When our kids were younger, family devotions were often a challenge. Getting everyone to sit and have a meal and then do devotions together is itself a major task. When our kids were very young we had the problem of getting the little ones to sit still long enough. As the youngest got old enough to sit, the oldest started having her own school schedule that involved either being home late for dinner or driving her to her next event. Once we actually got everyone together and quiet we ran into the second problem: what to do.
Lora Copley and Elizabeth Vander Haagen have given us a solution to this problem with Teach Us to Pray: Scripture-Centered Family Worship through the Year. This book is a great resource for families. The daily devotional book is written for families with children of many ages and provides a thoughtful pattern, a liturgy, for daily family prayer. By using rituals and practices that follow the liturgical year children are introduced to God and to worship. The readings are short and child-friendly.
The book is useful in church ministry as well. Natalie Hart at Grace CRC in Grand Rapids uses Teach Us to Pray in children’s worship with third to fifth graders. Using the liturgies from the book, the leader selects the readings from the week’s entries for the worship time on Sunday. The kids arrive and distribute the parts. Then they read and lead their worship time: preparing, inviting, Bible reading, prepared prayer, and the blessing.
Natalie’s idea encouraged me to think of other places where this idea could be used, such as school classrooms and chapel programs; or in our homes, where instead of an adult reading and children listening, the leading of the liturgy can be shared with all around the table. I’m excited to see other places this book can be used with children and am grateful for this exciting resource!