One of the greatest concerns parents have is for their children to follow in the ways of the Lord from a young age into their adult life. The Bible teaches us how to accomplish this. 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.” This teaches us that the instruction given to our kids from a young age needs to be the Word of God. In the same way, Romans 10:17 teaches us, “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” The best way to strengthen the faith of a child and ensure that it will stay with them for a long time is for them to have contact with the Word from an early age.
Devotional life is coming into contact with the Bible on a daily basis. With kids, this contact needs to become part of their daily routine. This means it needs to happen at the same time every day, following the same outline. For them, routines generate stability and disciplines that last for their whole life. There are a lot of ways to do your devotional, but I have a few suggestions of how to do it with little ones:
- Reading the Word: Telling Bible stories is great, but it is very important for kids to draw near to the Word from an early age. There are so many resources available today to help us make it easier. You can start with a Bible for babies, and as the years go by, upgrade to more advanced children’s Bibles. Eventually, you can use the ones with modern, easy-to-understand language. It’s important to understand that you can read the Word to your children even if they’re still babies that need to be held. It’s a good idea to choose a daily or weekly verse to memorize. This will help the child to make the Word their own.
- Reflecting on the Word: Once the text of the day has been read, it’s important to reflect on what was read. In the first years of formation, it is important that the dad or mom accompany them in this time. You can ask key questions about the text and guide the child to reflect on it, relating to their own life. Once the reflection has been made, it is important for the child to draw about it in their devotional book, which will be their daily documentation of what they have read. In the older kids’ case, they can write down what they understood, including the promises God has given and/or what needs to be corrected.
- Prayer: The Word needs to be accompanied by prayer. It’s important to take a few minutes to pray about what was read. When you start implementing this, it’s important for the parents to be present in this time of prayer, teaching the kids how to pray. However, it’s also important for the child to have a moment to say their own prayer out loud. As children grow up, and the discipline they’ve acquired is evidenced in their ability to do their devotional, they can be given the space to do it on their own.
There are a few things to keep in mind for the unfolding of the devotional:
- Have a time of praise and worship during the devotional. Nothing brings the presence of God to a home like praise and worship. This can be included in the devotional time, but also part of the daily activities. Music, dancing, and worship need to be a constant in your home.
- Make the devotional fun. The devotional needs to be a space to spend time together as a family, it needs to be fun and attractive to the child. It cannot become another thing on the to-do list, but rather be the excuse to be together and seek the Lord.
- The Word and prayer need to be a part of your life. The Word needs to be present in everything you do. From the moments of correction, to the conversations you have at home, the Word of God always needs to be on your lips. This is how the kids will see that it is alive and effective.
- The father of the family is an example. The daily discipline in the devotional is very important for kids, but the most important thing is your example. If they see their parents doing their devotional, and not only asking the kids to do it, they will be even more motivated to do it. Your example is the best way to teach them.
The devotional life has the power to transform a home into a true altar of worship when every member of the family puts their time with God as the first priority.