As Christian parents, we can sometimes get so caught up in our own Christian journey, that we forget to include our children along the way.
We may drag them along to church to attend Sunday school, and learn bible stories and bible verses every so often. But, what are we doing to ensure that our children are spending time with God outside of church?
One of the absolute best ways to do this is through regular devotional time at home. If you’re wondering how you would even begin to implement something like this, or improve upon what you are already doing in this area, then this is the post for you.
I have compiled a list of my top favorite devotions for youth, as well as, parental accountability strategies for you to utilize. Prayerfully you will find one that works, and that you and your children will enjoy.
This post may contain affiliate links. You can read my full disclosure here.
What is the Purpose of Devotions For Youth?
In our modern society, the internet, television, and social media, are constantly competing for our attention, and even more so for our youth.
With so many distractions, it’s easy for all of us to neglect spending time with God.
Devotions in general is just that - time set aside to devote oneself to quiet time with God (i.e. prayer, scripture reading, worship, and reflection).
Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.' (Matthew 4:4 NIV)
Regardless of what age your children are, ensuring that they are spending regular time with God is not only essential, but should be a priority for us as Christian parents.
Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. (Deuteronomy 11:18-20)
We all remember what it was like to be a kid, or a teenager. The world is full of wonder, excitement, and temptation. And there is no shortage of things today that could possibly lead our children down the wrong paths of life.
The carnal world around us, and our spiritual enemy the devil is certainly not waiting until they are older to try and make an impact or influence in their lives. And, neither should we!
As Christian parents, ensuring our children are spending time with God regularly, is NOT something that should be left solely to Sunday school teachers, youth leaders, or pastors to do.
How Do I Choose a Devotional Book For My Child?
There are literally thousands of devotional books to choose from. But, the good news is that devotions for youth are typically categorized by age groups (toddlers, kids, pre-teens, teens). This helps to significantly narrow down the selection you have to choose from, to find one that is best suited for your child.
They are also, often broken down even further by gender, length, type, and format:
- devotions for boys or devotions for girls
- 3-minute devotions or 5-minute devotions for youth
- 30 day, 90 day, 180 day, 52 weeks, or 365 day devotionals
- coloring book, doodle, or journaling devotionals
No matter what, I assure you, there is a devotional that exists for your child regardless of what category they fall into, or what format you are looking for.
Best Devotions for Youth To Promote More "God-Time"
As a bible study leader, children’s Sunday school teacher, and a mother of a teenage son who has gone through all the youth age levels and types of devotionals, these are officially my 15 top recommendations for the best devotional books for youth.
Devotionals For Kids (Ages 2-5)
If your child is in this age range, it should go without saying that they won’t be reading the devotional on their own. Rather, you will be the one doing the reading!
When it comes to selecting the best devotionals for kids in this age group, it is important to keep in mind that small children learn best from picture stories. Key factors to look for include:
- short bible stories rather than long bible excerpts
- lots of brightly colored pictures
- fun elements (flap lifts, rhymes/poems, drawing or coloring capability)
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All the recommendations below teach bible stories in a way that younger kids can understand and relate to. They can even be turned into a bedtime story that keeps them engaged and asking for more.
The Beginner’s Bible: 365 Devotions for Kids is a part of the Beginner’s Bible brand which is the bestselling Bible storybook brand of our time, with more than 24 million products sold! It is filled with exciting, full-color artwork and easy-to-read text. It is a great starting point for children as they develop a stronger relationship with Jesus. It is known to be the preferred devotional for kids to cuddle up with their parents, and the go-to-devotional for Sunday school teachers and day care providers to hold children’s attention. Your kids will learn and enjoy all the key bible stories from creation, to Moses, to David, to the ministry of Jesus, and the work of the Apostle Paul.
The Big Book of Bible Stories for Toddlers is an interactive and engaging new Bible storybook with stories from both the Old and New Testaments designed just for toddlers. From Noah and the Ark, Jonah and the big fish, and David vs. Goliath, it is filled with lots of fun and learning for your little ones to enjoy.
Lift the Flap Bible Stories for Young Children is a collection of the timeless stories of the Bible in a vibrant and colorful lift-the-flap book format. It is full of surprises with secrets to discover and unfold on every page. This devotional brings God’s Word to life, from Adam and Eve to the story of Easter.
The One Year Devotions for Preschoolers is a complete full year of easy-to-understand devotions, paired with adorable illustrations that will help your preschooler know and love Jesus. Each reading includes a bible verse and a fun rhyming prayer. With over 250,000 copies sold, this devotional is a great way to get young children interacting with Scripture daily.
