Impacting the Faith of Future Generations Through Family Devotions
I LOVE having my grandkids at my house for an overnight! We watch movies, eat popcorn and stay up late playing card games. It brings joy to my heart to love on these children. But I know my “job” as a grandmother goes far deeper. I have been called by the Lord to impact their young hearts for Him. I cannot assume they will follow in my footsteps in the faith.
Do you know that 75% of children raised in Christian churches leave the church by the age of 25 (Barna, Transforming Children into Spiritual Champions)? These are the children who go to Sunday School every Sunday and become the leaders of their Youth Group. Yet statistics show once they live independently from their home, often they abandon their church and their faith.
Studies reveal that parents modeling and teaching their faith in the home are the number one influence encouraging their children to keep their faith. Grandparents are a close second. Surprisingly, youth pastors are a distant third source of impact.
Yes, we grandparents have been assigned by the Lord the eternally important job of passing to our grandchildren our faith in Jesus Christ.
The question, then, for grandparents is how do we effectively impact the hearts of our grandchildren? One of the most powerful ways is reading the Bible together. I call these times “Family Devotions”. These moments include reading a Bible story followed by prayer time. Oh, I know life is hectic and busy. It is easy to think we cannot cram one more thing into a day. But time together in the presence of the Lord is invaluable. It is worth every minute and every effort. It builds a legacy of faith.
We begin our family time with one or two familiar songs. Next, we read our story. As my grandchildren age, I transition from Bible storybooks to the Bible. We talk for a few minutes about the meaning of the story. Usually, I ask three questions. What does this story (or passage) say about God? What does it say about me? What does it say about my relationship with God? In the closing moments of our Devotions, we grab hands and pray. Our prayers consist of some “thank you’s” followed by some “please help us, Lord, with …”. The children often fill in the blanks.
It sounds easy, doesn’t it? Actually, it is. Effective Family Devotions doesn’t require a long time. Usually, shorter is better. BUT we all have an Enemy who will diligently attempt to thwart the time between a grandparent and his grandchild in the presence of the Lord. I know! Personally, I struggle with this discipline. Often, I am the one who is nodding off. Not my four or five-year-old grandchild.
However, I am determined to stand strong. I long to leave to my children and grandchildren a legacy of loving God’s Word. One day, when I am in the full presence of the Lord and my family remains on the face of this earth, my prayer is that they will pick up their Bibles. As the pace had been set in our Family Devotions, may they gather their family remembering the moments I read and prayed with them.
“Teach them to your children and to their children after them.”
“Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.”