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Family Worship with Dennis Doty

Editors’ note: 

In an attempt to embody this practical emphasis, I’ve compiled a series of brief interviews with a handful of men. I hope these interviews will provide a helpful overview of what family worship looks life in their families and an example for those seeking to engage their family in worship. This series aims not to provide you with the why of family worship, but the how in order to encourage you to start, or persevere, in leading your own family. We hope that you will glean some ideas that you can transfer to your own family context, and that it will ultimately help your family behold and worship Christ all the days of their lives. — Chance Faulkner

Dennis has been married to Alecia for 11 years and together they have three children, ages 6, 2, and 1. Dennis is the Associate Pastor of Christian Education at Westminster Chapel and the principal of Westminster Classical Christian Academy

When did you first start practicing family worship?

We started family worship when we had our first daughter six years ago.

How does your family practice family worship?

We use the devotional Seeking God’s Face: Praying with the Bible. The devotional includes an “Invitation” verse, a Psalm, New Testament reading, concluding verse, and a recommended prayer and “free” prayer ideas. The readings also follow the church calendar.

At the time of this writing, our kids are ages 6, 2, and 1, so we keep it short and simple. We do it at dinner and at the dinner table. After the table is set, before anyone eats, I will read a short verse from the devotional, have the family repeat after me, then pray. The opening verse I read and we recite is the same for the whole week. A new one is introduced on Sundays.

Towards the end of the meal, I will read either a Psalm or New Testament reading from the devotional. I will then ask and review a catechism question that our whole church is learning. Due to the ages of our children I may modify the question to make it more digestible (i.e. What is the Word of God? The Holy Bible, made up of the Old and New Testaments, is the word of God).

We desire to cultivate in our children a love and prayer for the nations. To this end, I use, “Praying for the Muslims: prayer guide for kids.” After prayer, we sing a hymn that we are learning at school or church.

One additional means of cultivating worship and literacy for our children is my wife will use breakfast as a “Morning Time” routine. This consists of prayer, eating, Bible story, reading and reciting poetry/fairy tales, then memory work such as catechisms, Bible verses, and singing. There are many ways to approach “Morning Time.” It’s a great way to establish a routine and in a short amount of time. 

What advice would you give to someone who desires to start family worship?

Work to keep it short and simple and strive for consistency. It is easy to become overwhelmed at the idea of needing to do more. Consider our family; we only recently added the prayer for the Nations and included it because it, too, was short, simple, and easy to include. There are definitely great resources out there to add more content.

Recommended Resources

A Handbook for Morning Time by Cindy Rollins

Seeking God’s Face: Praying with the Bible

Praying for the Muslims: prayer guide for kids.”

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