When our twin daughters were very young, Steph and I committed 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 God’s Word, to worship and pray together. It reminds us of what is the most important thing on a daily basis.
The impetus for family worship comes from Scripture itself. As Paul wrote, “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). Or, consider Psalm 78:4: “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.”
Other Verses could be given but suffice it to say that parents have the all-important responsibility of teaching and making disciples of their children. This cannot be passed off and delegated to someone else. This divine vocation is our responsibility!
Prioritize family worship
With our busy schedule, things like family worship can easily lose its priority. But we must not let our time margins get squeezed out in favour of things that are good, but not ultimate. Worship God as a family fits in that “ultimate” category. Most of the time, we do family worship in the morning after breakfast. This has been the best time for our family, but regardless of the time, you need to find that chunk of time that works best for you.
How to practice family worship
The next big question is how to practice it? What is family worship like? Depending on your family, the method and content of family work may vary, but the most important thing is to expose you and your children 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 explain it and ask my kids questions about the text. It doesn’t require a lot of preparations, you just need to start reading the Bible together. Over the years, we also have taken advantage of several supplementary resources in addition to Bible-reading.
Here are some sources:
- New City Catechism: Fantastic resource! There are 52 questions and answers to teach your children doctrines 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!
You need to foster a love of singing in your children through singing together at the family worship. 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.
In recent years, our family began to listen to podcasts together. Here are three we listen to: 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 and you want to understand that book a little better, the Bible Project is a fantastic resource. The Bible Project has hundreds of videos that help you to better understand the Bible and Christian theology.
With all these resources, family worship is not hard! It can be as long as 10 to15 minutes, and it can be a lot of fun for both the parents and the kids. The important thing is to commit, which means to find a suitable time, and follow through on it.
However, there will be hard times. Kids could find it difficult to be quiet and pay attention for just a few minutes. By God’s grace, commit your way to the Lord (Ps 37:5) and trust him. Family worship will be a great blessing to you and your family.