Family Emotions (I mean devotions)

By Todd Wilson (Convention 2009 Speaker)

I heard somewhere that if you want to be a spiritual giant, you need to have family devotions. All the great men of the faith did; at least that’s what everyone says. Apparently, they got up a couple of hours before dawn, gathered the family around the table, read the Scriptures for two hours, prayed for three, and then sang great hymns of the faith, while the children listened quietly as mice.

Well, this is one spiritual “guppy” whose family devotions look more like a blue light special at K-Mart. One kid is standing on his head on the couch, one is hidden under a blanket, one is “quietly” strumming a pint-sized guitar like the lead guitarist in a heavy metal group, and another woke up grumpy at life while I babble away like a Baptist missionary preaching to a bunch of Papua New Guinea natives who have no idea what I’m saying!!

We try singing, but it’s hard to sing, yell at kids, and worship God at the same time. Sometimes I have to stop in order to send one child to the bathroom for me to deal with later. “Sam, why don’t you close us in prayer before someone gets hurt.” Amen.

Ahhh wasn’t that relaxing and uplifting? NOT!

So, you know what I’m going to do?

Try again tomorrow.

That’s all I can do. I know spending time together as a family for “devotions” is best. It must be because it’s so hard, and all the good things are hard.

How about you? You up for God’s best?

Here are Todd’s Tips for Semi-Successful Family Devotions:

1. Take charge and make it happen. You ‘da dad!

2. Keep it short--think baby steps. 1

3. Ease into it. Why not just pray as a family? Take prayer requests, have different people pray, and that’s all. Later, move on to step 4.

4. Make it simple-There is no magic recipe for making family devotions a piece of cake. Just read a few verses out of the Bible, talk about them, and pray.

5. Throw away all your expectations of heaven on earth.

6. Keep at it.

You ‘da dad!

TODD WILSON, author of Lies Homeschooling Moms Believe, Help! I’m Married to a Homeschooling Mom and The Official Book of Homeschooling Cartoons, is a dad, writer, conference speaker, and former pastor. Todd’s humor and gut-honest realness have made him a favorite speaker at homeschool conventions across the country and a guest on Focus on the Family. Todd, and his wife Debbie, homeschool their seven (almost eight) children in northern Indiana. You can visit Familyman Ministries at