Dinner Table Devotions Book Review – “U Read, I Read” Series

Oftentimes getting started reading a whole book together as parents and kids can feel daunting. Nancy Guthrie’s One Year of Dinner Table Devotions & Discussion Starters: 365 Opportunities to Grow Closer to God as a Family is a great book to help your family start building that habit of reading together each day and encouraging one another in your faith. This devotional is a book for busy families whose parents want to connect with their kids on issues of faith but have trouble finding the time or getting their kids motivated enough to sit down and read with them. Instead of a lecture or a long chapter book to read, Dinner Table Devotions encourages daily meaningful discussions on a Bible-related topic or familiar Bible story that can relate to the lives of all family members. It gets each person sharing, from the youngest to the oldest, at the place where the whole family gathers everyday – the dinner table.

I appreciated being able to make mealtime discussions with my kids more interesting using this book. Not only does this devotional encourage meaningful faith-related discussion at family mealtimes, but it also allows for all family members to participate actively. I liked being able to hear from both my daughters, beyond the usual question about how their day went. Older kids can also take turns reading the devotional. 

The first question is usually a fun ice breaker question that is easy to answer. With my kids, I preferred asking the first question before reading the devotional to set an atmosphere of open sharing. Because the second two questions usually contemplate the deeper meaning of the devotional to our lives, I like to ask those two questions after reading the devotional. The margin also includes 2-3 verses from Scripture that parents and kids can read, meditate on and talk more about. Something that surprised me was just seeing how much my kids had to say in response to the devotional. It was so eye-opening and encouraging to hear them apply the truths of God’s Word to experiences in their lives that I had not heard before. Perhaps I would not have known about their feelings and what they went through if not prompted by the devotional.  

Overall, I would think this is a good book for parents and kids to read together. I didn’t think it would be possible for a devotional to relate to all persons in the family. But that was not the case at all. I could see it really encouraging great discussion between parents and their middle school or high school-aged kids, allowing both parents and kids to get to know one another’s faith journey and perspective better.

Reflection Questions: 

1. What are some ways you have been able to talk about Scriptural truths and principles in your daily life with your kids?

2. If you choose to use this devotional, what meal of the day would work for everyone to be present and give enough time for discussion?

3. As you read through this devotional with your family, note experiences and feelings that your kids share that surprise you. How can you be regularly praying for your kids in light of what they’ve shared? 

Written by: Elizabeth Hughes

Presence Hong Kong Limited is a non-profit organization that has supported Christian and family values since 2012. We aim to raise up a new generation for the cultural mission — equip individuals and families to bridge the cultural and generational gaps and to live a unique life with wisdom. 

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