- 1 x beautiful wife, preferably a California-girl. This prayer was shallow, immature, and embarrassingly Beach Boys, I know. But God said yes anyway. So check.
- 1 x huddle of doting children. Check, check, and 7 weeks ago, check again. (All 3 got their mom’s looks too. Another boon from God).
- 1 x Wheaton Labrador named Spurgeon, so that even the worst day would come with at least one obliviously happy grin. Check.
And in the IMAX theater of my mind’s eye, family devotion scenes involved my little flock nestled at my feet as I expounded God’s word, Bible on lap, like a daddy bird dropping juicy spiritual truths into the cheeping mouths of eager little minds.
Yeah, we’re not there yet.
But we are edging closer than we were before because… my wife had a plan.
Devo’s were getting drowned in a swirling flood of diaper-change > bath > PJs > spaghetti-dinner > bath-again > clean PJs > bedtime-milk > spill > more clean PJs > drive-by prayers with summarized Samson stories as daddy rushes out to teach a “real Bible study” to his “other flock.”
Why? Because I’m a slacker. My spineless lack of discipline was the only problem. Not the spilled milk or spaghetti (though, we did learn that bath time before dinner was a rookie error).
Then one day God said “Enough.” No visions or dreams or angels…well, kinda: my wife was the perfect, gracious, help-meet suitable who assisted me in re-calibrating my priorities.
She did it without nagging like a dripping tap, which is known in Vietnam and Proverbs as a torture technique.
She didn’t hint, like we’re playing some sort of subtle marriage sign-language game I’m supposed to decipher.
She did it without making me feel like I was slacker, though I was being one.
She didn’t talk to me about it in the midst of one of the busy moments of life.
She made a date, some condensed milk coffee, and asked if I would be ok with her telling the kids each night that after dinner and bath, and before bedtime, part of the new routine would include family worship?
The Holy Spirit did the rest.
Next week, I’ll share what we now do and which material we use for family devotions each night—I want to get one week consistent before I do! I’m still figuring this out.
But for now…
If you are a dad:
This is your job. It’s the man’s prerogative and privilege to lead his family in their spiritual growth. God uses your help-meet wife as a back-up plan for when you are consistently dropping the ball in being the leader you need to be. If your wife has been hinting, asking, even nagging. Don’t resent her for it. If you would just man-up your wife won’t need to lead you. Just take it as a reminder from God, and get on it.
If you are a mom:
I know you want your husband to lead in this. Perhaps you’ve been praying, perhaps you’ve been leaving cryptic clues embedded in your late-night chats. Maybe you have resigned yourself to do it instead of him. All these things make the man feel like a loser (he may well be one, but feeling like one doesn’t encourage change. I know it’s weird. Make him feel like a man, and he is more likely to want to act like one. If he thinks you consider him spineless, he may well give up trying. He doesn’t want an uphill battle. He wants to make you proud of him. So make that easy.
But it can be helpful for you to help him initiate family devotions, but suggesting how to work it into the routine. Kids thrive on routine, like little Pavlovian pets. But so do grown-ups. If your husband is a believer, and you guard the routine, the rest might just fall into place without any water-torture techniques or psychological warfare.
If you are a kid:
Share this link on Facebook. Your parents probably monitor your account while you’re sleeping, so they’ll get it then.
Moms, Dads, leave a comment of how you go the routine to work. Next week we’ll hit technique.