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Family Devotions: A Hard Lesson Learned

Posted on September 9th, 2015

Every stage of our life offers us new opportunities to mature- especially in our leadership. One of the most difficult areas to do this, of course, is with our own families.

Last month, two of our four daughters set out for an extended time away – one to Spain with her husband for one year, and a second to Australia to work/travel for 1-2 years with her friends.

Over the years I have wrestled with the question: How do I respect their independence/separateness (especially in their journey with Christ), while at the same time, keep Jesus as a core value in our family? There is no one “right way” to do devotional time with our children –regardless of their age.

So I do have my share of stories about failed “devotional times” with our children at many stages in our family history.

But in this case at least, three things bore great fruit.

  1. I prayed over a period of days to discern what that time might look like. As a result, I settled on Psalm 23 as our text and would do the devotional the day before they left.
  2. I prepared. I had been meditating on Psalm 23 for a few months (having preached a sermon on it at New Life). I ran off a translation of the text and gave them each a copy.


  1. I asked permission, informing them up front that I did have a few things I wanted to share with them before they left (Geri’s suggestion). Would they would be willing to have a 20-minute devotional time with Geri and I?

I determined we would read the text aloud. Then I would make a few comments about the Psalm as it expressed my longing and prayer for the two of them. I decided to ask them to note words, phrases and things that particularly spoke to them. (Yes I handed them pens as we began).

In this case, it worked well. There is no guarantee it will work next time. But one thing is sure. I will pray, prepare and ask permission from my adult children before beginning!



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