Photo credit: Sara Engel of Sara Engel Photography.
My kids and I love doing “two-minute devotions” around the breakfast table before school. While they are eating breakfast, I grab my Bible and we all discuss a scripture for a few minutes. We don’t do these devotions every day, but when we do, we all leave for school and work more focused on God, and more connected to each other. I try to keep these devotions super simple, limited to one scripture and one basic thought that we can all carry with us throughout the day.
Here are three two-minute devotions on the topics of confidence and compassion:
1. The Eye in the Sky
Are your kids having trouble with something—friend problems, test anxiety, a situation at school they don’t know how to handle? Encourage them with 2 Chronicles 16:9: “The eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.” What an encouragement! What an image! I can almost picture God putting big binoculars on, stationing himself high in the sky, and scanning the earth to spot all the people who love him and need his help. And then when he finds them—in their classrooms, in their homes, on the playground—he gives them strength and wisdom to help them serve him, do right, and find joy. With younger kids, you can have a lot of fun with this idea: Where are some of the places you want God to watch over you during the day? Do you think God sees you when you . . . eat your snack? Put on your socks? Spill your juice? Share with a friend? When my kids and I discussed this passage, they all left for school walking tall and smiling big, confident that God’s eyes were upon them.
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2. All You Need Is Love
1 Corinthians 13:4–6 makes a great devotional if you’re working on sibling relationships. (And these days at our house, we are always working on sibling relationships!) “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.” This passage is a great springboard from which you can address all the different issues siblings have with each other: patience (or the lack thereof), envy, rudeness, keeping track of all the annoying things a sibling does. Try bringing this scripture home by asking each child to pick which trait they most want to focus on with their brothers and sisters: Do they need patience right now? Do they need to be humble and listen better? Do they need to be more considerate of other people’s feelings? Or do they need to remember to forgive, and not bring up old arguments? On the day when my kids and I had this discussion, later that afternoon I overheard my son correcting one of his sisters, saying, “Hey, you need to stop keeping a record of wrongs!” I had to laugh at his self-righteousness. But hey, he remembered a Bible verse, and applied it! You gotta take the little victories, even the self-righteous ones.
3. Kill ‘Em with Kindness
Ephesians 4:32 says, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” If a family is going to be close, then every member of the family has to continually choose kindness, compassion, and ongoing forgiveness. We can’t pick at every little thing that other people do wrong. We can’t hold grudges. We can’t give in to anger or impatience or sarcasm. We have to make daily decisions to be kind, compassionate, and forgiving, even when your little sister loses your Lego, hides your apple, or takes a bite out of your Pokemon Card. Try bringing this scripture to life for your kids like this: Go around the table and ask each child to give an example of an unkind, impatient, or angry thing they might be tempted to say to each other. Then ask them to change that sentence around, turning it into a kind and compassionate sentence. This teaches them how to think about their words and speak carefully. It helps them practice talking about issues that bother them in a loving and patient way. You can also use this scripture to help you demonstrate how to resolve an argument by saying “I forgive you,” and letting it go.