Chuck and I have been married for five and a half years. Over the years we have tried a variety of family devotions. We’ve tried devotionals that are labeled things like Moments Together for Couples, cialis which end up being one proof-texted verse and then a page of random reflection on life rather than on Scripture. We’ve gone through “praying the Scriptures” type of books that end up feeling more like the Prayer of Jabez. We’ve had limited success choosing a non-devotional book and working through it. An example of this was The Jesus Creed by Scot Mcknight. That worked great. Until we got to the end of the book, thumb when we looked at each other and said, try “now what do we use?”
More often than not, we would end up using whatever class I was taking at the time as a springboard for devotions and conversation. So when I took my favourite class, a reading through 2nd Samuel, I would come home each night with all kinds of excitement for what I had just learned. But then, the class would end and we’d again look at each other and say, “now what do we use?”
In the last few months we’ve found something that is interesting, it lasts longer than a couple of weeks, and it has both depth and structure. We’ve adapted the ‘Evening Prayer’ service out of the Anglican Book of Alternative Services (click on the link and jump to page 66).
Here’s what we do:
Open with the chorus from song I learned several years ago: Listen, God is Calling. You can hear it here, we sing just the intro (up to the :43 second mark)
We read the Invitatory, either ‘O Gracious Light’ or Psalm 134.
We do the appointed Scripture readings.
We say the Affirmation of Faith, either The Apostles’ Creed or Hear O Israel.
We sing The Lord’s Prayer.
We say one of the dismissal benedictions.
The best time we’ve found to do this family devotion is right after dinner while we’re still gathered around the dining room table.
What I like about this is that there is both structure and flexibility. The structure is similar to what we do on Sunday mornings at church. The flexibility exists in that we can do all three of the assigned Scripture readings (OT, Gospel, NT), or one of them, or even just the appointed psalm for the day, depending on what kind of time we have.
Because we do the Scripture reading aloud, we’ve played with several translations. For the moment, we’re using the NLT as it seems to flow the best. (We have tried the NKJV, and NIV and the NASB).
We’ve been doing this for about three months now, and so far, so good.
What have you found works best for your family devotions, or your personal devotions? Does having a routine help? Or is it better for you to do them at different times depending on your day? What resources have you found helpful?