Perhaps one of the more interesting stories in the Bible is the story of Hezekiah and the shadow on the steps. Since it’s also a story your children may not have heard, it makes a great family devotional. The story is told in 2 Kings 20:1-11.
Call your children together and tell or read them the story of Hezekiah and the shadow on the stairs. Explain that in those times the sun and the shadows it created were used to tell the time. When Hezekiah asked God to move the shadow backwards, he was in essence asking God to move time backwards! The Bible doesn’t tell us exactly how God performed the miracle – whether he ”merely” moved the shadow backwards ten steps or moved time backwards and whatever that equated to – but God did the miracle Hezekiah requested.
To help your children better understand how time was told with shadows, make your own family sundial. (There are lots of instructions online, but here is one from WikiHow https://www.wikihow.com/Make-a-Sundial). As you make and set up the sundial, you can dig deeper with a spiritual discussion in several ways. If you wish, you can discuss how amazing God is and how nothing is impossible for Him. Talk about the amazing things you have seen God do today.
You can also spend time talking about the importance of praying and how God can answer prayers with “yes”, “no”, or “wait”. Point out that God didn’t promise Hezekiah that he would never die, just that He would give him fifteen more years to live. We do know, however, that God gave Hezekiah those extra years, because he was praying. Had Hezekiah not prayed, he most likely would have died much sooner.
Finally, you can extend the lesson by discussing time and how we are to use it to serve and glorify God. Talk about how Hezekiah might have thought differently about time after the shadow went backwards on the steps. Discuss how we often take time for granted and waste it. Brainstorm ways you all can use the time God has given you more wisely.
Leave your sundial outside for a time. Revisit it periodically and have more discussions about time. If your area has daylight savings time, note how the sundial becomes inaccurate when the time changes from the zone in which you calibrated it. You can even use that discussion to teach your children about time zones and begin discussing missions around the world in the various time zones.
Have fun with it, but take advantage of the opportunities your sundial will give you to talk about God and time with your children.