My First Quiet Time With Jesus: A 30-Day Drawing Devotional for Kids is a fun and engaging way to cultivate a daily practice of Bible reading in your young children. It is a one-of-a-kind devotional that harnesses the God-given creativity in children and uses it to grow their faith! Through drawings and doodles, children as young as two years old can begin to store up important truths about God and His Word in their hearts.
Devotionals For Children and Pre-Teens (Ages 6-12)
Don’t have enough time in your day to get your children and pre-teens their daily dose of the Bible, but still want to ensure they get invaluable lessons from Scripture? These short, simple, and fun bible devotions for children will help you tremendously. All recommendations below are perfect for reading to oneself, or out loud with the whole family!
5 Minute Bible Stories was written especially for young children (ages 6-9) in straightforward and engaging language. The stories included are classic narratives from both the Old and New Testament, such as The Story of Creation, Adam and Eve, The Plagues of Egypt, The Birth of Jesus, The Good Samaritan, Jesus’ miracles, and many more! With beautiful and imaginative illustrations, your child will experience a marvelous introduction to the Bible in just 5 minutes a day.
3-Minute Devotions for Girls: 180 Inspirational Readings for Young Hearts packs a powerful dose of comfort, encouragement, and inspiration into dozens of readings designed to meet girls (ages 8-12) where they are in life. In just 3 minutes a day, they will get a scripture selection, a devotional reading, and a prayer designed to help jump-start their conversation with God.
3-Minute Devotions for Boys: 90 Exciting Readings for Men Under Construction was created specifically for boys ages 8-12. It has plenty of fun references to sports, video games, machines, and all other things they enjoy! In 3 minutes they will get a relevant scripture reference, a devotional that explains God’s Word in light of what boys experience in life, and a prayer designed to help jump-start their conversation with God.
Our Daily Bread for Kids: 365 Meaningful Moments With God is perfect if you’re looking for ways to help your child learn and grow spiritually without being too preachy, boring, or demanding. Inside this devotional for youth meant for children ages 6-10, you’ll find the life-changing wisdom of the Bible expressed in a kid-friendly format paired with fun illustrations. It includes short and engaging devotions, easy-to-remember bible verses, and exciting facts that encourage children to spend time with God, and apply the truths of His Word to their everyday lives.
This pairs great with the Our Daily Bread for Kids Jumbo Bible Activity & Coloring Book which includes 200 pages of fun activities (quizzes, games, crossword puzzles, word searches, picture puzzles) and coloring pages!
Doodle Devotions for Kids is a great way to get kids to dig deeper into their bibles by having them interact with its stories and lessons through doodling activities! This collection of 60 fun devotions for youth goes through the entire Bible while encouraging kids to respond in their own creative ways. Designed to be appropriate for both boys and girls ages 6-10, it features 152 pages and lots of fun illustrations.
Devotionals For Teens
It’s that wonderful point of childhood that all parents absolutely love – the teenage years – LOL!
Don’t worry, because fortunately there are some amazing devotions for teens that will get them off their phones, computers, and video games to help get some much needed “God time” into their day.
The One Year Devotions for Teens: DEVOS reveals the energy and purpose that can come with daily time in God’s Word for your teenagers. With so many pressures from friends, parents, and teachers, sometimes it’s hard for your teens to know where to turn. Each day’s devotion includes a suggested Scripture reading, a devotional thought, application idea, and a short prayer that will keep your teen in God’s Word and going strong regularly.
Conversations With Jesus – 365 Daily Devotions for Teens is the perfect tool for every teen who desires to know more about Jesus and what the Bible says about any life situation. Through a collection of encouraging, quick-read messages written in Jesus’ first person voice, each day, teens are guided toward a closer walk with God through carefully selected scripture passages and relevant applications that are practical and action-oriented. Your teen will be encouraged through tough times, discover how to handle difficult people, develop a clearer sense of God’s will for their lives, understand how the bible applies to everyday life, and become comfortable talking to God in prayer.
Doodles & Devotions: A 9 Week Prayer Journal for Teens is intended to help teens get to know themselves and strengthen their relationship with God. With 151 pages for a full 9 weeks of journaling and reflection, it includes:
- a different question each day to get your teen thinking about life, themselves, God, and others
- a daily bible verse that ties to each daily question
- a space each day to keep track of life, doodle and dream
- a place each week to take a break and reflect on how things are going in life, and what they are learning about God
Fearless Faith: 90 Devotions for Teens will help to empower your teen to live confidently and boldly. No time in life is more full of unanswered questions and undetermined paths than when your child is in middle and high school. This teen devotional will help them face everyday issues with the courage found in a strong faith. In just about five minutes a day, they will learn more about themselves, relationships, and about the God of the universe who knows them personally and loves them unconditionally.
