Family Devotions are something I’ve wanted to make a regular spiritual staple for our family for some time now and when I heard about this book, I knew I just had to get a copy. Fifty-two weeks on, I’m so glad I did!
David Murray has crafted an easy to use, understandable and adaptable family devotional tool guiding families on an exploratory journey through many of the Bible’s key moments in a way that is engaging for children and not daunting for parents.
There were times where some additional explanation was helpful so that my children really grasped the big ideas, but I would definitely say that I can imagine this resource making family devotions accessible for families of all sizes, shapes and ages. Our five-year-old enjoyed the ‘exploring’ theme, listening to the ‘Our Map’ updates at the start of each week with interest. The theme of exploration also gave me an opportunity to develop a character called Egbert the Bible Explorer who brought his exploring hats (he always wore two at once) and binoculars and helped us explore the Bible together from time to time throughout the year. This also helped keep it fun and broke up the routine ever so slightly, which helped with young attention spans. When working through the daily content, with some help our five-year-old was able to answer the two daily questions based on the Bible reading too, and I’ve watched his prayers change from repetitive daily prayers to more rounded prayers that touch on the topic discussed. Meanwhile, our three-year-old has really enjoyed memorising quite a number of the ‘Snapshot Verses’ and it has been incredible to see him storing up these scriptural treasures in his mind, which I pray will also become treasures in his heart as he grows.
The illustrations at the beginning of each week are very modern and stylised, as seen on the cover, and sometimes prompted some interesting discussion opportunities to chat about key themes of the week ahead.
I must say, walking through the section on Song of Songs with young children did take some paraphrasing – not the easiest of tasks, though a good challenge for us as parents – but I am glad to be able to look back on the year and be thankful that our kids have not only grown in their knowledge of scripture and the basics of Biblical theology, but have hopefully also developed the beginnings of a daily spiritual discipline of Bible reading that will stay with them in the future.
To the author and illustrator (and publisher), I say thank you. To other parents, I say give it a go – I hope you too, along with your family members, will be blessed through Exploring the Bible Together.