Remember, O Lord Your Great Mercy

Psalm 25:6

She was bent over in pain that day, the result of years of unmet expectations and disappointments with life. It’s not that she had not tried. She had. Others, however, always made it to the finish line first, got the best deals, played the winning hands, found the better bargains. Some days she felt like she could win. She started the morning with anticipation, entered into the day with confidence, but before the evening came she sensed, once again, that defeat rested on her shoulders the way a bird rests on its perch, claws clutched confidently around the small round wooden swing, holding tight and never letting go. That’s what defeat felt like. That’s what discouragement looked like. It held on and never let go.

In the night, a Bible verse called out to her. Psalm 77:9 asked, “Has God forgotten to be merciful?” She answered with a loud, “Yes! He has pulled away all mercy from me!”

Morning came, and with it a fresh breeze from the north. It fell lightly on her shoulders, reminding her of summer days when she ran in the sand down the beach, giggling as the waves splashed at her feet. Happier times. More simple times. Days when her mother ran with her, holding her hand and bringing security.

“Has God forgotten to be merciful?” she called out to the breeze, as a yellow butterfly landed on her foot. She stood more still than she had been in days. Quiet. Pensive. Thoughtful.

“No,” the answer came from somewhere in the stillness. “God cannot forget to be merciful. Mercy moves everywhere God moves. Mercy steps everywhere He steps, moving softly but confidently, just as the butterfly now moves to rest on your shoulder. God cannot forget Mercy. He is Mercy. That’s His Name.”Miraculously, gloriously, she suddenly felt covered in love, bathed as if a sprinkler had been turned right on her. It was a Mercy Bath, and she laughed as she kissed the wind that fell on her face.

Life was not over for her. She stood up straight, grabbed confidence by the hand, and walked into a new day.

Women Need Each Other

Women need each other. We have a special kinship, a unique understanding, a tender concern for what each other goes through in this life. The nurturing quality that God so beautifully placed inside of us seems enhanced when another is hurting.  We want to be there for each other.  When we are with a dear friend, our problems don’t seem quite so tough, our pain quite so intense.

Cherish the friend with whom you can cry, laugh and be yourself.

Thank the friend you can call any time of the day or night.

Bless the one who never tells you what to do, but listens instead with a heart of love, helping you to think through the difficult choices you need to make.

Honor the friend with whom you are safe. You know she will never betray your confidence.

And then…pray for the friend around whom it is hard to be yourself.

Pray for the friend you know will get upset if you call her any time day or night.

Pray for the one who has never learned to listen to you, but wants to always tell you what you should do.

Pray for the friend who has betrayed you.

Ask God to forgive the one who has hurt you, made you cry, lied to you or about you, shunned you, broken your heart, dropped you as a friend, or crucified you with mean actions.  You might want to use words similar to what Stephen and Jesus said. “Forgive her. I think she probably did know what she was doing. But, forgive her anyway.”


The Sweet Scent of Forgiveness


How do we know the right time to go to someone and ask them to forgive us? I don’t want to go to an angry and dissatisfied person and ask forgiveness if God has not prompted me with his perfect timing. Only He knows when that person’s heart is ready to accept my apology. Only God knows if that person’s discontent has softened enough to hear my request for forgiveness.

Prayer paves the way for forgiveness to happen. When we allow the Holy Spirit to have His way in our lives and when we are in communion with Him about broken relationships, you can know that He will let you know when and how this is to take place

We make forgiveness out to be so hard, when actually, it is easier than you might think. The thought of having to go to that person produces a larger than life scenario. In our own strength, we dread it. We fret over it. We put it off. We wonder how that person will react. We question what people might think of us if the confrontation does not turn out as you hope. What if he/she has no plans to forgive you? What if this person laughs at you or even yells at you, calls you a name and tells you to go away? What then? Well, you do it anyway, but only if you feel God has told you to.

