Pastor’s November 2017 Message
How Does the Christian Family Do Family
Devotions (when they have no idea
how to do devotions)?
The Lord gives His Word of life. Apart from His Word, there is no life. This is life to the family. His Word heals the family, binding them together. Gathered to His Word, parents and children are built up in His peace, renewed in the faith, kept in His comfort so that they then comfort one another.
Especially in our hurried world where families can be so fractured, where husband, wife, and children are so often devoid of knowledge of each other or even compassion, should we not easily see the need for families—our families—to be joined in oneness by the Word of Life?
But how will the Christian family gather around the Word? It may seem much easier said than done. Especially if the family has not been in the practice of regularly gathering to His Word, it can be much easier to talk about “family devotions” than actually to do them. (What we do not regularly practice soon becomes foreign, unfamiliar.)
So, how is the family to gather around the Word?
The Small Catechism may be of great help. This makes it easy. Take a look at pages 32-33 in the front (the section titled, “Daily Prayers”). You will find the form for family devotions, along with appropriate prayers for morning and evening. Just follow the simple structure given.
Using this structure relieves us of the pressure of always trying to come up with something new and exciting; it lets us instead count on a sure, consistent structure to guide us in the hearing and praying of our Lord’s Word. (If you can’t easily find the Small Catechism at home, one can be easily ordered by checking with the bookstore in the fellowship hall or in the Church office.)
So, how is it Actually Done?
This, then, is how one may do family devotions:
1. Remember Your Baptism
Always remember your Baptism! It is by Baptism that you have a Lord—you are bound to Christ Jesus so that His death belongs to you. [ROMANS 6:3-6] So, rejoice in your Baptism, and every day consider Baptism’s comfort that you and your children belong to this gracious Lord. For the Lord who gave you His Name in Baptism is He who gathers you and your family to His Word of life, binding your family together in His Name.
2. Set the Time for Gathering
This may seem difficult, but do we not set times? Bedtime, supper time, homework time? If we set a time for supper, how much more vital for our families is the feeding of life itself, the Word of our Lord?
3. Gather Together
Assemble all around the table, or in the living room, or wherever is the designated place appropriate to hear the Lord’s Word. Then turn to the form for Morning Prayer or Evening Prayer and go through the form. (Even if this seems awkward at first, it won’t for long—and remember how even catching a baseball can feel awkward until we practice it.) Along with each Morning Prayer or Evening Prayer, the family may also go over one or two questions in the Catechism. In this way, the whole family is learning our Lord’s doctrine throughout the year.
4. Have Fun! Rejoice!
This is not an unwanted task. It is the welcome comfort of our Lord’s Word. This is time for the thankfulness of gifts bestowed, for the rejoicing of the family made whole, bound together at the Name of the Lord, for the good cheer of love from the Lord and to each other. This time around the Lord’s Word is life, life given abundantly. [JOHN 10:10]
As our Lord gathers us to his gift of Word and Prayer, he is building us up in his gifts. He is building us up in the gift of hearing our intercessions for nation, neighbor, family, and church. In the gift of binding our families together in the unity of his grace. And in the gift of teaching us his doctrine; that is, of teaching us of all that he is bestowing upon us in his Word and Sacraments.
In the Name of Jesus,
Rev. Warren W. Graff
June 28, 2018
June 01, 2018