by John Ellis
Sadly, I must admit that for years it was my wife who was the faithful engine driving our family devotions. Many evenings, I would hold my breath, hoping that she would forget to “remind” me that the kids’ bedtimes were nearing and I should begin family devotions soon. It’s not that I cognitively doubted the importance and efficacy of family devotions; I was well aware that God had called me to spiritually lead my family, and that family devotions were intimately wrapped up into that calling. It’s that, frankly, I didn’t want to have family devotions.
All stemming from a rebellious heart that was unwilling to obey God, it was part laziness, part selfishness, and part pride that drove my faithless engine of disobedience in the matter of family devotions. Laziness, because, well, it does take a level of energy and effort to lead family devotions. Selfishness, because, well, I didn’t want to exert the requisite energy. Preferring, instead, to exert my energy in pursuits that were solely about me, even if those pursuits looked good on paper, so to speak. Many evenings, I would justify the shirking of my duty by telling myself that my study in soteriology, or whatever, was more important in the moment than reading a Bible story and praying with my young children. Pride, because, well, I’m a sinner and my family knows better than anyone how much of a sinner. On those days that I had been impatient with the kids, leading in family devotions served to highlight my failing. I didn’t (still don’t) like having my sin highlighted.
By God’s grace, and through the patient and Godly nudging of my wife, our family has benefited from family devotions over the last few years. Often, I feel inadequate to the task, but God’s grace is sufficient. Over the last few years, family devotions have led to profitable discussions about Jesus with our kids, and my wife and I are beginning to see the fruit from our labors as our kids grow older.
All that to say, family devotions are not always easy to make a priority. However, God has called parents to shepherd their children and teach them about Jesus. There are many resources designed to aid family devotions. Below is a link to my latest PJ Media article in which I list the five books that my wife and I have found most beneficial as we seek to obey God by teaching our children about Jesus. By God’s grace, the list will be a benefit and blessing to you and your family, too.
Soli Deo Gloria
(to read the list, click the link provided below)