Q: How should we carry out a family devotion evening?

These studies are designed for you to begin reviewing the passage early in the week and preparing your heart before God to present His truths to your children and others God may bring your way (Col. 4:17). A time of family sharing is a wonderful way of solidify truths in the lives of each individual; however, it will not take the place to each individual's own relationship with God. (See Individual Devotions section.)

What you teach others will be an outgrowth of your own relationship with God. It will either be a reflection of God's Spirit and His glory, or it will be a reflection of yourself.

There are many different means of carrying out family devotions depending on the interests and bents of your family. Truths from the current passage can be presented throughout the week in a variety of ways for various ages. Family night should include all ages in some way.

You may prefer to put very young children to bed before beginning a discussion time. However, young children will very soon enjoy singing with the group, which is a wonderful part of family devotion time. As they become a little older, you may want to provide a color page and some crayons during discussion time. Children can learn by listening even before they can articulate what they learn by talking.

Look over the Creative Activity Ideas section of the Spiritual Teacher Training Book, and find something that will both interest your young child and relate to the truths in the current passage, or use some of the ideas from the activity page of the Parent Study Guide.

Older children can be included in the process of planning a family evening. 
Allow them to take turns preparing a game, a drama, a song, a craft, etc. Let them help choose a devotion introduction theme for the month. 
Help older children guide younger children in preparing such things as a drama, a song, a craft, etc.
There are many ways to carry out family devotions. This section examines several family devotion methods and focuses on a weekly family devotion evening of events. 
See the Introduction Theme section in the "Tips and Tools" portion of the Spiritual Teacher Training 101 Book.

As parents you need to make a general plan for your family. It may be that all you will do together is to determine your minimum interaction with the weekly passage.  

We recommend daily individual devotions and a weekly time for sharing and accountability (along with sharing with others on Sunday and throughout the week). Some families are able to spend some time together each day, and that is good. However, you will not be able to walk with your children everywhere every day the rest of their lives, but God and His Word can.

Thursday or Friday may be a good time to have family devotions after individuals have completed most of their lessons.  The fifth day is more application-oriented so that it can be somewhat of a follow-up.  Saturday you can do other devotional projects or further research. Sunday is the day to share with others and begin again.

Each person should find something with which to encourage the family.

Mom, the man does not need to spend hours planning and carrying out individual or family devotions in order to be the spiritual leader of the family. You are the one who has responsibility for the children who are home all day and who arrive home before your husband does. You can choose activities which will feed your young children and challenge those who are a little older. You can read to the non-readers. You can help school-age children schedule their times for devotions and monitor their progress. 

You can have the children so ready by the time Dad arrives home that they cannot wait to tell him what they have been learning, right after you and your husband spend a few minutes sharing with each other the events of your days. It helps to have a time of re-acquaintance with one another after focusing on separate goals throughout the day. When Dad shares what he has learned from the passage, there will be a bond of understanding. 

During family devotion times you can help the children share what they have been learning from and doing about the passage during the week. In this role you facilitate discussion and involvement rather than providing answers.

Dad, it does not need to be your objective to "teach" a lesson. You are already sharing your relationship with God with your children. Individuals see the value you place on your time with God and how it is meaningful to you. When you see something going the wrong direction, you can point individuals toward the Scriptures.

These materials are just tools to help you communicate with your children at any age about both your relationship and their relationships with God. The materials provide a look at passages and facilitate family communication about individual growth.

During family devotion times you can be the teacher. You can share what you have been learning from the passage and should find something with which to encourage the family. You can correct errors you have heard or answer questions that have arisen. You do not need to be afraid of not having all the answers. Only God has all the answers. You should be willing to find answers. You can do or guide research with study tools such as a concordance, commentaries or other spiritual leaders and share results later.

Be encouraged! You can effectively guide your children, too. Look at the roles of both Dad and Mom on the preceding page, and determine the appropriate responsibilities your children need you to handle. Your relationship with God is the first priority.

You will not study the current passage in detail again for as many as six years, so glean from it thoroughly. Do not be afraid of overexposure. A week is not very long. As each person applies what God is teaching him or her daily, it will be both a challenge and a comfort.

  • Deuteronomy 6:4-9 teaches parents to instruct children throughout the day and in various situations.
  • John described Jesus as the living water and the bread of life which we need continually.
  • Psalm 119 describes God's Word as a lamp for the feet which then lights the path as each step is taken.
  • Proverbs 2:4-5 commands us to search for wisdom as for hidden treasure.

For children who are using this curriculum both at home and in Sunday School, we recommend that they only complete one lesson each week. Parents and Sunday School teachers can coordinate evaluation and correction efforts.


  • Have a daily Scripture reading, a prayer and a hymn every morning. Some include the Lord's prayer of Matthew 6:9-13 as a regular family prayer.
  • Have daily Scripture reading, prayer and a hymn each evening.
  • Initiate a verse a week or a passage a month, and a hymn a week or month.
  • Read a passage along with a devotional book each morning and evening.
  • Encourage individual devotions daily, and have a family devotion time one evening a week. Perhaps begin with a passage-related meal. Include a passage-related game, a dramatic presentation, sharing applications, family discussion time, a craft ministry item, etc.
  • Have individual devotions at the same time each morning.
  • Have individual devotions at the best time of day for each person with life-style accountability including passage focused discussions, crafts, activities, songs, and periodic family ministry projects throughout the week: some organized, some spontaneous.  
  • Others: design your own family-style plan. You may want to change it seasonally in keeping with family life-style changes.   


  • Review the devotion for your children before they begin working on it. Look for potential difficulties they 
    may encounter. Provide the helps they need so they do not become overwhelmed, but do encourage them to think and stretch.
  • Establish a time of accountability with the whole family. It can be a small part of an evening of family events related to the passage truths of the week.
  • Present a statement which will lead the child's thoughts directly into the devotion discussion. For help you may review the focus statement at the beginning of the current or the previous lesson. Say something like, "Last week we learned ..., this week we will. . . ."
  • Spend about fifteen minutes discussing some questions from each child's devotional studies. 
  • Provide an opportunity for each child to give an answer.
  • Be receptive of answers, and help children avoid "rabbit trails."
  • Help children encourage one another by accepting each person where they are, and help promote an atmosphere for steady growth.
  • You may want to throw out a question to consider during meal time periodically to stimulate interest.

There are a number of ways to pray as a group following the devotion discussion. Here are some ideas which have proven profitable.

  • Use a notebook to write down each person's name and specific request.
  • Share answers the following week regularly. Remember that answers may be yes, no or wait.
  • Train students to begin by praising God for who He is. Perhaps help share some names and qualities of God before beginning to pray until the habit is established.
  • Thank God for what He has done, including answers to prayer.
  • Pray as specifically as possible for the requests that have been shared. You may wish to designate one individual to pray for a specific shared request.
  • Pray for applications made from the lessons.
  • Keep the prayer time moving with short phrase or sentence prayers. Help children avoid long paragraph praying together. Explain and demonstrate the difference between phrases and paragraphs using a dictionary or a grammar book.
  • Be a good example.

Look over the Introduction Themes section in the Tips and Tools portion of the Family Devotion Training 101 book for ways to have weekly devotions with seasonal and family events. Remember that the individual's relationship with God and His Word, not the event, is the goal. Events are intended to whet the appetite and get the attention of various individuals in a variety of ways. They are intended to help Scripture come alive, but not to overshadow it. Pray and be careful. Remember your focus.