After our fourth daughter was born, I began to have a desire to create a time of worship and prayer each day with our daughters. Since we also started to home school, it offered a good opportunity for us to begin.
At first we started out around our kitchen table once a week with a devotional book especially for children. It had a short story, a verse, and several relevant questions followed with prayer. We also used a prayer journal where we wrote specific prayer requests down and then recorded answers as they happened.
When we began our oldest daughters were 12 and 10 years old. Soon we adjusted our devotional time from once a week to daily, relocated away from the kitchen table to a more casual setting with more space and freedom to move around, and added communion once a week.
For parents considering starting devotions at home, below are some ways that worked to establish a family altar at our house.
1. Be Flexible
Don’t try to have a rigid structured format, especially if your children are young or you have a big age difference between them. When we first began, I was happy if our two youngest played quietly in the same room.
2. Start With Worship
Begin with a time of worship and let your kids join in or lead with musical instruments. Our house offered guitars, bongos, and keyboard, along with rhythm sticks, bells, a triangle, a tambourine, and castanets. If your family isn’t musically inclined or doesn’t have the funds to invest, use CDs or sing a capella.
3. Stay Calm
Have a relaxed attitude because there are bound to be disruptions. Don’t let little things upset you, along with giving your kids freedom to participate and interject without feeling they are being distracting.
4. Commit Each Day
Plan activities around your devotional time, as well as, ignoring phone and door bell interruptions.
5. Keep It Fun
My kids would sometimes dance with ribbons or scarves during our worship time. Give your children the freedom to be children.
6. Encourage Creativity
Invite your kids to be an active part of this time together. Encourage them to share meaningful scripture verses, what God has been showing them personally, heartfelt concerns, prayer requests and more.
7. Invite Prayer
Our daughters were invited to pray about everything and anything, and encouraged to pray but not required to participate out loud.
Although our daughters are grown now, I remember our daily devotions together as the best part of each day. Also the ways we became closer as a family, grew spiritually, and how God ministered to us through our time spent together focusing on Him (Galatians 6:7).