Daily Devotions With Your Children
by Jim Cromarty
Family worship has a twofold aim. First and foremost it is to glorify, honour and worship God. Secondly, family worship is a time of instructing children in the fear and knowledge of our covenant God. As parents we have the first responsibility to train our children in God’s ways. A very good tradition in our family homes is family devotions around the table after the evening meal. These devotions usually consist of Bible reading, meditation and discussion, family prayer and Psalm singing. However, this does not come easy, and requires work and effort on the part of parents. In order to assist us in this task many devotional books have been written. A browse through Christian book stores will show many devotional books aimed at children and families. However, many will leave you feeling unsatisfied. A long “fluffy” feel-good story which is then connected to the suggested Bible reading; be a good girl or boy by doing this and that and God will be happy with you; or a book written with the mission of converting your children for Christ are examples of what is readily available.
The devotional book “The Lord of Glory” by Rev Jim Cromarty has been written to encourage and help Christian parents take seriously their responsibility to lead their families in daily family worship. The devotions throughout the whole book are focused upon the person and work of Jesus Christ our Saviour. For every day of the year there is a scripture passage to read, followed by a meditation. This meditation is an exposition or teaching about the passage. The message is clear and direct, as well as easy to follow and understand. It draws on many other parts of Scripture to expand the theme. At times the author may begin with a short personal story which then leads into the meditation. This story never takes over from the scripture passage, but serves as an illustration or a spring board for what follows. On occasion the author quotes from the Westminster Confession or Shorter Catechism – it’s not that difficult to find the parallel in our own confessions. Each daily entry takes two pages. At times, when the Bible passage is long or a discussion occurs during reading, it may take two days to cover one entry.
After the meditation there are some questions to discuss as a family. Some are quite simple but others can be discussed at different levels depending on the age of your children. For example the question “What does it mean to be born again? Read John 3:1-8 and Ezekiel 36:26-28 (page 27)” can be simply explained to a child in lower primary school but can be discussed in much more depth, also using our confessions, with the teenagers around the table. Another example: the question “God does not forgive the unrepentant – should we?” (page 423) resulted in quite a debate amongst our older (post highschool) children recently. Following the discussion questions is a two line meditation which is helpful in drawing together the discussion with family prayer. Finally, each day ends with a quotation or “wise words”.
Age appropriateness: This book is most suited to families with children in primary and highschool. However, older youth and parents will be edified by the meditations and discussions which follow. You may find yourself challenged by the teaching and discussions, which will also result in personal spiritual growth. The rich rewards are worth the effort.
Author: Rev Jim Cromarty is a retired ministered of the Presbyterian Church of Eastern Australia. His first devotional book “A Year with Your Children in the Bible” which I also recommend is sadly out of print. However, you may be able to pick up a secondhand copy off the internet.
Binding: This book gets a lot of use and as it is paperback it will look tacky quite soon. It is therefore a good idea to purchase a book cover at the same time to keep the book in good condition so it can be re-read in years to come.
Rev Cromarty wrote these meditations with the aim to glorify Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour. When used in your family this book will be a great blessing. As Rev George Bell writes in the introduction, “This book will help you discover more of the greatest living Person and lead you to the greatest activity of all – the worship of God.”
Review by I. Dekker