Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Family Devotions

Abe had the privilege of teaching on the man and his relationship to his family yesterday while at a pastor's conference in Nairobi, Kenya.  It is a subject dear to his heart, as he knows that it is an area he really failed in for many years while working away from home. He felt that it was more important to provide for his family physically (bringing home a paycheck) than providing for them spiritually by being the leader of his home. He was touched this morning when a pastor approached him and said he led his family in worship for the very first time last night when he got home! And this man has been a pastor for many years. There is no greater blessing to a family than to have the husband and father lead his family in daily worship.

Abe and I both were blessed to grow up in Christian homes where the Bible was read after every meal. What a heritage! I can remember my grandparents, as well as my aunts and uncles reading God's Word and praying while growing up.  So when we got married, we naturally continued this pattern.

Over the years, however, things changed. We certainly didn't give up family worship altogether, but we weren't all that consistent anymore. Abe worked away from home most of week, there always seemed to be a fussy little one that was constantly interrupting, and it didn't seem like we were accomplishing very much. Living away from our immediate family, we also no longer saw family worship modeled in other Christian families. Deep down inside, it nagged at both of us. We knew better! 

A move to North Carolina in 2009 brought us to a church setting where family worship was once again modeled and encouraged. Fathers were instructed to lead their families and were held accountable. God knew this is what we needed to get our family, at the time with 8 children, back on track.  God also used this devotional from Above Rubies to help us see the importance of calling on the Lord:  http://aboverubies.org/womens-devotionals/982-call-on-the-lord-no-258. We certainly didn't want to be like the heathen!

My "all or nothing" husband announced that we would not only begin family worship every evening, but also every morning as well. My instinct was to argue this approach, but I kept silent (wisely!) and allowed him to lead. So for the past 2 1/2 years we have consistently done morning and evening worship, roughly at 8 AM and 8 PM daily.

Our start was rocky. Abe insisted that Eva sit on his lap, and she fought him every step of the way. She screamed so loud that Abe had to bellow over top of her to be heard! But he persisted, and several days later she quietly sat through devotional time, next to daddy.

In the evenings we consecutively read through the Bible. The children take turns reading. We include all the children that can talk, having the little ones repeat Abe. Our non-readers love this, because they are included in the "reading" as well. We then discuss the passage, and Abe asks a few questions and answers any we may have. We then all take turns praying, from oldest to youngest. It ends up being quite the prayer meeting!

In the mornings we do what we call "Word Studies." We use the Bible and a Strong's Concordance. We pick a word (we have done words like pray/prayer, fear, faith, and joy) and look up all the references in the Bible that contain that word, starting in Genesis and ending in Revelation. We pick one or two references to read and apply, and then Abe leads us in prayer committing our day to the Lord. Our children really enjoy this simple way of teaching and we have learned a lot as a family this way.

We have seen much fruit in our own family, and my hope and prayer is that this will encourage others to begin family worship as well. It's not always easy, and our busy schedules will try to squeeze out this important time together- but persevere, and see God work in your family!

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