16 Family Devotional Ideas to Engage All Ages
Family devotional time was (and still is) a cornerstone piece in our homeschooling and discipleship of our children over the past 22 years. These days, with two grown children and a large age gap, it’s getting trickier to balance schedules and individual needs. But we still make an effort to find regular time, ideally daily, to interact with Scripture together and talk about how it applies to our lives.
Since I basically have the attention span of a gnat, we’ve experimented with many different ideas over the years and come up with some great ways to also incorporate lifeschooling into our family devotional ideas! But one key aspect to our family devotional time is simply reading Scripture out loud together.
In this post, I will also share 16 fun and interactive family devotional ideas, in addition to Scripture reading, that will not only deepen your family’s faith but also create wonderful family memories together. Whether you’re looking for fresh ideas to incorporate with young children or teenagers, there’s something here for every age and attention span…even gnat-like. 😉
Also, don’t miss out on the Christ-Centered Homeschool Giveaway at the bottom of this post!
Importance of family devotionals
It seems like it should go without saying, but family devotional time is crucial for building a family with a firm foundation in God’s Word. By putting an emphasis on reading Scripture and praying daily together, you are showing by example how important the Bible is to your family. If you allow outside activities such as sports and other “schedule thieves” to take the place of family devotional time, does that not also send a message to your children about what’s most valuable?
Family devotionals time reminds our children that God is at the center of our home, and the reason for everything we do. It’s a time when our children can open up about their thoughts and struggles, and when we can all praise and worship God together as a family unit, creating a stronger bond between everyone (even those who don’t sing as well. Haha.).
Benefits of family devotionals
Obviously, the biggest benefit to having daily family devotionals time is the spiritual growth of each family member. It also provides emotional benefit as having this routine gives a sense of stability and connection as we share our spiritual struggles and victories together. Our kids need to see that we are real people, too, with real struggles! And this authenticity deepens our relationships.
But you may not have considered how reading and studying God’s Word can also have mental benefits! I once started thinking through all the ways that academics are naturally incorporated into family devotionals and came up with a list of many subjects that end up being covered:
1. Music – Playing worship music and singing or allowing your kids to play their instruments brings in music class and music appreciation.
2. Math – Many passages in the Bible give an opportunity for math practice, such as the measurements of the temple or the ark. We have also enjoyed converting into modern measurements some of the ancient units of measurements of gold, silver, and other precious items that Solomon gathered for building the temple.
3. Science – Genesis covers science in the creation story, and there are many other ways that science and Scripture intersect. The Answers in Genesis website can be a great place to dig deeper into science and the Bible!
4. Economics – There are many economic principles covered in Scripture, such as sowing and reaping, and investing (parable of the talents).
5. History – So much ancient history is covered by studying Scripture and the history of God’s people.
6. Language Arts – Reading the Bible together gives practice in reading, grammar, spelling, and sentence structure. One of the best ways to become a better writer is to simply read the Bible!
And the list goes on and on!
One of our key lifeschooling verses is Matthew 6:33, “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” and through the years, I have held onto this verse as a promise. We did not always homeschool perfectly, but one things we tried to do was to prioritize God’s Word in our family and to teach our children to seek God first. If nothing else got done, Bible reading DID!
I now have two adult children, who are going out into the world with much success! Focusing on God and prioritizing studying His Word not only taught them various subject areas in a natural way, but has also led them to become very wise, hardworking people who have already accomplished much in their lives, including writing books, working as both cast and crew members in feature films, having an art show in a professional gallery, and becoming a full stack IT developer at age 22. Putting God first works!!
Choosing the right time and frequency for family devotionals
One of the hardest parts of instilling family devotions as a regular routine is just finding the right time! But if you want to ensure consistency and engagement (and that’s the goal here, right?) then you need to make sure you have a set time that works for everyone. It’s probably not when Dad is trying to rush out the door and your teenager is just rolling out of bed, and it’s probably not when your pre-schooler has hit his limit and hsould have gone to bed an hour and a half ago!
There is a special, magical time when all the schedules and moods align, and your job is to just find it… wait, who am I kidding? Ha! In reality, that time doesn’t exist, but on the other hand, you can probably get pretty close if you can be a little flexible.
Maybe mornings will work, as long as you do it during breakfast, Dad’s last task before heading out and when that sleepy teen is finally awake (sort of). Or maybe evenings right after dinner when school work is done for the older ones and the little ones are still awake enough to participate and enjoy it. I’ve seen it suggested to do BOTH morning and evening devotions, and that sounds absolutely lovely…and totally unrealistic for most of us!
If you can find a consistent time and aim to do it daily, that’s a fantastic start. If you can only do it once or twice a week to start, then start there. The key is, just START! Connecting spiritually with your family doesn’t just happen; you have to work for it.