Teen to Teen: 365 Daily Devotions by Teen Guys for Teen Guys is written expressly for teens by teens. This unique 365 day devotional is filled with personal experiences that are relatable and heart-felt. Through stories of others, teens see how God works in our lives when we open ourselves to Him.
It includes hundreds of teen authors in which teens can read what others in their peer group have written. It creates a safe, social atmosphere for teens to learn from other’s failures and triumphs, how to make right decisions, and to learn that they are not alone, and that God is at work in their lives.
And by the way, yes, there is a version for teen girls as well - Teen to Teen: 365 Daily Devotions by Teen Girls for Teen Girls
Strategies to Hold Your Child Accountable For Devotional Time
Now that you have several devotions for youth to choose from, I want to close out by making sure you don’t make the one mistake that many Christian parents tend to make: trusting your child to stay committed to regular devotional time on their own.
It’s hard enough for us as adults to stay faithful to a regular devotional schedule, so why should we think it would be any different for our children who have A LOT of other “fun things” they would rather be doing with their time.
So, once you get them a devotional book, then what? How do you ensure they are reading their devotions regularly? How do you make sure this whole youth devotions thing is effective or even making a difference in their lives?
Here are my top five strategies to help you hold your child accountable with their devotions:
1. Set a devotional schedule for your child – select a realistic schedule for what days your child should complete a devotional reading. This can be once a week, 3 times a week, weekdays only, or every day depending on your situation. Just be sure to pick a schedule that is realistic, that your child can commit to regularly.
NOTE: If your child is in the toddler to age 5 range obviously you will want to pick a schedule that works best for you to be able to read the devotional to them (i.e. bedtime stories on specific nights each week)
2. Have regular sharing/reflection sessions – whether you have several kids or one child, you can set aside time for them to share with you what they read and learned from their devotional time. This can be done after dinner, at bedtime, or whenever is convenient for your household (i.e. a time when you know everyone is home and doesn’t interfere with your work schedule). The point of this is to give them an opportunity to share what they are learning, ask questions, and for you to evaluate the effectiveness of the process. Don’t forget to be open with them and share your own personal stories as it relates to theirs.
NOTE: For the younger kids/pre-teens, I recommend taking 5 minutes to read the devotional yourself PRIOR to having them share.
3. Incorporate Prayer Time – ask your kids if they have any prayer requests. They could be nervous about a test, be facing a bully at school, be mad at a friend, or may just be having a bad day. Pray with them right then and there. This prayer time can be in conjunction with your devotional sharing sessions, something you do on non-devotional nights, or something you do every day before bedtime – it’s up to you.
NOTE: Be sure to make a note of their prayer requests (i.e. in a journal or notepad) so you can follow up with them regarding the progress of the situation(s) that you prayed for.
4. Assign Weekly Memory Verses – select a key verse(s) from their devotional readings and have them memorize it within a week. Be sure it is an easy one based on their age/comprehension level.
NOTE: Make it fun and challenging by getting involved and learning the memory verses along with them!
5. Look for “biblical teaching moments” – there are several instances, where my son will do or say something that will relate to one of his previous devotional readings. Those are perfect moments to refer to and reflect back on what they have previously read. For example, if you catch your child in a lie, you can remind them of their devotional from the prior week that talked about how we should not lie.
NOTE: biblical teaching moments can be used to encourage and congratulate your child when they do something good as well (i.e. they make a right decision in the face of peer pressure at school)
Start Your Youth Devotions Plan Today!
As time goes on, you will begin to see what devotional books, and accountability strategies work best for your kids. Keep in mind, that not all methods will work best for each child if you have several. As parents, we must have patience, and be willing to adapt accordingly.
Also recognize the fact that there is no one size devotional fits all, nor is there a devotional that is meant to last forever. As you’ve seen there are some that are 30 days, 90 days, or 1-year in length. So, it is a good idea to have a variety of age-appropriate devotionals on hand for your children.
The whole point is to ensure that they are spending regular time with God. Having watched my child go from toddler to teenager, it can be a humbling, inciteful, and exciting process to watch them grow in their spiritual journey.
I’m excited to hear which of these devotionals and strategies you will decide to use, and how it helps your child grow. Please share by leaving a comment below. Also feel free to share your own recommendations of what is already working for you!
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