So you want to have devotions but don't know where to start? Great! You are at least leaning in the right direction. Devotions don't have to be monumental tasks that consume large quantities of time. We've found that 15-20 minutes a day will do just fine for most people, and the benefits will be noticeable. What benefits you ask? A better grasp of the Scripture. Increased communication in your family. Challenging questions are raised and grappled with. Opportunities abound for all to learn how to lead. Prayer opportunities are increased as God is glorified. And a daily time to focus on God can develop into a lifelong pattern.
So let's begin:
1. Set a daily time where everyone is home. This is up to you and those you live with, but get them all together and come to an agreement.
2. Decide who will lead the Devotional for the day. Some families trade off who will lead from day to day so that everyone gets a chance to learn how to lead. Parents, this is a great way to teach your children to lead others. You may find that it takes patience to let kids lead... so learn to be patient!
3. Open in a short prayer. This can be done by the leader or it can be assigned to someone else. Remember, keep it short so you have more time at the end.
4. Read the assigned scripture out loud. This can be assigned by the leader to more than one person. Usually the passages are long enough to break into a few sections. You may also consider using the same translation to make things less confusing.
5. Read the devotional commentary out loud. This follows the scripture reading and helps to reinforce what was just read. This is usually read by the leader.
6. Ask the follow-up questions. This again is done by the leader, but all are given a chance to participate. A good leader will draw everybody into the conversation by directly asking each individual the questions. Sometimes more questions will arise, and the conversation may take a different course. The leader’s job is to keep things moving forward and on time.
7. Close with prayer. This may be a directed by the devotional, or you may have other pressing needs that you would like to pray for. Make this an opportunity to take requests, and encourage everyone to participate. One way to get better participation is to assign the prayer needs, and then have someone specifically chosen to close.
Whatever you do, don't get discouraged if you miss a day or three. Life happens, and some weeks are better than others. Simply commit to picking it up again and keep moving forward. This is a three-year devotional that will eventually come back around to what you missed. Remember, sanctification is a process and a journey over the long haul.