Creating a comfortable and engaging environment for family devotionals
We all know the joke about homeschool uniform being pajamas. 😉 So comfort seems to be a pretty high priority for us homeschoolers, doesn’t it! It almost goes without saying that you will want to do devotions in a relaxing, comfortable environment. Of course, we don’t want anyone to fall asleep, but those hard kitchen chairs may not be the best idea, either.
That being said, we have been known to make certain family members stand when they can’t seem to pay attention while sitting. So your results may vary!
Along with making the space physically comfortable, we also want to make it comfortable emotionally so that everyone feels they are encouraged to participate. Yes, we want to have a certain amount of reverence for God’s Word, but children should also understand that they are spending time with their Heavenly Father, their “Daddy”! This should be a fun, warm time of sharing and no one should be made to feel intimidated.
To encourage this, you may want to let everyone take turns leading the devotionals or sharing ideas for what they would like to do. Thinking of your younger kids in the activities and resources you choose is a good idea to a certain extent, but I’ve found that it’s better to focus more on the older kids and the younger ones will stretch to keep up. Even things they may not understand will stick in their little “sponge brains” and be retrieved later when they are ready for the information.
By creating an environment that is welcoming and engaging, you’ll inspire a deeper level of involvement and connection during your family devotionals.
Bible study and Scripture reading ideas for family devotionals
Bible study and scripture reading are integral components of family devotionals. The Bible is our guidebook and will never return void, so we know there is always value in studying God’s Word together. Here are some ideas to make Bible study and Scripture reading more interactive and engaging for the whole family:
1. Bible Reading
As I mentioned at the outset, Bible reading has always been the standard in our family devotionals. It is easy to think you need to be creative or “dumb down” the Bible by reading simple Bible stories, but the truth is, we have a promise that the Bible will “not return void,” and even young children grasp far more than we give them credit for!
You can have your children take turns reading through a passage, or you can read and have them follow along either in their own Bibles or on the TV screen if you have a Bible app for that. (We have a computer for our TV, so we just open our browser to BibleGateway.com to read whatever passage we’re on that day).
2. Themed Bible Study
Focusing on a specific theme can be a great way to deal with areas of weakness you’ve noticed in your children’s lives (or your own). You may consider topics like love, forgiveness, gratitude, or any other aspect of your faith that you want to apply to “real life.” Select relevant Bible passages (be sure you are using Scripture in context) and discuss their meaning and how you can better apply them to your lives.
3. Scripture Memorization
Encourage each family member to memorize a verse or passage from the Bible. Make it a fun challenge by turning it into a game or competition. Test each other’s memory during your devotionals and celebrate each other’s progress with special rewards.
A couple great resources for Scripture memory that we have used are Seeds Family Worship and this Charlotte Mason method of Scripture memory. Scripture Memory Fellowship and the Bible Bee are a couple another wonderful ministries that may be helpful for your kids.
4. Role-playing Scenarios
Somewhere in the recesses of my hard drive, I have an adorable video of Konur (age 7 or 8) as King Solomon. After studying Solomon for ancient history, I recorded him giving a presentation in a construction paper crown with plastic jewels. Why not incorporate something similar into your family devotionals?
Acting out the stories and lessons from God’s Word is a great way to bring Scripture to life and give deeper understanding and connection with the biblical narratives.
Incorporating prayer and worship into family devotionals
Prayer and worship are essential elements of family devotionals, as we are communicating with our Creator and expressing our devotion to Him through our songs of praise. Here are some ideas to incorporate prayer and worship into your family devotionals:
5. Prayer Journaling
Keeping a prayer list is a great idea so you can track the dates when you first start praying for a request and when God answers! I’m always amazed and encouraged when I keep up this practice! Provide each family member with a journal to write down their prayers, reflections, and answered prayers. Then, encourage sharing and discussing the journal entries during your family devotionals.
6. Worship Music
Praise and worship is one of my favorite aspects of family devotional time! Create a family worship playlist on YouTube or elsewhere with your favorite hymns, worship songs, or instrumental music. Use this playlist during your devotionals to set a worshipful atmosphere focused on God and His awesomeness.
If you have a child with a musical gift, allow them to play a worship song during this time or play along with the music you’ve selected. When Korban was young, we used to let him play his electronic drums along with the worship music. He loved it! However, family members with sensory issues didn’t love it quite as much. 😉 So you do have to consider everyone’s needs.
7. Prayer Time
Praying for each other’s needs shows concern and care for each other and helps young children, especially, learn to be empathetic and thoughtful of their siblings and parents. Take turns praying for each other’s needs, challenges, and blessings during each devotional time. You may even want to hold hands or gather in a “hug circle” when you pray together.
