Devotions: what’s a mother to do?
This article is a followup to this one.
As I said last time, many families think of devotions as the cherry on top of our children’s spiritual food. But it’s not. It is the main dish. As parents, it is our responsibility to shape our children spiritually. We need to take this work seriously.
Here’s where it can get difficult for mothers. What are our responsibilities with devotions? Assuming dad is in the picture, it’s primarily his responsibility to lead the family spiritually. So what if he’s not doing it? What if he just plain won’t do devotions? What’s a mother to do?
First of all: don’t be a nag. The Apostle Peter says that
In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior. (1 Peter 3:1-2)
I am not saying that every husband who doesn’t lead devotions is an unbeliever. I am saying to pay attention to the basic principle here. Be respectful, even about the things in your husband you believe should change.
That said, there are respectful ways to help him in this task. If he just needs (maybe even wants) some help getting going, you can find ways to make life easier for him.
Usually, right after dinner is the best time to have devotions. The family is already together. Leave the devotional book/Bible right by the dinner table so it is handy. One of the kids can even be given the task of saying, “Oh we need to read now”.
Obviously, there are ways to do all this in a passive aggressive way. And ways to do it in a sweet helpful way. You know the difference. Do the sweet, helpful one.
And speaking of sweet, remember that short and sweet is generally the way to go with devotions. There is no reason for it to become a dreaded task. My last article says read a “page” of the Bible. It probably should have said “chapter”. Even just a few verses is a good starting place.
Then as the kids grow beyond Bible in Pictures for Little Eyes, a chapter of Children’s Pilgrim Progress can be fun. Or starting to read The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe is always good.
Maybe when the kids are a little older, you could read a chapter of a missionary biography. That’s the sort of thing that holds everyone’s attention.
Or maybe that would never hold your family’s attention. Every family is differeknt. Maybe none of that sounds like what you’d like to do. Maybe your husband has an entirely different idea. That’s okay! I cannot emphasize enough that you should find what works for you. And just do it.
All that to say, make devotions a sweet thing, not a drudgery.
What if your husband refuses to lead devotions at all? Ever?
Well, again, there are respectful ways to do this, and disrespectful ways, but if your husband is not leading, you just need to do it anyway. It’s that important. Again, keep it sweet and enjoyable.
Lord willing, if your husband sees that it is sweet and enjoyable, he may be enticed to join in, and then eventually take the helm.