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Heart Lessons        < Previous        Next >

 

Does Your Family Have a Spiritual Routine?

 

Most families have a regular rhythm of life. The grownups go to work or care for the house, and the kids go to school and extracurricular activities. On weekends, there are chores, get-togethers with friends, occasionally some family fun, time with extended family or guests, and much-needed down time.

 

Except for seasonal variations, vacations and holidays, family life is made up of routines and schedules. But one important aspect of life may be completely missing: your family's spiritual routine.

 

Husbands and wives know if they don't get some "couple time," pay attention to each other with gifts and services, and communicate effectively, their marriage isn't going to last, much less grow. Students know if they don't do their homework and listen in class, they aren't going to succeed in school. It's the same with any sport, musical endeavor or hobby: if you don't practice, you won't get better.

 

So why do so many families neglect their own spiritual development, and then wonder why communication within the family becomes dysfunctional, or many family members have personal problems and become estranged from God?

 

Spiritual life has the same sorts of routines and disciplines as anything else. Families could gradually adopt a style for spiritual family life that suits them and fulfills them. Suggestions:

 

n       Attend church as a family once a week.

n       Take turns saying grace before dinner, and try to have dinner together as a family almost every night.

n       Keep the radio tuned to a Christian station in your car and home.

n       For young children, read a Bible bedtime story to them every night and listen to their prayers; those who can read independently - including parents - should read the Bible and pray for at least 10 or 15 minutes every day.

n       It's a neat idea for everyone to be reading the same chapter each day so you can discuss; you can get a Bible reading schedule that you all can follow from your church or any number of commercial sources.

n       Young children would benefit from Sunday School, children's choir and a Bible club such as Awana once a week.

n       Set an expectation that your teenager will be active in the church youth group, and work with your church's ministers if it isn't happening.

n       Make Sundays "family day," and do things together such as go to the zoo, work on a volunteer project together to help others, or just stay home and relax together; outside interests and friends are for the other six days of the week.

n       Everyone in the family should participate in at least one Bible study at some point, and report back the highlights to the rest of the family. There are studies for children, teens, men, women, and all kinds of general audience studies from which to choose.

n       Have a monthly "family meeting," in which you read from the Bible, discuss various problems and opportunities, talk about current events and how they relate to your faith, and plan for the future.

 

 

By Susan Darst Williams www.GoBigEd.com Heart Lessons 007 2006

 

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