When our twin daughters were very young, Steph and I committed ourselves to the discipline of family worship. This has proven to be a rich time of learning and growing for our family. Family worship affords us the chance to dig into in God’s Word, to worship and pray together, and be reminded of what is most important on a daily basis.
The impetus for family worship comes from Scripture itself. As Paul writes in Ephesians 6:4, “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” Or consider Psalm 78:4, which says, “We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might, and the wonders he has done.” Many more verses could be given but suffice it to say that parents (especially fathers) have the all-important responsibility of teaching and discipling their children. This cannot be passed off and delegated to someone else. This God-given calling is your responsibility!
With our busy schedules, things like family worship and even our church attendance often suffer in favor of other lesser priorities. But we must not let our time margins get squeezed out in favor of things that are good, but not ultimate. I think you would agree that worshipping God as a family fits in that “ultimate” category.
Most of the time, we do family worship in the morning right after breakfast. This has proven to be the best time for our family, but every family is different and if you are serious about family worship, you will have to find that time that works best for you.
The next big question is – how do you do it? What should a time of family worship look like? Again, every family is different and there is no right or wrong way. The most important thing is exposing your children (and you) to the Word of God. Over the years, we have worked through several books of the Bible. I simply read through a portion of Scripture (perhaps half a chapter) and then talk about it, explain it, and ask the kids questions relevant to the text. It doesn’t require a whole lot of prep time on your part, just start reading the Bible together. Along with that foundational practice, we have taken advantage of several supplementary resources over the years.
Here are some links that I would recommend along with brief explanations:
New City Catechism– NCC is fantastic! 52 question and answers to help teach your children doctrine and theology and ground them in the Christian faith.
The Gospel Story Bible – I have lost track of how many copies of this book we have given away. It includes 156 stories from Genesis to Revelation that show how everything in Scripture points us to Jesus. Highly recommended!
Do all that you can to foster of a love of singing in your children. How? Through singing. Most kids already love to sing so all you have to do is keep them singing. Grace Community Church has recently put together a modern Hymnbook that we have greatly benefited from. I would also recommend Seeds Family Worship. These bible-based songs are fast-paced and your kids will grow to love them.
Over the last couple years, our family has also started to listen to podcasts. There are plenty of great podcasts out there, but let me recommend just three. John Piper’s Solid Joys , my friend Champ Thornton’s In the Word, On the Go , and Steve Nichols’ 5 Minutes in Church History. These podcasts are usually between 4-10 minutes and are excellent.
If you are working through a book of the Bible (either for family worship or in your own personal study) and you want to understand that book a little better, then the Bible Project is a fantastic resource. If you go to the Bible Project website, you will see that they now have hundreds of videos that will help you better understand Scripture and theology.
We are blessed to live during a time where there are so many great resources available. Family worship is not as hard as you think! It doesn’t have to be super long (family worship for us is usually 10-15 minutes) and it can be a lot of fun. The important thing is to make the commitment, find a time that works, and then follow through on it.
I will warn you that it is going to be hard at times. Satan doesn’t want you to expose your children to the Scriptures. Kids are going to be kids and sometimes it will be difficult to keep them quiet even for just a few minutes. And as I said earlier, life is busy. All these things and more are working against you, but God’s grace is sufficient. Commit your way to the Lord (Psalm 37:5) and trust Him to give you the grace you need. I can guarantee that family worship will be a huge blessing to you and your family.
I would love to hear from you. What works for you or doesn’t work when it comes to family worship? Feel free to comment below or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org