To ask for forgiveness does not mean that this person will change, hug you, smile at you and say, “Of course.” It might mean that he will turn away from you, say something mean, or laugh at your attempt. That doesn’t matter. If God has told you to, then you do it anyway, leaving the results to Him and accepting the fact that you might never know how it all turned out. Your part is to be obedient; God’s part is to receive your obedience.

Making Your Quiet Time a Sabbath Unto the Lord

The Jews have a word for rest: SABBATH. God commands us in Ex. 20:8 – 11: “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shall you labor and do all your work, But the seventh day is a sabbath day of the LORD your God; in it you shall not work…. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day and made it holy.”

For the Jews, sabbath was and is a pulling away from daily life and withdrawing into the refuge of God to spend time with Him, Who is our real home. When refreshed and rested, they are then prepared to go back out into world.   The Sabbath is a time for sacred rest.

When the Israelites were taken to Babylon, sabbath became even more important because there was no longer a temple in which to worship. Ancient rabbis taught that when the Scriptures say God rested on the seventh day, it really was saying that God created “menuha” – rest, tranquility, peace, a healing stillness. The rabbis’ ideas may not be accurate, but those words DO describe time spent alone with Jesus.

As one writer stated, the sabbath is “a time to remember who we are [in terms of WHOSE we are], remember what we know, and to taste the gift of the Spirit and eternity.” We might take note of the traditional Jewish sabbath in order to approach our quiet times in a fresh way.

  1. The Sabbath begins at a set time (sundown) – there is no waiting until everything is “done.” It is one day, but ours could be any unit of time we choose. Sabbath is a time for us to surrender to the Lord, to give ourselves anew to Him.
  1. Deposit all electronic stuff, keys, list of all the things undone, etc., in a Sabbath box to turn off the world; God will hold these things until the end of Sabbath. In prayer, give God everything that we normally “hold” – our loved ones, our jobs, our responsibilities – so we are free to be with Him.
  1. Light a candle – begin to let the world go. Maybe really light a candle to declare that the next moments will be different from the ordinary.   For many years, until God had done some deep healing in me, I could NOT just enter into quiet with God – too distracted in mind but also guilt present. However, I COULD sing praises to Him long enough for my eyes to be turned from me to all He is. Then a grateful heart replaced the guilt, and I could read the Bible and pray.

One author writes: Our willingness to rest depends on what we believe we will find there. At rest, we MEET HIM. So in rest, we find God – but we can also be reluctant to quiet ourselves for fear of meeting the darkness within or of meeting a demanding God.   We can have a fear of quiet – that if we stop and listen, we will hear our emptiness or suffering or sadness, so we keep moving.

  1. If you are a parent, lay hands on each child to pray blessing on them.   We can do the same in prayer.
  1. Share a meal in thanksgiving. Focus on our abundance in God and not on our lack.
  1. Read Scripture and let it work on you/pray/sing/walk outside in silence. We can do the same. The key = to listen for His voice.
  1. Sabbath ends at sunset when three stars are visible. The Sabbath-ending ceremony = Havdalah.
  • Sit around Havdalah candle
  • Be silent for a bit
  • Each shares the best part of their Sabbath and what they look forward to
  • Pass cup of spices, representing the delicious Sabbath meal as well as remembering that as we re-enter the world, we are taking along the fragrance of God

As we prepare to leave our Sabbath rest with God, thank Him for how He’s touched us and for His promise to keep changing us until the day of Jesus Christ. (Phil. 1: 6)

As He changes us, we can become a kind of sabbath for others – a safe place, where they can meet God and find His rest, the rest of acceptance and peace.

A Call to Prayer-Reflecting on Daniel 1-6

A Call to Prayer – Reflecting on Daniel 1 – 6

When Daniel was a young man, the southern kingdom of Judah was taken captive by Babylon in the first year of King Nebuchadnezzar’s reign. Daniel and his friends were taken from Jerusalem and brought to Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar had cleverly chosen the brightest and the best of the nations he had conquered, so that those nations would have no leaders to start a revolt against him. The king tried to change the identities of Daniel and his friends by giving them new Babylonian names based on false gods and by training them in his royal court for three years in the Babylonian language, culture, and literature. But Daniel and his friends did not forget the One True God. They continued to pray to Him AND continued to pray for each other.

