Why are Family Devotions so Hard?

One of my commitments as a husband and father this new year is to get my family together for regular devotional and worship time after dinner. But here’s the thing, as a guy with a pastoral background who has preached sermons on a regular basis since 2007, I can tell you that I find it harder to do family worship in the home than I do to preach in front of 200+ people on any given Sunday. Why is that? Here I offer seven reason why I think men in particluar struggle when it comes to leading the family in the Word and in worship.

  1. Many men don’t know their Bible, and/or don’t have the resources to help them know their Bible, and/or don’t know where or how to go about getting those resources. I’ve had several conversations over the years with good guys who love Jesus but admit that they have a hard time getting into the Word on a regular because they simply felt overwhelmed by the task and didn’t know where to begin or what resources might be useful. If husband/dad isn’t getting into the Word, it is unlikely his family is being effectively discipled.
  2. Leading family devotions takes time to prepare. Many of us struggle to make time for prayer and regularly Bible reading by ourselves in light of work and extra-curricular activities. How much more so when it comes to engaging in the activity as a family?
  3. Many men simply don’t know how to lead a family devotion because they’ve never seen it done and don’t know where or how to begin. As a result they may start out with a grand plan and the best of intentions but unfortunately it is so complicated that there is no chance of enduring success, or worse, they never get started at all.
  4. Another difficulty is the question of timing. When is the best time for the whole family? First thing in the morning? After breakfast? Sometime during dinner? This is all the more difficult when other family members have various commitments making it hard to eat together, let alone worship together.
  5. Perfectionism. Some men don’t get started or keep up because if they can’t do perfectly, they won’t do it at all. “If I can’t teach like Pastor Whats-his-face then whats the point?”
  6. Often times general busyness gets in the way. Rushing out the door for work, or rushing to get chores done and the kids in bed takes precedence over slowing down a few minutes to spend time with the Lord as a family.
  7. My family know my sin. When I preach for 200+ people, most of the congregation don’t know the kind of week I’ve had but my wife and kids do. They’ve seen the sin, they’ve seen the folly, they’ve seen the hypocrisy. The hardest thing to do is lead family worship when everyone knows what’s gone on that day: the good, the bad, and the ugly.

What about you? Why do you struggle to lead family worship? What holds you back? What has helped you succeed or make progress?

In my next few posts, I’ll offer some reasons why family worship is so important, some tips for making family worship more do-able, and offer some resources to help you along the way.

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