An Overnight Way To Making God More a Part of Your Family

As Christians, making God more of a priority personally and in our families is sometimes easier said than done. But I think it’s possible, and I think it can make a significant impact on you personally and in your family.  Give me a second to explain:

Way back in 1992 I was encouraged by college students I was working with in the summer to begin to have a daily time with the Lord (called by many a ‘Quiet Time’).  Since then I have endeavoured to have a time with the Lord everyday.  I can honestly say this has been the single greatest contribution towards maturing in Christ – greater than any sermon, greater than any book, greater than any lesson.  My personal time focusing on God’s Will for my life has become a staple of my life.  Wow – am I ever thankful for those college students I worked with over my summers at Word of Life who demonstrated to me the importance of a daily Quiet Time.

Thankfully, my wife has the same (if not greater) passion for daily time with the Lord as I do.  She makes her time with the Lord a priority.  We are usually at the dining room table at around the same time each morning with our Bibles open (separately) and getting on God’s agenda for the day.  We have been doing this since day one of our marriage.  So, my kids have always woken up to see their parents spending time in God’s Word.  This has no doubt left an indelible impression upon them.  Since they were little, we have trained our kids to follow this same pattern of taking time each morning to get on God’s agenda with their ‘Quiet Time’.  For our kids it’s not long – probably 10 minutes.

But because we have required them to do this for years, it has become a habit in their lives.  They basically start their day doing their Quiet Time and rarely have to be reminded.

But because all of us are in the same ‘Quiet Time’ plan, we are all studying the same passage individually but together.  This presents a cool dynamic, because we’re all going through a particular passage and we can discuss what we’re learning at any given point.  It leads to some unique, impromptu conversations.

This all makes family devotions a breeze.  When I open the Bible after supper we open to that day’s passage from our Quiet Time (that we all already did that morning) and discuss it.  I will often ask the boys to go get their Quiet Time books so they can read what they wrote and down and we can discuss it together.

Here are the things that I believe make for an effective Quiet Time:

1 – Have a written plan.  That means this: don’t shoot from the hip when it comes to Quiet Time.  Don’t sit down each morning trying to figure out what you may read.  No plan means you’re planning to fail.  It doesn’t necessarily need to be a devotional that you’re going through – a plan can be as simple as “For the next 2 months I am going to study Ephesians”.  But whatever you’re going to do, write it out and know where you’re going.
2 – Same time each day.  Trying to make something routine that is never routine is never going to be routine (profound, eh?).  So, pick the time in your day when you’re going to do it – and stick to it.  For me – if I don’t get my Quiet Time done in the morning it typically won’t happen.
3 – Be in the Word.  I’m not going to knock devotional plans – but I will say this: a plan that doesn’t get you systematically INTO God’s Word is not a good plan.  Reading a verse for 20 seconds and then a long, lengthy story is not a good plan.  We need to be personally taking in God’s Word and learning how to study God’s Word for ourselves, not relying on other people to feed us.  This helps towards spiritual maturity.
4 – Make it a family priority.  As a parent you can instill in your kids whatever habits you want them to develop if you train them while they are young.  If you want your kids to learn the importance of spending time in God’s Word then you need to train them to do it and make it a priority.  In our house there is no TV, no gaming, no iPod’ing until Quiet Time is done.  Rarely does this have to be enforced because as I mentioned, they’re at the point where Quiet Time is just a part of the regular part of the routine.

Beginning to apply this to your life and your family can really make a huge difference in how you communicate with each other and your family direction.  Imagine how going through the Bible individually yet corporately could make a huge impact on you and your family.  In just 4 weeks you will be discussing things and implementing new habits that could change the trajectory of your entire family.

Here’s a resource that will allow you to accomplish the things mentioned: Family Quiet Times.  (FYI I don’t work for this organization but I highly respect them and highly recommend this tool).

Would you take a moment and prayerfully consider how you could make these things a reality in your life and family?

Scott Foreman is the Associate Pastor of Fellowship Bible Church in Mullica Hill, N.J.  He and his wife are raising four boys aged 14, 12, 10 and 9.

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