A year later, Nebuchadnezzar had a dream that disturbed him very greatly. He called his advisors together and asked them to interpret the dream, but he would not tell them anything about the dream. He further threatened their lives and their property if they could not tell him the dream and its interpretation. This, of course, was impossible even for the wisest of the men. Daniel interceded and met with the king. He asked Nebuchadnezzar to give him time that he might tell the king the dream and the interpretation. Daniel returned to his home, asked his companions to pray, and sought the Lord. Daniel knew that only the One True God could fulfill this impossible request.

And God did just that in a night vision to Daniel. When he returned to the king, Daniel explained that all the advisors were not capable of telling the king his dream, because only the God in heaven could reveal this secret. What God had shown Daniel saved his life and the lives of all the other advisors.

Because of the faithful witness of Daniel and his friends and their continued prayers to God, King Nebuchadnezzar acknowledged God as a “God of gods and a Lord of kings and a revealer of mysteries.”   Later, after Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were thrown into a fire but came out of the flames unharmed, the king said further, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who has sent His angel and delivered His servants who put their trust in Him, violating the king’s command, and yielded up their bodies so as not to serve or worship any god except their own God. Therefore, I decree that any people, nation, or tongue that speaks anything offensive against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego shall be torn limb from limb and their houses reduced to rubbish….”

Daniel served 70-80 years in Babylon, under multiple kings.   Because God gave him such favor with the kings, others grew jealous and plotted against him, resulting in his being thrown into a lions’ den. But when the lions did not eat him, although they were hungry and he spent the entire night with them, King Darius decreed “in all the dominion of my kingdom men are to fear and tremble before the God of Daniel, for He is a living God and His kingdom…will not be destroyed.”

Daniel and his friends remained faithful – even in grave danger – and God used them to touch whole kingdoms with the Truth of the living and reigning God. Daniel and his friends were placed in Babylon by God. His story is much like the story of Queen Esther, whom God put in a palace in Persia “for such a time as this.” And today, each believer around the world has been placed by God. And like the Babylonian culture in Daniel’s time, most cultures will push us to take on the values of the world. But if we are faithful and call on the Lord in prayer, we too can make a difference in our country and in the lives of those who come to our country.

After 9/11, people in New York City and in all of America, and even some around the world, were more open to the Gospel.   The Lord is always reaching out, and this is particularly true in dangerous times. Perhaps people in other countries, as well as here, will be more open now that our security has again been attacked. And if so, that will include Muslims, and yes, even some of the radical ones.

My mom, who lived until she was 97 and died a few years ago, once said, “I don’t think the Church did a very good job of taking Jesus to the Muslim world.” I am reminded that we need to see with the eyes of God what He sees and would like to do.   That can only happen in prayer.

Already we can see the Lord at work drawing many Muslims to himself. He does this in various ways; but one thing is certain, Muslims are coming here and to many other countries, and we need to pray and be ready to share Jesus. Here are some examples.

IHOPE ministry, , has reached many Muslims in this country and abroad. IHOPE was founded by an angry young man who truly hated Muslims before God changed him. He now has a ministry to help Americans learn to share Jesus with the Muslims already here. IHOPE also ministers to Syrian refugees in other parts of the world, befriending them and teaching them English. They report many coming to know the Lord.

One of my church’s pastors is from Cambodia. You can read his story at After the war in Southeast Asia, he was placed in a refugee camp. He was a non-believer when he witnessed that the only people who came to help and serve were Christians. In his powerful testimony, he reports that the prayers and ministry of those Christians led him to Christ.

