The sights & sounds of family devotions

Christians have grown far too comfortable with social media’s call-and-response liturgies, many of which you can find in your help menu filed under the subject heading “Pride & Envy.” As such, I’d hate for a recent allusion to family devotions to (a) feed my animal pride or (b) leave others with a false impression of our family life.

So in the interest of creating a more complete picture of Merritt family devotions¹ I include here a sample list of the sights & sounds experienced during these holy times:

  1. Dad: call for family devotions
  2. Kids: pre-devotion moaning & groaning²
  3. Sit down!
  4. Sit up!
  5. Sit still!
  6. Be quiet!
  7. Pay attention!
  8. {icy glare from parent(s)}
  9. Leave that alone
  10. Leave your sister alone!
  11. {post-devotion lecture from parent}
  12. Put that away
  13. Take the blanket off your head
  14. Speak up
  15. Speak clearly
  16. Put your feet down
  17. Focus!
  18. Dad/Mom: post-devotion discipline (infrequent but sometimes necessary)
  19. Wife: offer much-needed advice to husband on how to communicate with his kids
  20. Dad/Mom: wonder if the kids are “getting it”³

¹My better half reminds me that while our devotion time is primarily for spiritual formation, social graces are acquired during these times, too (i.e. sitting still, giving someone else your attention, conversing, etc).

²‾³Their complaining and/or apparent confusion may signal the need for a change in our communication. More likely, it’s a reminder that kids don’t know what’s best for them. Be a responsible parent and feed them like their life depends on it (Deut 8:3; Jn 6:48, 50).

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Author: Jonathan P. Merritt

Happily married father of six. Associate pastor for education at Edgewood Baptist Church (Columbus, GA). Good-natured contrarian and theological Luddite. A student of one book.

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