The main focus of our daily devotions is to build a relationship with God. There are many “skills” required to build a relationship – we listen, we talk, we need to be honest, we remember, we celebrate. All these aspects of relationship can be a part of our relationship with God too. Though there are some specific skills we can encourage our children in when they read the Word of God.
When I have my Devotional time I
- and Respond
These basic skills are a good foundation to teach our children.
Before our children can read independently we have their quiet time together so I can read the Word of God to them. I encourage my children to read the Bible for themselves as early as possible in their reading journey. In fact the Bible, or a children’s Bible, has been the first book each of my children have read independently. This is all towards elevating the Bible as an important book in their hearts.
Once my children are independent readers, and to a degree have an independent relationship with God, I encourage them to have some input into what they read for the devotional time. Over the years different children have chosen various devotional books, or specific books of the Bible to read through, little by little every day.
Initially thinking skills are in the form of comprehension. After a reading I ask my young children to narrate what they heard. This helps them keep attention as they know they will have to retell it. The most exciting thing when a child retells something is you get a glimpse into their heart. They will innocently retell something that sparked something in their heart and this gives you an opportunity to fan the fire as you discuss that aspect further. Listen carefully as your children talk back about the things they have heard.
As our children grow older both in thinking skills generally and their understanding of the things of God I get them to talk to me about what that scripture means to them, or an application in their lives. I have often been surprised with the truths that my children perceive when they read the Bible.
You will find a trend in our family to respond to things in writing. This is our family way. This is not the way; this is why I write about Responding, rather than Writing. Your response to God can be with Music, with Song, with Dance, with Prayer, with Thought, with Art, with action.
God does not set out requirements for a Devotion Journal! The reason I like to Journal is it becomes a record of our thoughts and prayers, a record of what God has put in our heart.
- Writing these things down
- Keep our focus
- Fine tune our thinking, making things clearer
- Cement our thoughts in our hearts
A Devotion Journal is not the height of spiritualness but rather a tool for us to use as we respond to God’s love towards us. Faith without action is no faith at all so our ultimate response to God needs to be a changed life.
Note for the Homeschooler: I do encourage at least a little writing when appropriate to their skill development though my real encouragement is to just Respond. If we have a reluctant or learning writer often the only writing they do for the day is with their personal devotions (maybe even just copywork).