What an adventure!
Let’s think and reflect on our daily lives. We have habits that are completely natural, like eating and sleeping. Why do we do these things automatically? Because we have understood that without these basic activities we would perish. Thinking about physical exercise, it’s the same thing. Perhaps it’s a little less obvious in our youth, but the older we get, the more we realize the need to take care of our bodies.
When we talk about our family and spiritual growth, we are talking about the same idea: a need to cultivate daily habits that will position us in “good health”.
Let us assure you, it’s a great adventure!
Why is a family devotional time so important? Because there is no growth without effort. That doesn’t mean that the effort has to be excessive, or that it is difficult. Firstly, we need to understand that the only things that grow with no effort are weeds. All other things and all aspects of our lives need to be nourished so that they grow in good health.
What does a family devotional time look like? It consists of spending time together in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere, where everyone can express themselves, bring their doubts, share their thoughts and pray.
Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.”
When we reflect on this verse, we see that God is asking us, the parents, to instruct our children in the way (the path) that we want them to follow. As Christian parents, it is obvious that our wish is that they follow the path of a full life in Christ, isn’t it? The second part of this verse shows us the result of this path that we walk with them: even when they are grown up, they will not turn away from it. This is so true and encouraging.
For our family, the question was “How do we do it?”.
There is a beginning to everything. We started by creating a moment to meditate on the Bible with the children. When the children were small, we used children’s meditations, where every day we told a little Bible story and at the end of each story offered a prayer. We (the parents) would read and the children would repeat. I remember that they were so happy to listen that they couldn’t wait to hear the next day’s story.
Deuteronomy 6:5-7 says, “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.”
Wow, what a powerful verse! The day we read this verse, our motivation to continue Bible meditation with our children grew even more, but we still faced some challenges. Our children were growing up and entering middle school and high school. The schedules were no longer the same, so it had become complicated. How would we do this, since the next step was to put this verse into practice? It wasn’t very clear at first.
We needed to find a time in the day when everyone was present. For us, it’s in the morning, so we all get up at the same time and have breakfast together. At first, we took a Bible study booklet (with a small text and a verse) that we read and one of the parents prayed. Then we began to include the children in the process, in order to grow together and with God.
Today we still meditate on the Bible with them in the morning. We choose a plan on YouVersion, then we discuss it and pray together. We have also started reading the Bible in the evening. Each day of the week a different member of the family chooses a verse, which he/she will have already read and understood. Then he/she reads it and explains the passage to us, leaving time for others to ask questions. Afterwards he/she prays for the prayer topics and each of us gives thanks in turn.
James 4:8 says, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.”
God blesses those who seek Him and He will always be with you.
Even through the challenges and questions, we have always seen and felt the hand of God on the lives of our children. To see them grow in stature, faith and trust in the One who can do all things is a great reward for parents. Today they live out their faith and know that no matter what happens to them, God is always there to help them.
Parents, we encourage you to take time with your children and to persevere, even if it is difficult, in reading stories and praying with them. You will see that you are blessing many generations.
Fabio and Vanessa Nothaft
Parents of 4 wonderful children: Christelle, Christian, Christiny, and Christal