Because of the post regarding Blake receiving the Holy Ghost in Family Altar, this article regarding family devotions that I found on a Pentecostal Website seems to be a timely addition. It is an interview that was given by Rev. Arlo Moehlenpah to the IBC Perspective writers. Enjoy…
You have long promoted the importance of Family Devotions. Why?
There is an old adage that says if you give a man a fish you have fed him for a day but if you teach a man to fish you have fed him for a lifetime. Likewise, in church if you give a family a lesson or sermon you have fed them for a short time but if you teach them to read and study their Bible you have fed them for a lifetime. The Israelites were to teach the Word diligently to their children when they sat, walked, lay down and rose up. Families will not get enough of the Word in church alone.
In your opinion, why don’t more families spend time together in prayer and Bible reading?
They simply do not make it a high priority.
How often should a family have devotions together?
It depends on how the devotions are structured. If it is prayer and Bible reading it should be daily. “Give us this day our daily bread”. For younger children you may read to them from Bible storybooks.
Does (or should) this change much as the children grow older?
For smaller children the sessions would be shorter but still daily.
A. A translation of the Bible such as the New King James version: Many children and young people are not used to “thee”, “thou” and words ending in “est.” There are also some audio versions, where you can listen to the Bible being read.
B. Bible Reading Schedules: There are two Bible reading schedules which are for reading the entire Bible in one year. One contains daily readings consisting of scriptures from both the Old and New Testaments (recommended for those who may get bogged down in the Old Testament and thus give up). The other has daily reading in order of the books of the Bible starting with Genesis.
There are also reading schedules that cover the Bible in three years. I would recommend this for families that have never read the Bible through before:
First year – New Testament
Second year – Genesis through Esther
Third year – Job through Malachi
C. Study Questions for each chapter of the Bible: Only, after reading the complete passage for the day, should they try to answer the questions. If they are unable to answer a question, the verse(s) where the answer is found is in the parenthesis after the question. An alternate to these study questions would be to ask questions like “What did you learn from the passage” or “How will you apply it to your life?
D. Quizzes for each book of the Bible and on character qualities, people, places and numerals of the Bible. It is important for the parents to find out how much their children are learning.
E. Bible Games: Occasionally add some fun to your devotion by playing a game.
What approach did you and your wife use for devotion time within your own family?
Most of the materials above were not available when our children were home. Before they went to elementary school we read to them Bible storybooks. Even the neighbor kids would come early to hear the stories. We would then pray for them before they left for school. As they got older we formed a circle and read directly from the Bible with each one reading a verse. For the last two years my wife and I have been reading the Bible aloud to each other with each one reading two verses at a time.
Do you have any closing thoughts?
Promoting family Bible reading is probably the most important thing that I have done in my life. Think of the difference it would make in our churches, our nation and our world if every family read the Bible and prayed together.