Learning How To Have Personal Devotions

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One of the things that I’ve been wondering how to do for a while is to teach the older children how to have devotions and pray. I want them to have not only a good familiarity with the narrative of the Bible but also learn how to dig into it for the meat behind the stories. The reading program we use (Rod and Staff) uses Bible stories for the first four years of reading so I felt like between that and our morning prayer before school they were getting the Bible narrative pretty well. The problem was how to teach them to study the Word and pray before they did anything else in the morning.

Part of our morning routine is that everyone has tea and is quiet in their rooms for about an hour (gives Mama time to wake up, and gets my introverts some essential alone time at the beginning of their day). When Buggle learned to read really well I started giving him a passage of Scripture to read, before he moved on to a storybook or Legos, but I felt like he was just reading and not really learning to dig into Scripture.

Then I read a review (I think it was on Raising Arrows) of Grapevine Studies Bible study books. Mouse was also reading well enough to read her Bible in the morning, but she is more hands-on than Buggle, so just reading was really not working for her.

The Grapevine books are wonderful! Basically for each “lesson” the child has the opportunity to draw four pictures about what they read. Each lesson has a two-page spread with two sections on each page and a prompting phrase or question for each section (Where did Jesus pray?). The children draw a sketch (they sometimes add words or copy a verse as well) of their answer to the question. Most of the questions are fact based but some of them ask them to draw inferences from what they’ve read.

I try to give minimal guidance as I really want the children to understand that they can dig into Scripture themselves. I do help them find the passage for the day’s lesson (they are doing an overview of the New Testament), and help with the occasional word. I also will sometimes ask a few questions to help them figure out what they’ve learned from the passage, but often times all I do is find the reading for them and they do the rest! Every once and while I flip through their books to see what they’re learning and I’m often pleasantly surprised by how much depth they have been able to get from their reading and also communicate via a drawing.

Here are a few examples:

This is a typical two-page spread for a lesson.

This is a typical two-page spread for a lesson.

Most of the time they just use pencil, but some mornings the colors come out as well..

Most of the time they just use pencil, but some mornings the colors come out as well..

I do find it interesting how the personalities of the children comes through! Same lesson, different points stuck out to each of them…

Buggle often adds text to his pictures...

Buggle often adds text to his pictures…

Occasionally I flip through a book with them to see what they remember about why they drew something, and I’m very pleased by how much they can recall.

During the month of July all of New Testament Study books get free shipping. Simply place your order using the button on the right and use the code: Summer13 to save.

If you’re not sure whether or not this approach will work for your family you can also download free lessons here:

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