I squeeze devotions in three, maybe four days a week.
I homeschool, people. In my opinion, that’s pitiful. Making time to hide God’s word in their hearts is the most important task I’ve been given as a parent.
Who cares that they can read and write and recite the 50 states if they don’t have a solid grasp on biblical concepts and how to reach others for Christ?
(Okay, the School District cares and keeping the paddy wagon away ranks near the top of my list, so maybe prioritizing their daily tasks is a better choice of words?)
However, I recently stumbled upon something to help me deposit these truths on a daily basis. Saturday mornings we tune in to WRMB, a local Christian radio station, and the kids play Legos or Monopoly while listening to Adventures in Odyssey. So when I was asked if I’d like to review a book titled: Whit’s End Mealtime Devotional: 90 faith-building ideas your kids will eat up!—I jumped at the opportunity (and squealed a little). For the record, I’ve had other opportunities to review books and I’ve never taken them—mainly because I don’t have the time.
I can’t use this excuse any more. Not for this topic.
The first morning I pulled out the book and skimmed the small page.
This is it? I thought.
But, I started reading while the kids ate their organic fruit rings, and surprise, surprise—they sat still and listened to the mini-lesson. My nine-year-old even said, “We should do this every morning at breakfast, mom.”
Well, we do have devotions most mornings, but it’s after breakfast and tidying the kitchen and after I pay bills…and, well. Maybe that’s my problem. I’m making devotions too complicated and feel I need at least a half an hour to set aside when really, I can engage them with a lesson while we eat.
So, how else is this devotional different from others? Whit cleverly breaks down the lesson into five courses:
- Mealtime Prayer-Whit offers a suggested prayer.
- Appetizer– This short section is usually a series of two to three fun questions that whets their appetite, like: “If you had the power to do so, what food would you make appear before you right now?”
- Main Course– This is the *meat* of the message and gets the kids thinking about the theme and often follows it up with suggested verses to read. For instance, in the devotional “Not by Bread Alone,” Whit asks if they have “ever been really, really hungry? What was it like?” He then touches on the Bible story of when Jesus fasted for 40 days and 40 nights.
- Table Talk– This section drives the point home, helps everyone process what they learned, and gets them thinking how they can apply the lesson to their lives. For example, in the lesson “Gifts That Money Can’t Buy” two of Whit’s Table Talk questions asked, “What did the Samaritan expect to get back from the man he helped? Why does God ask us to give without expecting anything back?”
- Vitamins and Minerals—Whit concludes the devotional with a related verse.
And that’s it.
What I enjoyed most is that I could make the devotional as short or long as I needed. Most of the Bible studies were completed in five to 10 minutes while we ate; a few lingered for over 25 minutes, as time permitted.
Basically, these mini-devotionals turned our mealtime into an opportunity to discuss more important issues than why mom’s mashed potatoes or eggs or soup tasted a little off—or awesome—and what number we rated the meal.
(Yes, we do mealtime-ratings—which I encourage. I enjoy the feedback, until they rate the chemically enhanced mac and cheese a 10. How can I compete with lab-altered flavorings? I digress.)
I have no more excuses to skip devotions. The kids are now hearing a lesson every day, even if it it’s a small truth.
That’s my review. Sadly, I received no compensation for writing these nice things. No extravagant filet dinners at Ruth’s Chris or promises to appear on Oprah for this stellar write-up (said with a side of humor).
But, here’s a fun opportunity. Because I reviewed the book for Tyndale, I also get to give a FREE copy away.
If you’re interested in adding an easy-to-use devotional to your routine, you can do one of three things to enter:
1) Comment below and tell me your funniest mealtime moment with your child.
2) Share this post on Facebook (and link it to back to me using: http://www.facebook.com/DabneyHedegard for tracking purposes).
3) Tweet this post link, including my name @dabneyland.
Be sure to include your email or some way for me to contact you should your comment/share/tweet be chosen.
I’ll select the names of the top five funniest mealtime moments, and add them with all the shares/tweets (you can enter twice by both commenting and sharing), and then randomly choose the one winner from this list using RandomPicker.com.
Good luck, my fun friends!
By John Avery Whittaker with help from Crystal Bowman and Tricia Goyer
PS For those of you who subscribed to Dabneyland in the past, can I ask you a favor? When I upgraded this site, I lost all of my subscribers. Grrr. If you were a subscriber, will you please sign-up again? Pretty please. I miss you dearly. I can’t seem to put down the box of organic chocolates. My belly thanks you.