The Wall Street Journal reported on October 23, 2015 (page A11), that gypsies who have become Christians are enthusiastically helping Muslim refugees arriving in their country of Croatia.   Gypsies, also called Roma, are traditionally poor and marginalized in whatever countries they reside. Yet these Croatian Roma Christians are “involved [with Muslim refugees] daily, serving food, helping medical teams, playing with children, and praying.” As one Roma believer stated, “…this is an opportunity to show the love of Christ and to serve them. We can’t do that in the countries they’re coming from.”

Just as in Daniel’s day, God still reaches out through dreams. Joel 2:28 reminds us that a time is coming when the Lord will pour out His spirit; and old men shall dream dreams, and young men see visions. That time is now. There are reports that Muslims in countries closed to the Gospel are coming to the Lord through dreams and are faithfully standing for Him, even though it means imprisonment and even death.

We need to STAND with these fellow believers in prayer! WHY? Because our prayers bring light into the dark places of our world.

I believe that God would have us pray mightily for our Christian brothers and sisters world-wide as they encounter and minister to refugees and also pray for each other, that God would give us boldness to stand in faith in our cultures, sharing the Truth of God’s love and Jesus’ sacrifice by our words and acts of love. We need to ask the Holy Spirit to go before to open the hearts of Muslim refugees and other non-believers to hear and receive the God Who is Love and Who died for us all. God wants our prayers for the terrorists, too, that some might be saved.

This is a Call to Prayer. It is simply an invitation to pray for Christians around the world, as well as for each other here in the U.S., to be strengthened by God to share the love of Jesus Christ wherever God has placed us and for the Holy Spirit to open hearts as we do.

Won’t you join in this Call to Prayer?

Wrapped in Such an Ordinary Package – A Christmas Story

Wrapped in Such an Ordinary Package

A Christmas Story By BJ Funk

Because God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit always have had complete reign above the earth in a land called heaven, then it is reasonable to assume that the kingdom of heaven was and is where the Trinity lived and reigned. Wherever the Triune God was, then that’s where the Kingdom of heaven was and is. That lasted all throughout time from Genesis through Malachi, and then through four hundred years of silence before the New Testament.

In that land called heaven, the Son, Jesus, stood up one day, gave the Father and the Spirit a temporary hug and good-bye kiss, opened His hand to receive the tiny seed His Father placed in it, and made a bold, gigantic decision, all in obedience to the Father. The Son stepped off of the glittering soft streets, outside of the abundance of rainbow colors that dripped wonderful smells of beauty, became small inside the womb of a young woman, and moved into the sin, dirt and humanity of earth. Upon first opening his eyes, he saw darkness. He took his first breath and smelled stench. He opened his ears and heard animals oinking and braying and screeching. This was His temporary new home. He already knew the length would be thirty three years.

And, so on an ordinary night in an ordinary town in an ordinary and rough cave used for a stable, surrounded by ordinary animals, and two very ordinary parents, God became man and this world of ours would never be the same again.

Before the shepherds were given this celestial message by the angels, those very ordinary shepherds stood on a very ordinary hillside, dressed in quite ordinary clothes and would now be sent to find a baby that was anything but ordinary. These shepherds reeked with strong, offensive odors, carrying always on their person the smells of their job. Smells of sheep. But on that night, they were the ordinary wrapped in royalty. Later, when Jesus began His public ministry, He selected as His disciples several who carried on their person the smells of their job. Fishermen, whose clothes reeked with the smells of raw fish. But, when Jesus chose them, they were the ordinary wrapped in royalty. It’s a trademark of God, accepting those others feel are unacceptable. He does the same for us. Aren’t we glad you and I don’t have to clean up before He invites us into kingdom?

God seldom does what we expect Him to do. And so it was to ordinary shepherds that God assigned the job of locating this extraordinary baby boy who was God Incarnate.

Jesus rarely comes where we expect Him; He appears where we least expect Him, and always in the most illogical situations. On this very ordinary day in this ordinary world, God has a message for ordinary people like you and like me. His message is “I love you. No matter what your sins or transgressions in 2016 or before that, I love you and I forgive you. I reach out especially to the poor, the hurting, the lonely, the unsuccessful, and I say, “Come unto me all ye who are burdened and heavy laden. I have come to bring you peace.”

