How I got My Son to do Devotions…and Love It.
The dreaded family devotions
As kids, my brothers and I gladly administered misery to our mom in the form of groans, eye rolling, and the dragging of feet. It was her own fault – she had the audacity to persist through a couple of days devotions before finally giving in. We celebrated our victory through songs of praise that would echo through the house as we thanked God we would no longer be subjected to the dreaded family devotions …(I may be slightly exaggerating for dramatic effect).
Problem is, I now have my own kids, and I finally understand the importance of devotions and the power they add to daily life…but my kids just don’t seem to believe me (sorry mom). You’d think I was trying to force feed them tomatoes or something.
I am often very fluid when it comes to my own devotions, so making a time to gather the kids to sit around and listen to me wax lyrical and then ask them a bunch of deep and meaningfuls (groan), not to mention throwing homework into the mix – I was on the verge of giving up. If you ignore it, it goes away right?!
Inevitably – and initially with a wariness that comes from wanting to shelter my kids, but a concern that I’m overdoing it – the game Minecraft found it’s way into our house (ok, so I did pay for it, but not wholeheartedly) and the answer I was so desperate for, began to form. While the obvious things like consistency will always be key, what I found was that when I engaged with my son in what he was already interested in, devotions became an exciting part of my son’s day…yes that’s right, I said exciting. [pullquote]When I engaged with my son in what he was already interested in, devotions became an exciting part of my son’s day[/pullquote]
I had trouble fully endorsing Minecraft because of some of the magic and evil elements, but my son finds it all very fascinating. God has created us for the supernatural, and unfortunately, the devil – since he is not a creator – needs to use the things God creates and manipulate them for his own means. Through those elements in the game I have had an opportunity to teach and trust my son to know when to leave something alone. It has helped him gain insight into supernatural power and to begin to better discern where the power is coming from. After all, why not use what the devil intends for evil and turn it into a tool to glorify God?
Parents, please understand that I am in no way endorsing the game. If you don’t feel Minecraft is appropriate for your kids, you must follow the wisdom God gives you for your own family.
I began to sit down with my son as he played…he was more than happy to explain how things worked in the game… and I asked questions like “how can you keep the monsters away?” And when he gave me his answer I would respond…”wow, that’s sort of like when the Holy Spirit protects us (and I’d add a scripture if it fit).”
After a while I suggested that he ask God for ways to use the game that would make God happy. My son gave it a go and got really excited when God inspired him with some interesting ideas.[pullquote class=left]My son got really excited when God inspired him with some interesting ideas.[/pullquote]
Now as he plays and shares his creations with me, it’s becoming easier to guide him into learning how to approach the game from God’s point of view. The great thing about this strategy is that it can be used for nearly anything he’s into. And while I won’t allow him access to certain things, it means I can teach him to interact with the world God’s way, so that when he finally goes into the world on his own, he’s prepared.
Not sure how to start?
Because I had so much success with my son, I wanted to make it accessible for others, so I created a guide book for using Minecraft as a devotional tool – available on Amazon Kindle – I’ve included an excerpt below.
…And to make it more accessible, it is currently on sale for only $0.99*
(*Amazon only makes these sales available to Amazon.com customers. Please see your locations Amazon website for current pricing. Sale price expires March 21 – Pacific Time)
If you do purchase the book and find it helpful – I’d appreciate your feedback by reviewing the book on Amazon.
Out of the Ordinary Devotions:
A Parents Guide to Using Minecraft as a Devotional Tool
Sand is one of the few blocks that is affected by gravity. It will fall if unsupported. If sand falls on the player it will suffocate them, but there is some time to get out.
When fired in the furnace, Sand produces glass.
Sand is usually four blocks deep and supported by stone or sandstone.
Just like the story of building your house upon the rock or the sand, the sand in Minecraft is not a good building material and you can use it to explain the importance of building on rock.
Sand is suffocating and can be used to talk about the importance of the influences in your child’s life. The Holy Spirit acts as our conscience in life and supports us when bad influences come our way.
Now you try:
• Ask God how to help you understand how the sand turning into glass under heat can be a reflection of our life.
• Sand is usually supported by Stone or Sandstone. Having previously looked at stone, what do the stone and sand represent? How can this apply to your life?
• This can also be an opportunity to talk about desert or wilderness experiences in life and how to overcome them. What blocks can be added to a desert biome to represent Jesus’ light in the world?
Isaiah 35:6-7 ‘The lame will leap like a deer, and those who cannot speak will sing for joy! Springs will gush forth in the wilderness, and streams will water the wasteland. The parched ground will become a pool, and springs of water will satisfy the thirsty land. Marsh grass and reeds and rushes will flourish where desert jackals once lived.
Matthew 7:24-27 ‘Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock. But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.’
Psalm 40:1-3 ‘I waited patiently for the Lord to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along. He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what he has done and be amazed. They will put their trust in the Lord.’