3 Ways to Integrate Biblical Principles as a Family in the New Year

Beginning a Family Routine

The fresh start of a new year is a favorite time for many to take on new habits and ditch old ones. As Christians, we know the best habit we can create is to spend quality time with the Lord on a daily basis. That practice is even more effective when we go before the Lord as a family.

Whether you’re a new couple just starting out, you have children, you’re empty nesters, or you’re anywhere in between, gathering together for prayer, devotions, Bible study, and family time is one of the best ways to use your time. Of course, each family member should spend time alone daily with the Lord, but family unity is strengthened when everyone approaches God as a family unit.

A Planning Meeting

Before you begin the habit of regular prayer time, it’s a good idea to have a meeting about what that will look like. During the meeting, each family member can share what their schedule looks like in the coming months and their preferences for the devotional times you’ll have. Some ideas for decisions are included in the three models outlined below.

A planning meeting can happen at the end of the year or in early January to set the tone for the rest of the year, and everyone should come away from the meeting with their questions answered about the family gatherings. Where will you meet? How often will you meet? How long will the sessions last? Does it include a Bible study, devotional, and some family fun time? What’s expected of each family member?

Three Models for Godly Family Time

  1. Have a Theme

Choose something meaningful for your family to focus on in the coming year. You could choose a Bible verse or passage, and every time you meet each family member could share something that happened that week that relates to the theme. For instance, you could choose a significant word or phrase such as friendship, trust, hope, or unity and find Bible verses, life experiences, or people who exemplify that quality.

As you instill good traits, take time to dismantle and get rid of old habits. For example, if your family chooses to focus on friendship, examine things that hinder or destroy friendships like pride or gossip. If you’re studying trust, talk about reasons why we might mistrust others or how we could cause them to lose trust in us. If any faults are found, work as a team to help each other become more like Jesus in that respect.

  1. Read Through a Devotional Together

Choose a devotional the family will read each time they gather. If you meet daily, something with Bible verses and a short commentary would be appropriate. My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers and Be Thou My Vision by Jonathan Gibson are examples of this kind of devotional.

If you meet less regularly, like once or twice a week, you may want to choose a weekly devotional or self-help type of book to work through. Two such books are Ten Dumb Things Smart Christians Believe by Larry Osborne and The Search for Significance by Robert S. McGee.

If you have young children, try a book or devotional for kids like Unfolding Grace for Kids by Crossway, Devon Provencher’s Big Theology for Little Hearts series, The Family Book of Christian Values by Stuart and Jill Briscoe, or The Book of Virtues by William J. Bennett. Some good books for teens include Don’t Check Your Brains at the Door by Josh McDowell and Bob Hostetler, 10 Questions Every Teen Should Ask (and Answer) About Christianity by Rebecca McLaughlin, and Emblems of the Infinite King by J. Ryan Lister.

  1. Work on Memorizing Scripture

In Psalm 119:11 (NIV), David says, “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” Have each person come to the planning meeting with some verses they’d like to memorize during the coming year. Be sure to choose 52 verses so everyone can focus on memorizing one passage per week.

During your weekly meeting, have each family member recite the verse or you can all say it together. Talk about things you discovered during the week as you focused on that piece of Scripture. Discuss similar verses and other life events that relate to the Scripture as you pondered it over the past week. Then briefly review the Bible verse for the coming week.

Coming Together

As you gather for your weekly meeting (or whatever interval you chose), take some time to get into the right frame of mind. Thank God for always being with you and for the wonderful things you’re learning about Him and each other. Ask Him to bless your time together.

If building family friendship and familiarity is a main goal, begin each meeting with an icebreaker. Have fun! Play a short game like Go Fish, UNO, or Mancala or complete a project or activity that goes with your theme. Have some snacks on hand. Keep it light.

If you’d like a more reverent feel, begin with worship. With instruments or iPhones, play some old hymns that usher you into the throne room of the Lord. Find new songs that praise God and remind you who He is. Sing along or sit back and enjoy the music.

Integrating the Principles

Gathering as a family is just the beginning of incorporating the teachings you’ll learn into your life. Each family member must take time during the week to ponder and reflect on the ideas discussed during the meetings. Look for the clues God hides in the people and places you encounter each day. Enjoy the time you’re taking to get to know God, your family, and yourself better.

About the Author

Elizabeth Wheeler

Elizabeth Wheeler is a content creator and copywriter mainly for the Christian and homeschool markets. She lives in Boca Raton with her husband and their two children. She enjoys writing, reading, and spending time with her family.

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