Last night something good happened. It’s probably because of the season of life we are in, with two teenagers, and summertime makes our schedules even wackier. Last night we sat around the living room and had time together, just us four, as a family. It was nice. Okay, it was nice after Christian and I had a heated debate that was sparked from some Scripture we read together. Sometimes we just have different opinions. I got completely emotional and angry, and after a few minutes, it diffused. And what is family time if not REAL? I joked with a friend that it would have made a great video for “Here’s What a Real Life Family Devotion Looks Like”.
Dad plops down onto the couch and tells everyone to grab a Bible and have a seat. We all sit as Dad reads chapter one from James that is FULL of good practical stuff. Someone interjects with a question, but we keep reading so we don’t get completely sidetracked. Reading ends, then lively discussion begins. Dad makes some insightful comments, some things he wants to apply to his life and challenges son to do the same. Then it gets more interesting. Slow, dramatic music comes in. The music builds, as mom gets increasingly agitated and begins to argue with grown son. How stupid is she? Why engage and get emotional? She doesn’t know why, but she does. Cut back to the scene. Daughter falls asleep after she buries her face in couch to avoid conflict. Mom realizes she’s being stupid and emotion dissipates. Dad redirects conversation to be productive, then each family member that is still awake prays out loud. End of family devotion time.
Below is a great suggestion by John Piper on how to do family devotions. Just don’t be discouraged if sometimes it looks more like the scene I just described. It’s real life! By the way, maybe you are wondering, “What in the world is a family devotion?” Here’s a definition: A Christian family benefits from a routine time of focusing on the scripture and praying together. This time is commonly called a “devotional” or “family devotions”. I also liked the dictionary definition: 1. relating to, characterized by, or conducive to devotion, 2. a short religious or prayer service. For us, it has a different feel every time, depending on what we’re reading, who’s home, who’s awake, but I love our family time together with God. I like John Piper’s suggestion of incorporating music. We used to start with music, but we eventually dropped it. Maybe if we discipline ourselves to do only a song or two….
Click here for John Piper’s input: http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/ask-pastor-john/how-do-you-do-family-devotions