell it. Thanks again for sharing more on how your family does things. I think that little devotional book will be on my dining table once summer is here- CANNOT WAIT!

  19. 19

    Uh… sorry for the book I just wrote :)

  20. 20

    I love love love this idea!!! Will you please write to us more about home school? Do you do this with all of your kids? What kind of resources do you use, how long do you do it each day, etc? I cannot wait to hear more!!!! Love you blog!

  21. 21

    I homeschool too and read from a children’s Bible in the morning along with working through the girls Awana books.
    It is so good to hear that you have to tell your kiddos stuff like “do not lean” and “sit down” etc. at the dinner table. It is good to know I am not the only one, it that awful of me??? =)

  22. 22

    Thank you for sharing these books. I look forward to using your ideas once our son is older.

  23. 23

    I don’t have kids of my own, but as a teacher in a Christian school I often use the Jesus Storybook Bible that others have mentioned. It is wonderful! It doesn’t have every story from Scripture, but the language and illustrations are excellent. Best of all, every story points toward Christ and reminds us of God’s love and faithfulness. The Big Picture Bible is another great one.

  24. 24

    We have scripture and prayer most evenings right before bed. We gather in the family room, open our scriptures, read 5 -10 verses about what ever story we are on, then kneel as a family to end our day in prayer together.

    We also do Family Night on Monday night. It includes a prayer, a song, a mini scriptural lesson, a game, sometimes there is a talent portion and then dessert! We take turns teaching the lesson, even our 8 year old takes his turn. We keep a journal {minutes} of each of our family nights so we have them to look back on when the kids are older and we miss the funny things they say or the funny talent show they put on! Each week we read the minutes and also discuss if there is any family business that needs addressing! It works for us!!

    Love the idea of a devotion at the dinner table. Maybe that is when we should do our daily family prayer + scripture study…that way it happens before ‘crash’ time when we are already late going to bed.

  25. 25

    Another vote for the Jesus Storybook Bible. Seriously one of the most amazing books – I swear it revolutionized my understanding of some parts of the Bible! And the pictures… oh, the pictures! They’re breathtaking! I highly recommend it.

    We’ve been through that book at least twice and needed something new, so we’ve used The Message for Kids as well as Jesus Calling for kids. The the Jesus Storybook Bible is by far my favorite!

  26. 26

    We do The One Year Devotions for Preschoolers by Crystal Bowman with our daughter Claire (3.5 years old) and it’s just enough for her. There’s a short lesson, a verse and a prayer. Its so rewarding when we can catch glimpses of the lessons she’s learning actually sinking in!

  27. 27

    Ahhhh, we have both of these books in our collection. The Little Golden Book one was a fun dinner time discussion for a while. The Children’s Story Bible … a great, great curl up in your lap sort of book. It really does read like a story and plants the seed of fascination and wonder in children’s hearts for the OT at such an early age. Love these!
    We also enjoy the Jesus Story Bible, the Read Aloud Bible Stories by Ella Lindvall and anything Susan Hunt puts together … varies with the age of the child but Big Truths for Little Kids and Discovering Jesus in Genesis series are my favorites.

    What a wonderful gift that we have so many options available to us!
    Thankful to hear of another family joining together to grow in Christ.

  28. 28

    The Jesus Storybook Bible is a beautiful version of the Bible that teaches the main Bible stories with the emphasis that every story- Old testament and New testament- points to Jesus’ coming. It is so beautifully illustrated and written! My 4, 8, and 10 yr olds love it. We love music, too. Especially the “Seeds” cds (seedsfamilyworship.net).

  29. 29

    The Jesus Storybook Bible is our favorite devotional to do with our children (ages 3 1/2, and 21 month old twins). This book emphasizes how the entire Bible points to Jesus. My husband is a pastor and our church actually gives this book to every child that is dedicated. We have also been reading Francis Chan’s books he wrote for children (Halfway Herbert, The Red Tractor, and Ronnie’s Gift). These are great books to help parents illustrate important lessons for our kiddos. Another great book I have been reading is The Family Dinner. It has great recipes and ideas to help make meal times more meaningful. We just had a candlelight dinner with opera music on and our little babies loved it. We taught our 3 year old to put his napkin on his lap and he drank his milk from a crystal goblet. He got into character and the twins, well, they still put their food in their hair:-)

  30. 30

    highs and lows is something WE do as a family…and my little bro and i are 12 and almost 16! :)

  31. 31

    my parents still have that little visits with god at their house. seeing your copy reminded me… i need to get her to send it to me.

    we do a book called sticky situations. it gives a short story and then three choices on which is the best way to solve the problem. the answer is supported by a bible verse. my kids love it.

  32. 32

    If you have younger children…The Big Picture Story Bible (http://www.amazon.com/Big-Picture-Story-Bible/dp/1581342772/ref=cm_lmf_img_28) is AMAZING! We have been through this Bible with our kids many, many times. We also have been recently using Sarah Young’s Jesus Calling: 365 Devotions for Kids. I loved my version of the devotional and the kids love it too. She has reworked all of the adult versions in kid language. For Easter, we have been doing a devotional that is centered around the Passion of Christ. Every night at dinner, we read one and then we have to explain what it is about because it is a very adult version. But, when we got busy a couple of nights and forgot, I found the devotional with a post-it on top from my 7 year old, which read, “Please read tonight!”

