A peek inside this post: Invite God on your next adventure with five days of simple, yet impactful family devotions for camping. Each daily devo focuses on a bible verse (or two), and relates it to your current campout by using strong imagery and fun, memorable activities. Parents and kids alike will be happy campers! Use our 5-Day Family Devotions for Camping to truly connect with God and each other on your next family camping trip!
Are you looking for ways to enhance your camping experience with your family? No, I don’t mean with sweet string lights and the finest sleeping bags. I’m talking about studying God’s word and reflecting on his creation while you’re right in the middle of it!
Extra awesome sauce: We are offering the Dear God, Pass the S’mores devotion in a printable PDF so you can stay UNPLUGGED around your campfire!
The Work of His Hand
Every year, my family goes camping in the Smoky Mountains. It is probably my favorite few days on the calendar.
As we drive into Cade’s Cove campground, we know we’ll lose cell service. And I am HERE FOR IT. I’m always a little sad at the end of our trip when we’re exiting the mountains and my phone starts beeping with all 537 alerts and messages that I blissfully missed.
But those few days, deep in the mountains, under the canopy of trees, without any distractions are so peaceful.
The air is alive and abuzz with sounds of nature. Babbling creeks. Chirping birds. Twigs cracking under the weight of a Mama Doe and her sweet fawns.
It is in this environment that I feel the closest to God.
And that’s because, it is in this environment that it’s impossible to ignore the incredible work of his hand.
Family Devotions for Camping
“All the earth will shout your praise. Our hearts will cry, these bones will sing, ‘Great are you, Lord!’”
We always pop in an old Casting Crowns CD as we head into the Smokies. They perform a cover of “Great Are You Lord” on that CD. My husband and I have been moved to tears as we chug along on the winding road, listening to it, as we go deeper and deeper into the mountains.
As I said above, it’s impossible to ignore the incredible work of his hand when you’re right in the middle of his masterpiece. It really feels like the whole earth is shouting his praise, and daring you not to join in. It’s all but impossible not to!
I have looked for family devotions for camping before, and always came up short, so I decided to write my own!
I have been thinking and praying over this devotion for a couple years, wanting to make sure that it could adequately capture all that I was feeling while honoring God as the ultimate artist. I wrote this devotion to use with my family so that we could go a little deeper in what is already an amazing camping experience.
Whether your family camping trips take place in the mountains, at a KOA, or even in your own backyard, it is my hope that you will be blessed as you make lasting memories of your own. I pray that you feel God with you around the campfire, and that these devotions have a permanent impact on you and your children.
Thank you so much for reading. Happy Camping!
>>>For a printable version of the Dear God, Pass the S’mores devotion, click here!
Dear God, Pass the S’mores
Day 1: Psalm 27:5 ESV
“For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; he will conceal me under the cover of his tent; he will lift me high upon a rock.”Psalm 27:5 ESV
What might a day of trouble look like here as we’re camping?
Maybe a rain storm?
If it started down pouring, where would we run for shelter? Our tent!
We’ve taken great care to make sure our tent is safe and secure. We’ve used strong stakes and made sure each part was fastened appropriately. If we’ve done it correctly, then wind and rain should not move our shelter.
And even when it’s not storming, our tent is a safe place for us to sleep and find rest.
The same is true for God. We can be sure that no matter what “storm” we’re facing, He will conceal us under the cover of His tent. That doesn’t mean that days of trouble won’t come, but that we will always be under his covering when they do.
When you get into our tent tonight, I want you to imagine that it’s God’s tent. You can even imagine what cool things His tent might have that ours doesn’t. Thank Him for always hiding you in His shelter and concealing you under the cover of His tent.
Let’s pray together.
Thank you for this time of camping together. We are grateful for the chance to make new memories and to reflect on your unshakeable and unchangeable truth. Help us to remember that your covering is always available to us, and to find shelter in you, Lord. We love you, we thank you for the cross, and for sending your son, Jesus. It’s in His Name that we pray.
Day 2: Psalm 8:3-4 NIV
Note: To be done at nighttime.
When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?Psalm 8:3-4 NIV
What do you see when you look up at the sky? Are the stars visible tonight? How about the moon? Is it full or crescent, or something in between?
Can you believe that God made these bright, shiny, beautiful things in our sky without any point of reference? There was no artist before him from whom he could gain inspiration. And, he didn’t just hang these dazzling lights in the sky for decoration — they serve a purpose!
The same is true for you. God looked at the night sky and knew it needed the moon and the stars, but he also looked at the earth and decided it needed you, too.
Just like all of his creations and masterpieces, you are not just a copy of someone else’s work. YOU are part of God’s GREAT, MAGNIFICENT work!
