Rylan has been married to Carleigh for six years and together they have four children, all under 4 years old. He is an elder at Hill City Baptist Church, and is a founding member and principal of Kawartha Classical Christian School in Peterborough, Ontario.
When did you start doing family worship?
We’ve been doing some form of devotional time or family worship since we first got married. It has taken various shapes and forms over those few years, but we knew from the outset that our marriage will need time together in the Word and in prayer if it is going to flourish. When we had kids, the burden for family worship only increased as we knew that we needed our souls to receive grace and help from God if we were to convey the grace of Christ to our children as well.
What does family worship look like in your home?
In the current season of life, my own personal schedule is rather unpredictable, so we have a fixed time and routine but we sometimes have to compromise. Without a sense of knowing that there is a specific time we always aim to spend time thinking on the Word and the gospel hope, we simply would let the busyness of life distract us.
Since work usually requires me to be away or busy in the morning, my wife is regularly spending breakfast time reading through a chapter of the Scripture to our kids (front to back, one book at a time, they are currently in Numbers!) and then reading them from Missy and Bill’s ABC’s of Scripture (a great little resource for verse memory, and gospel application).
Usually she concludes with a hymn or song the kids know. Normally this is about a 15–20 minute exercise.
At dinnertime I prioritize being home with the family so that we can eat together and I can lead us through a few verses of Matthew’s Gospel, after which I try to take ONE simple point and articulate it through illustration and examples to my oldest kids (3 ½, and 2 ½). After that we pray for God to give us his Spirit to live by whatever truths we have discussed.
At bedtime after my wife has read a chapter of some short children’s book we invite our two oldest to offer what they are thankful for and what they would like to pray for God’s help with. Sometimes my son Calvin, 2 ½ will pray with my help. We give our thanks to God, we ask for his help, and we pray that he saves their little souls. Then we sing one hymn (or sometimes only one verse depending on the craziness of the night!) and entrust our kids to God through the night.
We often forget or miss out various portions of family worship depending on how difficult things are with the kids or how busy the schedule for the week is but everyday we try to give ourselves to making sure we get back on track. Life happens and we don’t beat ourselves up for missing a day. However, we know that these little exercises are a means of God’s grace to us and our kids. We know holiness is comprised of habits and so we also tremble to think what our lives would be if we didn’t pray and read and praise the Lord each day.