How Did You Do Family Devotions When Your Kids Were Real Little?
The following is an edited transcript of the audio.
How did you do family devotions when your kids were real little?
We wanted to get our children trained in personal devotions from the beginning, as well as family devotions.
1) From the family standpoint there would always be a time to meet. It was at the breakfast table in those early days. So you have a child who is now rested—at least it's the way it worked for our boys and Talitha—they were rested and had a full tummy. So they were relatively happy.
And at that moment Daddy gets out a big book. And he reads from it, a paragraph maybe. This little child doesn't understand anything I'm saying. He's six months old, or nine months, or a year.
He doesn't understand anything I'm saying, but he's learning big time what is going on here: he's watching daddy take leadership; he's noticing a book; he's hearing reading; he's watching them pray afterwards; and he's learning massively important things before he understands a word that is going on here.
So he is included in family devotions. He is being trained in devoting himself to God through his word.
Then, as the child becomes verbal and you can tell that he can say some things, you take wherever he is and you find something in the Bible and you try to match that with his level. And at each level you're trying to build truth into that little brain.
You're not demanding faith from this little pagan, because he's not ready even to come to those terms. You're doing teaching: you're building and you're exulting and you're praying and you're asking, and he's watching all this happen as you build that into his life.
Now that's the family pattern in the early days.
2) The individual pattern is, back in the days when they had cassette tapes, we had these indestructible child cassette players. I presume they still have them. You could throw it across the room and it wouldn't be destroyed. It had big wide red buttons.
And so here's our 18-month old listening to Bible stories on his own. "You have devotions now. This is your time. You take your big machine over there, you push your red button, and you listen to your story and say, 'Thank you, Jesus.'"
So, we trained them in personal devotions and in family devotions.
©2014 Desiring God Foundation. Used by Permission.
Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in its entirety or in unaltered excerpts, as long as you do not charge a fee. For Internet posting, please use only unaltered excerpts (not the content in its entirety) and provide a hyperlink to this page. Any exceptions to the above must be approved by Desiring God.
Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By John Piper. ©2014 Desiring God Foundation. Website: desiringGod.org