And you too, serve a purpose.
In the same way the moon reflects the sun, God made you to reflect him, and bring glory to him.
God tells us in Isaiah 43, “‘You are my witnesses’ — this is the Lord’s declaration — ‘and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. No god was formed before me, and there will be none after me,’” and “The people I formed for myself will declare my praise.”
You were made to know God, to love God, to understand that he is God, and to declare his praise.
Let’s pray together.
Dear God, we are so amazed by your design. You are the ultimate artist and visionary. Just like the moon and stars serve a purpose, help us to find our own purpose in you, that you may work in and through us. May we never take for granted the splendid beauty you have crafted, and always hold in our hearts that WE are a part of that.
Forever in awe of you and your son, Jesus, amen.
Day 3: James 3:5-6, 9-10 / 2 Corinthians 10:5
Note: To be done over a fire. Pen and paper needed.
The tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body.James 3:5-6, 9-10
With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.
We demolish arguments and every proud thing that is raised up against the knowledge of God, and we take every thought captive to obey Christ.2 Corinthians 10:5
Have you ever eaten something too spicy or burnt your tongue when eating or drinking something piping hot? The pain on your tongue probably lasted a couple of days and it was probably hard to ignore.
Look at our fire. Close your eyes and feel how the heat reaches your face, your hands. It feels nice from a safe distance, but we know that it can be dangerous and even deadly. We have to watch over it and make sure the powerful flames are always under control.
The Bible says our tongue is fire. That it too can be dangerous. That in one breath we use it to praise our Lord, and in another breath we use it to spew hateful words to or about others. And even ourselves!
Last night we learned that God purposely designed us, and everyone else on this earth. We must be careful about what we say to and about others, and to and about ourselves.
The Bible also says to take captive every thought to obey Christ. Imagine opening up a bird cage and grabbing the bird right before it flies away for good. That’s exactly what we have to do with our thoughts before they run wild in our brains and fly some crazy direction.
Sometimes our minds do fly to crazy places. We might find ourselves overthinking a simple situation, reading too much into what somebody might have said or meant, worrying about the future and riddling ourselves with anxiety and stress. We have to take those thoughts captive, grab them like that bird trying to escape its cage, because those thoughts are not from God.
I’d like us all to grab a piece of paper and write down any thoughts that we need to take captive. Write down anything that’s been bothering you, something negative you’ve been thinking about yourself or others, worry or stress that has been pestering your mind… anything that you need to stop before it flies out of the cage.
Keep it private. Fold it up when you’re done. And let’s pray together over what we’ve written.
Lord, we ask that you would help us control our tongues and thoughts. Let your Holy Spirit flow through us so that the words we speak will be used for truth, to lift others up, and to glorify you. Help us to have self-discipline in taking every thought captive, so we can be obedient to you and your will. We give these thoughts over to you, and ask that you would work in our hearts.
Thank you for giving us Jesus as the ultimate example, and the ultimate sacrifice. Amen.
Now, let’s throw our papers into the fire and give these thoughts over to God!
Day 4: Job 12:7-10
But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish in the sea inform you. Which of all these does not know that the hand of the LORD has done this? In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind.Job 12:7-10
Have you seen some wildlife on this camping adventure? Maybe you’ve gotten to see some animals that you don’t typically see on a regular day at home.
Or what about nature’s landscape? Does it look different out here than it does at home?
The Bible says to ask the animals, the birds in the sky, the fish in the sea, and the earth itself, and they would teach us that all of these things are made with the hand of the Lord.
Now, you would look pretty silly if you literally walked up to an animal or bent down to the ground to ask what they know about God. What this scripture means is that it’s impossible to ignore this beautiful creation and all of its inhabitants, or to think that any of it appeared by accident. God should be praised for his mighty wonder.
Scripture tells us in Luke 19:37-40 that people were praising God for all the mighty works that they had seen. When the Pharisees tried to shush them, Jesus declared that if they were silent, even the rocks would cry out in praise.
The rocks weren’t actually singing, (not that God couldn’t make them if he wanted to), but Jesus was telling the Pharisees that the people SHOULD be praising, and that God is worthy of our praise, always.
And remember the other day, we learned that praising God is part of our purpose on this earth!
Please join me in prayer.
Dear Heavenly Father, we thank you for the wonderful creation you’ve given us. Your presence can never be denied when we see your hand in every creature that walks the earth, in every bird that flies through the air, and every fish that swims in the sea. You are worthy of our praise, today and every day.
We exalt your name and thank you for the wonderful blessing of your son, Jesus. Amen.
Day 5 (Part 1): John 13:4-5 CSB
Note: Optional daytime activity– in a creek or with a tub of water. Soap and towels needed.
