Children's Non-Fiction

Clean on the Inside: A Family Devotional For Holy Week by Erika Dawson


As the social media coordinator for the ministry, I spend a lot of time perusing Facebook, twitter, and Pinterest. Pinterest is where I originally found Clean on the Inside written by Erika Dawson. A click on a pinned post led me to her blog and from her blog I clicked over to her Facebook page. That is where I made contact with Erika and was able to acquire a copy of the devotional to review for you.


Clean on the Inside is a resource that adults (not just parents) can use to lead children through the final week of Jesus’ life. The lessons begin with Palm Sunday and conclude with Resurrection Sunday. Each devotion begins with scriptures that pertain to the days lesson with additional references if you would like to go deeper. My son, who is 8 years old, read the larger portions of scripture while my 5 year old daughter would read the smaller portions. Then I would read the accompanying devotional – pausing to ask questions or add insights. The daily devotionals are written in a conversational manner that is on their level. [I add this because before I had children I didn’t find it easy to talk with them. Anyone can share these truths.] In the “talk about it” section there are pointed questions that get the children talking about what they have learned and how to apply it. Each lesson concludes with a meaningful activity and/or craft that helps drive home the message.


My goal in doing any family devotional is to lead my children into a deeper understanding of our Creator God and His Word. I want them to be challenged to see things from a heavenly perspective, to glean wisdom from the lives of biblical characters, and to reflect on what Jesus would be asking of them. Clean on the Inside met these goals by explaining God’s purpose in sending his Son and by addressing:

  • How Christ was the fulfillment of many prophecies (Day 1)
  • The cultural importance of the Temple and Passover celebration to the Jews (Day 2)
  • How our bodies are a temple for the Holy Spirit (Day 2)
  • That God sees the motives behind our actions (Day 3 & 4)
  • How we can abide in Christ (Day 3)
  • Through Jesus, God provides salvation for the world (Day 4)
  • How Jesus was a Servant Leader and how we should serve others (Day 4)
  • The weight of sin (Day 5)
  • That we need to trust God even when we don’t understand his plan (Day 6)
  • Christ willingly gave his life, it wasn’t taken from Him (Day 6)
  • Christ’s victory over sin and death (Day 7)

The devotional is customizable to your family. In the preface the author writes “This is not meant to be a strict format to follow but a tool to help you reflect and respond to Jesus this week.” While my children enjoyed the study a few of the crafts were too simple for my eight year old boy so we skipped them. In my estimation the crafts are for preschool to early elementary aged children. My only other critique would be that the primary scripture reading for Good Friday was 86 verses long. In hindsight, I should have used a children’s bible (like the Jesus Calling Storybook Bible pages 211-219). Overall, this week long study was engaging, insightful, and advantageous in preparing our hearts for Easter.

About the Author:

Erika Dawson is wife and mother of three. Before becoming a mom, she was an elementary school teacher. Erika earned a BA degree from Moody Bible Institute and a Master of Arts in teaching. This past fall she began working part time co-coordination for her church’s children’s ministry.

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