One of the most important things you can do for your child’s spiritual development is to have regular family devotionals and discussions about godly principles. Many parents are intimidated when they consider family devotionals. Even if they could make the time commitment, what should they study with their children?
Whit’s End Mealtime Devotions: 90 Faith-Building Ideas Your Kids Will Eat Up! (Adventures in Odyssey Books) by Crystal Bowman and Tricia Goyer provides help for the family beginning the habit of daily devotionals. The book contains 90 devotions easy enough for even the most nervous devotional leader to use.
Each of the devotions is broken up into five areas: mealtime prayer, appetizer, main course, table talk and vitamins and minerals. The prayers vary from rote prayers to suggestions of things to cover in your prayer, The appetizer is a light introduction to the subject of the devotional. The main course varies from actual readings of Bible stories to discussions of godly principles. Table talk asks various open ended questions about the topic to encourage your family to discuss the principle or story in more depth.
My favorite area, may just be the vitamins and minerals. I love the idea of encouraging children to memorize scriptures. The idea of associating a relevant scripture with vitamins and minerals may just encourage some families to stretch themselves and include scripture memorization as a part of each devotional.
In addition to the regular mealtime devotions, the book also includes a section of devotionals for holidays. The final section is perhaps my favorite. It includes eleven, more complex devotionals. These devotionals more closely resemble the devotions in some of the other Focus on the Family devotional books. They are a little deeper and include more in depth family interaction in games, picnics or more involved activities.
Although they encourage families to skip around in the book, I would suggest families wait until they have developed the habit of family devotionals before attempting the more complex ones in the back of the book. Holiday devotionals can easily be slipped into your regular devotional schedule. If you have very small children, I can even see families completing this book more than once.
If you are looking for direct ties to the Adventures in Odyssey series, there really weren’t any other than drawings. Families with teens or who have been doing devotionals for a very long time may also find the content a little lighter than they would like. For the average family with young children or for families with older children who have not been having regular devotionals, this book is ideal. It should make establishing an important habit easy and enjoyable. There is definitely enough content to reinforce at least one important Biblical principle with each devotional.
If your family has been having regular family devotionals, what other books have you found useful? If you aren’t have regular devotionals, what is your stumbling block? Please share your thoughts in comments below.
I was provided a copy of this book for free in return for my honest review. I am painfully honest and have shared any concerns I may have.