Adrian Reynolds reviews a new resource for family devotions which will help keep things fresh. He says it’s one you should try for the New Year.
I love new ideas. Whilst also a traditionalist (I love fountain pens) I also get excited and energised by new ways of doing old things. In fact, I find the newness helps me overcome staleness and boredom which – I confess – creep in far too easily.
Most parents, I guess, find this is the case with family devotions. Spending time as a family reading God’s word and praying is not an easy thing to maintain. Partly this is the disappearing culture of long meal times which makes finding time tricky. Partly it is because of the complex status of children in the New Covenant (according to my understanding: not automatically believers, yet highly privileged in what they have access to).
But the truth is also that there are precious few quality resources around to help make such times work well. And the ones we have quickly lose their allure or lustre in our fast-paced world.
I’m a dad to three daughters. Two I’ve had the joy of baptising and seen married to Christian men. We’ve tried to live out our theology of parenthood in the home with varying degrees of success. But I know this: their salvation is all of God. It was nothing to do with Mrs R and me (and some parents need to be released from this burden). Salvation is always grace.
However, I also know that he uses ordinary means to save and one of those ordinary means is the teaching and evangelism that the kids receive at home.
A Family Resource
That’s why I’m really pleased to see one FIEC pastor’s idea become a reality. The pastor in question serves in Cambridge and I had the joy of teaching him whilst he was at college. I cannot, however, claim any credit whatsoever for the brilliant idea of his Devotional Dippers.
These three tubes (prayer, key words, names of God) each contain 40 heavy duty cardboard sticks with a verse, a question and a prayer written on them. The simple idea is to draw out a stick at the meal table (or bedtime), read the verse or passage, talk about the question and then pray. At the end you put the stick back in, but turn it around. A little coloured tab is on the reverse end of the stick and you can then see which sticks have been selected and which are still to draw.
It’s a great idea. Innovative, fun, faithful and useful! I imagine that getting the idea from concept to reality was not easy, but it’s been done very well. Our last remaining daughter is perhaps a bit too old, but we still had fun trying it out.
My parenting strategy often became ‘I’ll try anything’. These dippers are certainly worth trying.
Of course, only the Spirit of the living God can bring God’s word alive and make children alive. But here’s something he could use in your home and those in your church. Definitely worth having yourself and putting on the church bookstall.