Today, because of God’s extraordinary reach to ordinary people, you and I are caught up in the wonder of seeing royalty wrapped in ordinary humanity, lying in a manger and saying to you tonight, “I came for the ordinary. I died for the ordinary. Never let anyone make you feel that you are not worthy of my love.”

Thanks be to God. Because of Jesus, ordinary people like us will forever be wrapped in royalty. AMEN

Coping with Change at Christmas

Coping with Change at Christmas

Mary Lambrecht, M.S. LMFT

Dennis the Menace is a cute little boy whose behavior annoys his parents and especially his neighbor, Mr. Wilson. But there is one thing you can count on in the cartoon-world of Dennis the Menace; his age never changes! Today, as well as five, ten or even forty years ago, he was still mischievous…and he was still 5 years old. However, unlike the consistent age of Dennis the Menace, change is commonplace in family dynamics. Many people agree that changes in family matters are difficult in general, but oftentimes the Christmas season magnifies these difficulties. I recently spoke with a woman who had weathered many changes in the past year. Her only son had died, her own health was declining, her only daughter seemed emotionally detached from her (most likely a grief reaction) and financial issues frightened her. At one point in our conversation, she turned to me and said; “But I do feel Him helping me.”

Mary, the mother of Jesus, upon hearing from the angel Gabriel that she was to give birth to Jesus, was also coping with change. Mary’s response to these life-altering circumstances, gives us a model of how to help ourselves when changes unsettle us or even terrify us. I have used the letters in the word ‘COPE’ to serve as a kind of acrostic tool to describe some of the ways Mary responded, and then as a guide to apply to our own changes:

C: Consider: Consider examples from the past where God has proved his help and faithfulness in your trials and problems. Upon learning of her pregnancy, Mary said to her cousin Elizabeth; “For He who is mighty has done great things for me.” (Luke 1:49)

O: Opportunities: Seek opportunities for fellowship with others who can encourage and support you. For three months, Mary stayed in the home of her cousin Elizabeth, who was six months pregnant with John the Baptist. (Luke 1: 39-56).

P: Praise: Give praise and thanksgiving to God for the future. God will use these present challenges to bless the future that He has planned for you. Elizabeth said to Mary; “Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord.” (Luke 1: 45). One of Mary’s responses to Elizabeth was: “For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed…And His mercy is on those who fear Him.” (Luke 1: 48 & 50).

E: Every: Bring every feeling, every concern and fear to God. Mary did not try to hide her feelings from the angel Gabriel; “Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary,…” (vs. 30). Mary was also honest with Gabriel about a key question/concern she had: “How can this be, since I do not know a man?” (Luke 1:34).

Remember that your changes are no surprise to God. Before you were formed in the womb He knew you (Psalm 139: vs. 13 & 14), and He knew what changes would be part of your life. If Christmas brings more change than sameness, His love is big enough to carry you through.

Compliments of Practical Family Living, Inc.

P.O. Box 1676, Appleton, WI 54912

Sacredness in Sexuality by Mary Lambrecht

Sacredness in Sexuality by Mary Lambrecht, M.S. LMFT

As a young girl, I was obsessed with farms, animals, and particularly horses. On my fourth birthday I became the proud owner of a horse named “Gallop.” Gallop’s head was blue vinyl and his body a wooden stick. I had picture books of horses and riders racing through fields, so Gallop and I ran circles around our house, his mane made of string flopping happily. Then at age ten, I rode my first real horse. We cantered through big, real fields and I grasped real, coarse, mane-hair. Thereafter, when I rode Gallop the stick-horse, the larger, real horse experience was foremost in my mind, informing my imagination and influencing my plans to ride that big, real horse soon again.

