For many Christian parents, the idea of daily devotional time with their children – from toddlers to teens – seems an impossible task.
A 15-day Family Focus resource, developed by Mark Smith, senior consultant of family evangelism and discipleship with the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, aims to put structure around family devotional time in the days leading up to Easter.
“We are busy. We live a fast-paced life. But the Bible is very clear that God desires for parents to pass down their faith to their children – there are a number of Scriptures that point to this truth,” Smith says.
The Easter Family Focus includes 15 days of reading, discussion questions, prayer prompts and optional family activities that are designed to engage every member of the family. And one of the most important parts of the program, Smith stresses, is consistency.
“We want families to find a pocket of time that works for them, be it around the dinner table or right before bedtime, to do this together. We want devotional time to become a regular rhythm in their home,” he says.
“We want to be intentional with our children, as God commands us, because there is blessing in it. He wants each generation to love Him and know Him more.”
The idea behind “rhythms,” Smith explains, comes from Deuteronomy 6:6-7 where Moses commands the Israelites to repeatedly share their faith with their children.
“The Hebrew word for ‘impress’ in that verse (often translated to ‘teach’) describes a process that is intentional and repetitive,” Smith says. “When we talk about what devotional time looks like with your children, it’s a process that is deliberate and repeated, over and over.”
The Easter Family Focus resource is designed to take around five to ten minutes each day, Smith explains. After the short Scripture reading, there are age-appropriate discussion questions – for preschoolers, elementary aged children and middle/high school aged children – and finally a prompt to help you close in prayer.
The idea of generational discipleship – with older generations passing on the truths of God’s word to younger generations – is seen throughout Scripture, particularly in the Old Testament.
“We see Joshua commanding the Israelites in Joshua 24, ‘As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord,’ and then you turn your Bible one page, and see in Judges 2 there is a generation removed from Joshua’s people who didn’t know the Lord, or what He had done for Israel,” Smith explains. “That command we saw in Deuteronomy 6 didn’t happen. And the result was a generation who didn’t know God.
“That’s not what we want for our families,” he continues. “We want to be intentional with our children, as God commands us, because there is blessing in it. He wants each generation to love Him and know Him more.”