(Jesus) got up from supper, laid aside his outer clothing, took a towel, and tied it around himself. Next, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet and to dry them with the towel tied around him.John 13:4-5 CSB
After a few days of camping, your feet are probably smelling… questionable at best.
Back in the times of Jesus, people often walked barefoot or used flimsy sandals on filthy roads. Imagine how ripe and dirty their feet were on the regular!
During the Last Supper, Jesus did something that shocked his disciples– he knelt down and washed their feet! Jesus, our Lord and Savior, took on the role of the lowest of servants.
Why did He wash their feet? To understand why He would do such a thing, we need to learn and remember two big words: Salvation and Sanctification.
Salvation is when we as humans are saved from our own sins. We’re given this gift by the grace of God, because of our faith in Jesus, who died on the Cross for our sins, so we can spend eternity in Heaven with God and his Son. Salvation is a one-time act. This means that you don’t have to ask for your salvation over and over again– it’s given to you the first time you ask for it, and that’s enough.
Sanctification is a continual process that we will go through our entire lives as we strive for holiness and righteousness. Because we’re imperfect, we will never be done making mistakes, and we will sometimes (often) have to ask for forgiveness. We get better at these things over time when we study and understand God’s word, and let the Holy Spirit guide us to make better choices that honor God.
Jesus washed the disciples’ feet for a couple of reasons.
- He wanted to use it as a symbol of what it means to be cleansed by Salvation and the process of Sanctification.
- He was setting an example that the disciples could use, and that we can use, for humbling ourselves in order to help and serve our brothers and sisters in Christ.
Scripture tells us that Jesus came not to be served, but to serve others.
Did you catch that?
The holiest, most perfect person in the whole world who is the Son of God, came to serve others, rather than to be served like the true King that He is!
In John 13:15, Jesus told his disciples after washing their feet, “I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you.”
Now, don’t get grossed out, and don’t get all silly on me… but we’re going to use Jesus’ example and wash each other’s feet in the water.
As you’re washing your partner’s feet, I want you to remember what we learned the other day when we talked about God creating the moon and the stars and deciding that the earth needed one of you, too.
And how that also means that God decided the earth needed your partner, too.
Think about the love you have for this person– whether it’s a brother, a sister, a mom, dad, or friend. Think about how much Jesus loves this person whose feet you are washing.
If you start to think about how dirty and stinky your partner’s feet are, take that thought captive like we did around the fire the other night, and remember that your feet are not spotless and need a good washing, too.
Our dirty feet are a symbol for the sin that we take part in every day, even just by being humans, and we need to be Sanctified.
If Jesus could do this humble act for his disciples, we can do it for each other.
As you’re getting your feet washed, I want you to imagine that it’s Jesus doing the scrubbing.
Rather than squirming away or feeling embarrassed, be thankful for this kind act, and even more thankful for His sacrifice on the Cross that washed our sins away, making us even cleaner than our now sparkling toes.
Our Father in Heaven, thank you for sending Jesus to show us a perfect example of what it looks like to love each other well. What a wonderful reminder that we can let our guard down and humble ourselves before our brothers and sisters in Christ. If Jesus came to serve those around Him, then so will I. Thank you for the gifts of Salvation and Sanctification through your perfect son.
It’s in Jesus’ name we pray, amen.
Day 5 (Part 2): Psalm 119:105
Note: To be done at nighttime. Optional game requires flashlights.
Your word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.Psalm 119:105
It gets pretty dark out here at night. We have to bring things like lanterns, flashlights, and headlamps to help us see, otherwise we might go down a wrong path, stumble and trip, or come across something dangerous.
The same can be said for everyday life, not just when we’re out here camping. It’s easy to make mistakes and go down the wrong path, stumble, and get into something dangerous.
Thankfully, God never leaves us to fend for ourselves in the dark.
Scripture says God’s word (the bible) is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path. He will literally direct our steps and make sure we stay on the right path if we read and understand his word.
Let’s say a prayer and then I’ll teach you a fun game.
God, thank you for giving us a complete manual for how we should live our lives. It’s a wonderful gift to get to know you better and store your word like a treasure in our hearts. Please continue to light the path before us. And thank you most of all for the Light of the World, the one who shines brighter than a thousand suns, your son, Jesus. Amen.
Everybody grab a flashlight. You can play tag, but the person who’s “It” has to shine their flashlight onto the other person’s feet in order to “tag” them. As you play, remember that God’s word is a lamp unto your feet and a light unto your path.
Wrapping Up Family Devotions for Camping
Thanks for checking out our Family Devotions for Camping! I hope it has been a helpful resource to you and your family.
Have a safe and happy camping trip, and don’t forget to snag the free printable version of this devotion below!
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