    I think, as parents, it’s important to remember that we can never give up. Even though it may seem as if we spend more time disciplining and redirecting and telling our kids to pay attention, we have to remain intentional. Sometimes, I feel exasperated at the end of devotional time, but over time, I hear my boys share something we have talked about at the table…and that is priceless. One tip…at the dinner table, we have found if we turn the lights off and eat and do devotions by candlelight, we have much better results! Go figure…

    P.S. I’m looking forward to checking into some of the suggested material above!

  33. 33

    we LOVE the The Child’s Story Bible, and we also use it as part of our Bible curriculum for our homeschool. (The Children’s Illustrated Bible published by DK is a great complement…as they have drawings and pictures that go right along with the chapters in Vos’ book! I pull it out after reading a chapter, just to give the children some extra visuals. We just finished crossing the Red Sea this past week…so it was great to have a picture to show them of part of the actual coast, as well as a map of the area.)

    i also grew up reading The Bible in Pictures for Little Eyes by kenneth taylor. i don’t love the illustrations in the new edition, so we have my childhood copy that is well-loved. it’s great for younger children especially, though i still love reading from it.

    (and another vote for the Jesus Storybook Bible. i can’t get through a single story without getting teary at how beautifully all of scripture points to Christ.)

  34. 34

    My Mom and Dad did the Little Visits with God with us when we were kids. We did devotions every morning before school the whole time I was growing up. I love that book! We also did numerous others. I remember one called “Talk to the Animals”. Don’t know if you can still find it or not?

  35. 35

    I LOVE Little Visits with God. I grew up on that book and a friend just gave me my own copy to read to my kids some day!

  36. 36
    Tiffany says:

    I’m a mom to 5 dream kids: ages 14, 13, 10, 6 & 1 1/2-
    We homeschool. For our devotions we just read straight from the Bible. We’ve done it this way since our first was born. They understand a lot more than we realize. I try to have a coloring page for them to color as I read. We use a NIV version, so the wording is a bit easier. I read from the OT in the morning, my husbands reads to the kids as they go to bed from NT. It’s been wonderful, and as mentioned it opens doors to all kinds of questions, and discussions.

  37. 37

    Thanks for the great book references. Cant wait to get to the bookstore for these ones.

    I made my daughter a couple of reverent books that we try to read every night. Meal time is an important time in our family as well (as it was in both my husband and my childhood). My daughter just turned 3, so I am really looking forward for her to understand and participate more in FHE as well.

    Thanks again for the titles!!

    Kara

  38. 38

    My heart always whispers happy when I read about so many family’s inspiring their young ones with The Great Story of Love.

    At the start of our homeschool day each morning, we explore a variety of ways to meet with the Trinity. One example that I have found so very life-giving is the following . . .

    http://the-lifeartist.com/2011/03/10/a-little-bit-of-jesus-2/

    Love,
    Erika

  39. 39
    Wendy G says:

    LOVE YOUR BLOG…and LOVE this topic!
    We have two girls (4 and 2) and one on the way, and are trying daily to incorporate God’s truth into their hearts. One of our fave books is “My ABC Bible Verses”. It starts with a verse and uses practical, kid scenarios to play it out. Bill and Missy are the brother/sister in every story, so it’s easy for me to reference, “Remember when Bill and Missy were having trouble sharing? What did they do about that?” :) Good stuff. There are questions and a prayer at the end of every story, too.
    http://www.amazon.com/My-ABC-Bible-Verses-Hiding/dp/1581340052

  40. 40

    No way! I read the same devotional when I was little! I still have my tattered copy of it. It’s at least 25 years old. I’m going to have to chime in on the Jesus Storybook Bible. I love that book and I don’t even have kids yet! It does a great job of showing Christ throughout the whole Bible.

  41. 41

    That is such a sweet way to connect with your family & keep that connection strong & long-lasting.
    CAS

  42. 42
    Holly Anna says:

    We also use the ABC Bible Verses book with our 3 boys (8, 5, and 3) and they love it. Since each verse corresponds with a letter in the alphabet it is great for quizzing in the car. I ask them “What is our A verse? What is our B verse?” and so forth. My 8 year old leads the way, but his brothers usually chime in once he starts. My husband also just ordered “Faith Conversations for Families” by Jim Burns. My husband is a pastor, and has heard great things about it so we are excited to try it out with our kids. Love this post Lindsey! Such a great way to get conversations with our kids started early in their lives.

  43. 43

    i love this! when i have kids, yes! we will have devo time together :) <3 EverRubyGirl.blogspot.com

  44. 44
    Lindsey Clark says:

    Our son is 21 months, and he and daddy read each night from it before bed. He already says, “Shadrack, Misha, and Bendago” I love it! When I was little my dad read to my sister and I the children’s version of “Pilgrims Progress”, and it is still one of my favorite childhood memories!

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