This story illustrates what C.S. Lewis, in Weight of Glory calls “Transposition.” Transposition, according to Lewis, is a higher system informing a lower system, or a richer medium informing a poorer medium. Just as the big real horse informed my pretend horsemanship more powerfully than Gallop the stick horse or my picture book did, Lewis challenges us to allow higher, Godly ideals to inform our lower, earthly experiences. Examples Lewis gives of transposition include a cathedral informing an architect’s drawing, or an orchestral symphony informing a piano player’s etude. The point of all this, Lewis surmises, is that the lower medium can be only fully understood and appreciated, if we know the higher medium (Weight of Glory, p. 61).

So how do these thoughts relate to sexuality?

God’s true plan for sexuality also stems from a higher medium (God’s love) informing a lower medium (man’s expression of this love through sexuality). Sometimes this order is reversed. When we position sexuality as the higher system, thereby putting love for the other as secondary, and also minimizing the concept of God’s love, we rob ourselves of the awe, mystery and God-intended plan for sexuality. As Lewis points out: “The brutal man can never by analysis find anything but lust in love” (p. 64). Similarly, in his book, A Final Word on Love, Bruce Kokko states: “The euphoria we have in God’s Love supersedes all others, and, what’s more, lasts forever” (p. 15). Lewis’ concept of transposition is fully represented in the apostle John’s words: “We love because He first loved us” (I John 4:19).

What does it practically mean then to have the love of God (the higher medium) inform our love (the lower medium), and more specifically the expression of that love through sexuality? Rob Bell points out in his book, Sex God, that as a bride and groom give themselves sexually to one another after they are married, the couple’s true power is derived from this exclusivity (p. 139).

Bell points out that in the ancient Jewish culture, couples were married under the chuppah: a wedding canopy that symbolized the holy covering of God. The chuppah further represented protection, mercy, and grace. Bell further states “when sex is taken out from under the chuppah, when it’s isolated from its God-intended context, it loses its mystery” (p. 142). God compares this marital mystery with Christ loving and giving himself up for the church, “holy and blameless” (Ephesians 5: 25-29). The higher (Christ and the church) informs the lower (the union of husband and wife). When we bring sexuality out from under God’s protective plan (marriage), we lose touch with the higher joy and purpose for sexuality. As Bell bluntly states: “When you take sex out from under the chuppah, all you are left with is mechanics” (p. 141).

Society’s sexual messages are often disrespectful of sexuality as a sacred, holy expression between husband and wife. But the lower message of sex within today’s society cannot overpower the higher message of God’s original plan for sex. When we risk reaching for God’s higher purposes in life, when we place our wooden stick horses in the corner, and climb onto real galloping horses, sacredness influences sexuality. Husband and wife become one flesh…a profound, holy mystery (Ephesians 5: 31 & 32).


Weight of Glory by: C.S. Lewis

SexGod by: Rob Bell

A Final Word on Love by: Bruce J. Kokko


Compliments of Practical Family Living, Inc.

P.O. Box 1676, Appleton, WI 54912 (920) 720-8920

The Peace Lily’s Reminder

Do you have a Peace Lily in your home? This beautiful green plant seems to have only two requirements: proper lighting and water. I have three in my home now, one on my kitchen and dining room table and a larger one by a window in my living room. They ask so little of me that I almost neglect them until I realize their leaves are beginning to wilt. A good, full drink of water always seems to take care of that. My Peace Lilies keep a surprise from me, and I am always taken back when I pass one of my plants and see a long-stemmed white teardrop flower. That’s when I think to myself, “Well, where did you come from and how come I hadn’t noticed you before?”

The reason I hadn’t noticed it is because it’s the Peace Lily’s prerogative to bring out its white surprise whenever it desires. I like to think that the little white flower has its reasons, that on that particular day the Peace Lily wants to remind me of the peace we need in our nation, in our communities, in our churches and in our homes. I also like to think that perhaps the teardrop shape has a purpose, too.