Interactive activities and games for family devotionals
Of course, the last thing we want when we sit down to family devotional time is for the kids to be falling asleep…or, if you’re like my active son, flipping upside down or bouncing maniacally on the couch. So let’s talk about incorporating interactive activities and games that cater to different age groups you may have represented in your family.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
8. Bible Trivia
There are many fun Bible trivia books and games that you can use during family devotional time. Bible 20 Questions is a game we have played occasionally on Sundays when we want to honor the Sabbath and spend extra time resting and studying God’s Word. This game also looks like a winner…
9. Crafting and Art Projects
If you have children with busy little hands, engage them during Scripture reading by encouraging them to draw a picture of the story you are reading, or by building a representation out of Lego bricks. I’m always amazed by how much information my older two kids learned through this activity!
10. Discussion Starters
Scripture is a natural way to start deep conversations with your children (especially the book of Proverbs!) and to pass on your values and convictions. We have had many meaningful conversations with our kids this way over the years! You may be amazed at the amount of wisdom and insight that even your youngest children have, and this is a wonderful way to help them go even deeper.
The key is to look for the opportunities to find out their thoughts and opinions about various topics that are covered. Think of ways the Scripture you’re reading connects with their personal lives, current events, or family happenings and find ways to apply it.
You may want to plan these questions ahead of time, but if I’m being completely transparent, we never did that. The conversations just happened organically as we applied the daily readings to our lives.
Incorporating technology and multimedia into family devotionals
It can be almost overwhelming to consider all the technology and multimedia resources we have today! And utilizing these resources can help change things up from the regular routine. Here are some ways to incorporate technology into your family devotionals:
11. Digital Bible Apps
Explore Bible study apps or online platforms that provide access to a variety of translations, commentaries, and study resources. This allows for a more comprehensive and interactive Bible study experience.
I like the YouVersion app for my personal daily devotions, and there are also some kids devotionals on there. There’s no reason why you couldn’t use some of the devotionals in your family devotions, as well!
12. Video Devotionals
Watch pre-recorded devotionals or sermons together as a family. This can be a great segue into conversations about Scripture and how it applies to your lives! Keep your finger on that pause button! You could also encourage your children to take notes, which would give them practice in this very useful skill, and you could discuss them at the end.
RightNow Media is a great option for finding many engaging Bible studies and video devotionals. Many churches pay to make this resource available for free to all their members, so check with your church to see if this is an option for you and your family. There are even some great homeschooling resources available on this platform!
13. Online Discussion Groups
This is not something I have done much (though I am a part of the Vibrant Home Life Facebook group and I’m speaking at their upcoming Vibrant Home Life Summit), but you can join online communities or discussion groups focused on family devotionals and faith.
It will allow you to connect with like-minded individuals to share ideas and gain inspiration for your own family devotionals. There are so many more creative ideas and resources out there than I can cover in one blog post!
Resources and materials for family devotionals
Having the right resources and materials can greatly enhance the quality and effectiveness of your family devotionals. Here are some essential resources to consider:
14. Family Devotional Books
With very young children, it’s a great idea to invest in age-appropriate devotional books that will help them understand the Bible better. Look for books that provide daily readings, discussion questions, and practical applications…but still read Scripture along with them! Here are a couple classics we used in our home (the first one is the devotional book I grew up with!)…
15. Bible Study Guides
Bible study guides or workbooks that offer structured lessons and activities for deeper exploration of the Scriptures are also great. We have also used books on various things we wanted to study more deeply that were more topical in nature. For one book, we had our kids create cover designs for special journals we used to answer the study questions included after each chapter.
16. Online Resources
There are so many online resources such as websites, blogs, and podcasts that offer free devotionals, study guides, and ideas for family devotionals.
One of my favorite Bible study YouTube channels is the Bible Project. We have read through many books of the Bible as a family, and before starting a new book, we always watch the Bible Project’s animated videos that give a synopsis of the book. It has been so helpful for understanding the purpose of each book and how it fits in to the whole of Scripture!
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Conclusion: Making family devotionals a priority
Hopefully by now you’re seeing just what a powerful habit family devotionals can be in your home, and how many creative ways there are to incorporate this practice! Focusing on God together and helping your kids grow closer to Him is the most important job you have as a parent, and this is one simple way that you can make this practice a habit.
It may sound like heresy to our culture, but when it comes right down to it, God never commanded us to educate our children, but He did command us to “teach them diligently” to walk with Him.
All the rest will fall into place as we work towards our highest calling! Family devotionals is an important part of that high calling. Be diligent and God will reward your faithfulness!
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