Henry and Jan, parents of four young children, told me they had tried repeatedly to begin a consistent family worship plan. They would make a commitment to each other and to the Lord to get up an hour earlier, six days a week, and prepare a worship service and Bible study for the entire family to participate in. Dejectedly, Jim reported to me, “We always seem to last for about four or five weeks, and then something comes up to disrupt our schedule for a few days and we drop the routine altogether.”
Do your family devotions get off to a great start and trickle off to nothing after a few weeks? Does this sound familiar? God intends for Christian parents to daily entrust to their children, the truths of His Word. We find detailed instructions for this process in Proverbs 22:17-19:
Pay attention and listen to the sayings of the wise; apply your heart to what I teach, for it is pleasing when you keep them in your heart and have all of them ready on your lips. So that your trust may be in the Lord, I teach you today, even you.
God has a reason for commanding fathers (and mothers, as helpers and facilitators) to lead their families to pursue biblical truths and apply them to their lives—so that their trust may be in the Lord. Every teaching effort should be motivated by Christ’s love.
We find principles in God’s Word that serve as a guide for men who desire to develop a teaching ministry in their wives’ and children’s lives. The writer of 1 Corinthians 16:13,14 exhorts men, “Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong. Do everything in love.” Women who find themselves in the position of family devotions leader ought to be encouraged by this exhortation found in Proverbs 31:
She opens her mouth in wisdom and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue…charm is deceitful and beauty is vain but a woman who fears the Lord shall be praised.
Teaching children to fear God is a noble calling on every mother’s life. Don’t set unrealistic goals or you will “run out of steam.”
It is pointless for someone to demand respect based upon his or her God-given position of authority. People do not respect others out of obligation or duty. Christian parents must earn the right to be heard and respected by their families. They cannot demand respect.
Developing a teaching ministry with our families is a progressive process. We read this reminder in Ecclesiastes 3:1, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.” Parents must not expect to implement a workable family devotional plan overnight. A regular, meaningful family worship routine grows gradually, over time.
Dr. Don Dunlap, a pioneer in the placement of Pastoral Counselors in the offices of Christian physicians, has conducted over twenty thousand appointments during his ministerial career. His counseling practice includes adults, children and families in crisis. Dr. Dunlap is committed to facilitating a network of telephone counselors. His goal is to provide help for the many people unable to meet face to face with a competent Bible-based counselor. You may make an appointment for personal telephone counseling by clicking on Family Counseling Ministries.