Sometimes, peace comes through tears. We might have to change something, leave someone, take someone in, face our giants of intimidation, or repent and cleanse inner grief or sin before the tears can stop and new life begins.

Take a lesson from the Peace Lily. Your life does not have to continue in bitterness, unforgiveness, turmoil and stress. Don’t give up. Bloom a white flower in your life as you shed tears that will eventually bring you peace.

Faith of Our Children: A Model for Home Devotions

Mary Lambrecht, M.S. LMFT

“Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep. And if I die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take.” This was the childhood prayer that I dutifully recited each night before bed. It brought mixed emotions to me. How could I fall asleep, trusting God to “keep” my soul (which had connotations of safety) but then also worry if I might die in my sleep? And yet this prayer, along with others that my mother taught me, helped to form a habit of including God in my everyday life. As Christian parents, the mandate to “train up a child in the way he should go….” (Proverbs 22:6) can be both daunting and exciting. While raising three daughters, I remember sometimes feeling worried if my husband and I were teaching them Biblical concepts in such a way that would be applicable to their lives. Recently I asked my now grown daughters about their perceptions of our family’s devotions. They were kind and honest about what worked …and what failed! Following are some thoughts, ideas and suggested resources on home devotions for children in the early elementary school ages.

1. Consistency and brevity are important. In our zeal to raise Godly children in an increasingly ungodly world, we can forget some practical parenting realities. Twenty to thirty minutes might be a recommended time frame. Keeping home devotions at the same time each day (e. g., after the dinner meal) or on the same day of the week helps children with developing core concepts around predictability and trust.

2. Children’s Bibles, short storybooks based on the Bible, and stories with practical, moral messages can be effective resources. Children can take turns picking the story to be read by the parent. When the child can read, have her read some of the resource being used. This builds her confidence and helps her to hide the Word in her heart (Psalm 119:11).

3. Parents can follow the reading time with reflective questions. “What stood out to you about this story?” or “does this story remind you of anything that happened to you?” suggest to children that their perceptions are valued, and that Biblical concepts relate to real life. Questions that merely draw out facts on people, places, or historical Biblical details, (i.e. “what are the names of the twelve tribes of Israel?”) need to be used with discernment. My youngest adult daughter stated to me: “I had to concentrate so hard on remembering the names of everything in the Old Testament, so I wouldn’t feel stupid when the questions were asked. Sometimes, I missed the point of the whole thing!” Whoops!!!

4. Include prayer time. Encouraging young children to “tell Jesus something that happened today” or “tell Jesus how you feel about ______” are some ways to help children articulate their heart-felt thoughts and feelings.

5. The late Fred Rogers, from the television show “Mister Roger’s Neighborhood” shares in his book The Simple Faith of Mister Rogers that he once broke a fig bar in half and said to the camera: “I wish all of you could eat this with me.” It then struck him how in a symbolic way, he was sharing the Eucharist with his young audience. Our families can also symbolically share the Eucharist together. Whether devotions incorporates a family meal, or pizza or popcorn… “breaking bread” together can build spiritual bonding.

6. As illustrated in #3, mistakes happen in family devotions and children may later tease their parents about them… but they survive them! God teaches parents through family devotions too. He doesn’t require perfection from us…just a heart that desires to please Him.

Ask the Lord to show you His ideas for your unique family devotional plan. As their loving Creator, He knows how your children’s minds and hearts will best grasp His ways. He will guide you. He will also show us, even in our adult parental role, how we are beloved children of God (I John 3: 1 & 2) and that as we parent our children, He will also parent us.


1. A Children’s Bible. Check with your local Christian bookstore or for suggestions and recommendations.

2. David and I Talk To God, Psalms for Children by Elspeth Campbell Murphy

3. Poems and Prayers for the Very Young by Martha Alexander

4. The New Bible in Pictures for Little Eyes by Kenneth N. Taylor (Moody)

5. The Book of Virtues by William J. Bennett (Simon and Schuster)

Compliments of Practical Family Living, Inc.