By Janette Haak
As the Lenten season approaches, we have the opportunity to intentionally spend time studying God’s Word with our families. It’s important to realize that it will not look the same for all families and that is OK. You need to do what works best for your family. At St. Luke, we’re here to partner with you and hopefully simplify your Lenten season.
Beginning March 5, Ash Wednesday, there will be a daily Lenten devotional blog for everyone. The devotion will have suggestions about how to make the devotion applicable for children, including something tangible to help everyone remember the lesson. Everyone will discuss the same devotion using the suggested follow-up questions.
There will not be a devotion on Saturday or Sunday, but on Friday, there will be a devotion more specifically tailored for families that you can do anytime over the weekend. They will be like the devotion suggestions that we did during the Sunday School hour over the summer.
As the Lenten season approaches, we have the opportunity to intentionally spend time studying God’s Word with our families.
We recognize that all families at St. Luke are different. We have large families with a variety of ages, we have families with a single child, we have single parents and families that are empty nesters. Even though our families vary, we all have something in common … we’re busy, right? So, how do we fit in these family devotions and what does it look like?
For some families, family devotions happen after dinner or at bedtime. It will look different for each family depending on the ages of your children.
We had an altar during Lent where we had a cross (a Sheepfold craft), resurrection eggs, (another Sheepfold craft), a candle, and the map/journey of Holy Week. I also had a purple cloth on the altar–a reminder of what we see at church–to help pull the lesson together.
The children each participated using the materials on the altar, taking turns reading or doing the sticker, but we kept them engaged in the lesson.
Maybe your schedule keeps you running from one place to another after school and you have no idea how you would ever spend time doing a devotion. This is when the car time becomes a great resource. You could read the devotion for the day ahead of time, or have one of your children read it off your smart phone. Then you can all discuss it in the car.
Maybe you’re a family where you split time with your child. This can still be a great way to connect and communicate. If you both read the devotion, you can have a phone conversation about it.
The important thing here is to be spending time talking with your family about the Lenten season and what it means. It means intentionally spending time having family devotions and being in the Word.
Lent is a time of repentance and reflection; it is something we as parents need to experience and model for our children. We need to be in the Word so that when we have our family devotions, we can point our children to the truth.
The important thing here is to be spending time talking with your family about the Lenten season and what it means.
Lenten family devotions may be short if your family is young and that is OK. If necessary, you can have paper and crayons for a young child who isn’t able to sit for as long as older siblings.
I am sure you have noticed what a young child picks up just from listening, so if possible, keep them in the room with you as you have devotions, but let them have something to do.
Don’t think of family devotions as something that just happens when your family is gathered together and the Bible is open. Family devotions and caring conversations can and should happen just about anywhere about a variety of topics.