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I'm a wife to my "Mr. Right". A momma of five. A maker of slow food and simple living. A collector of memories, a keeper of books, and a champion for books that make memories. An addict who likes my half-and-half with a splash of coffee. A fractured pot transformed by the One Who makes broken things beautiful. I heart homeschooling, brake for libraries, and am glad you're here with me on the journey! Be sure to subscribe to my daily digest via email or RSS feed. Or, follow along with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google +, Youtube, or Pinterest.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Personal Devotions for Kids

Ever since Sweetie Pea was a little baby, we have sought to make time in God's Word as a family a daily priority.  At times we have been more faithful and consistent than others. For the most part, our nightly family devotions have consisted of readings from simple Bible Story books or children's Bibles.  The Hubs typically gathers all of us just before the kid's bedtime to read and share a few thoughts.

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In addition to that time together, for the last four years, I have also included a short Bible time in the morning at the start of the school day. This time is just between the kids and me and includes some fun Sunday-school type songs, the introduction of a classic hymn every now and then to pass on the songs of our faith heritage, a weekly Bible verse that we try to set to memory, and a Bible themed story...NOT a Bible story.  I have determined NOT to read an actual story straight out of the Bible because I don't want to steal the thunder from our family devotions with dad.  I want to keep THAT nighly time as unique as possible to create a level of anticipation and appreciation for it.


Over the years during our morning Bible time readings we have shared missionary stories, life application type stories, and church history stories.  We are currently working our way through The Children's Encyclopedia of Bible Books by Mark Water, a book of simple historical facts of each Bible book including info on authors, key passages, Israelite tradition, and main characters.

Although I really enjoy our time together every morning.  I realize that a "group" devotion does very little to promote the "personal" part in a relationship with Christ and a love for His Word.  I was challenged to read Scripture at a relatively early age, and because the habit was formed early, I find it easier as an adult to be dedicated to spending time each day in solitude with the Lord. The Psalmist David, certainly, found great worth in seeking time with God EARLY in the morning when he penned Psalm 63:1.

You, God, are my God,
    earnestly I seek you;
I thirst for you,
    my whole being longs for you,
in a dry and parched land
    where there is no water.

So a little over a year ago, the kids and I took our first tiny baby steps into developing a morning "quiet time" habit.  Now, some might say that REQUIRING my children to sit down and begin meditating on Scripture is legalistic and going against the principles of the "personal desire" that I am seeking to create within them. But, I would argue that a "love" or "desire" can not begin to grow until they each begin to get to know who God is by personally seeking Him in Scripture. Also, I find great value in the firm establishment of a few spiritual disciplines...like daily quiet time with God.


I think it is better to show a child HOW to think, not WHAT to think. I find great comfort in knowing that as my children's faiths are nurtured during their nightly time with dad and as that faith begins to grow as they earnestly begin to seek God on their own every morning, THE WORD WILL NOT RETURN VOID. He who seeks...shall find. I do not have to be their morning-time Holy Spirit and ensure that they are gleaning perfect application. I truly believe, that just as the Holy Spirit can use Scripture to convict and encourage me, He can do the same for my two older ones who have both professed a saving knowledge of God.

So, our morning time together has evolved to include some personal devotion time for ALL the children.  We still have our "together" time to sing, learn a verse, and read a short passage from our Encyclopedia.  But then, we each split up to have some quiet time by ourselves.

Blonde Warrior and Greased Lightning join me to read a Bible story together from a preschool Bible. (Typically our nightly devotions are a little over their heads, so I thought this might be a nice time to read some of the stories that Sweetie Pea and Super Boy read when they were preschoolers.)  Super Boy reads a story from his Hear Me Read Bible, an emergent reader style Bible.  Sweetie Pea either reads a chapter or two from her Bible or a selection from God and Me: Devotions for Girls or What the Bible is All About: Bible Handbook for Kids.  I let her choose.


The little boys and I usually finish much earlier than the two big kids.  So once we are finished reading together, I often set them at the table with a Bible Story coloring book, so that a certain level of "quiet" can be maintained for Sweetie Pea and Super Boy...emphasis on "certain level."

When I went looking for resources for the kids, I had a difficult time finding studies that were not geared to public school children.  For the most part, most of the life application stories included in kid's devotionals did not apply to my kids because they were not in a classroom situation with a group of their peers.  So far, I've been pleased with the books that the Hubs and I ended up choosing. In addition to those I have already mentioned, here are some more great resources for child-friendly devotions:

Jesus in the Spotlight (This is just one in a GREAT inductive study for 8-12 year olds by Kay Arthur.)
Gotta Have God: Cool Devotions for Boys (This is the boys version of the series that Sweetie Pea is currently working through.  Each book is geared for a specific age group starting with 2-5 year olds.)
The One Year Devotions for Preschoolers (This would need to be read aloud by an adult.)

(Just a thought:  If you have non-readers but do not have the time to read an EXTRA Bible story each day, you can always have he/she just look through the pictures of a preschool Bible while you or your older kids are busy with your own devotions.  This way, you are at least establishing the habit of a PERSONAL time with God.)


Obviously, this relatively new Bible-time endeavor takes up a larger chunk of our day than our old Bible time routine. But I am certain, that what we sow each morning, we will reap for eternity.

6 comments:

  1. Beautiful. We do a family devotion time each morning, but I never thought to encourage personal quiet time. Thanks for the idea.

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  2. I've been trying to incorporate personal devotion time with the children, too, but we are still spotty. After all, I am the one making the schedule and steering the days; it's my job, I figure, to make sure I've left them the time -- and prime time -- to read the Bible for themselves.

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  3. "I think it is better to show a child HOW to think, not WHAT to think."

    Love that! We're just starting to work on the personal part. My son (5) likes to take his Bible to bed and read before he goes to sleep.

    Thanks for linking up with Kids in the Word at The Pelsers.com.

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  4. This is a most amazing and wonderful post! I am completely encouraged now to do this with my own children. Thank you! And thank you for being BOLD about the importance of this, THIS IS the MOST important thing we could do!

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  5. I just came across your blog and love all the great ideas. Thank you! I have been doing a devotional with my boys each morning but struggle to find time for myself, this is a great habit to get the whole family doing personal study. Thank you!

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