“And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” —Deuteronomy 6:6–7
“Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” —Ephesians 6:4
Many of you may be like me and did not grow up in a Christian home and therefore did not receive the blessing of family worship as a child. When I was newly married, I knew the importance of leading my family spiritually but what that looked like practically was unknown to me. It wasn’t until an older brother in the faith befriended me that I was first introduced to the practice of family worship, and was greatly helped by seeing what that looks like in his family context.
One of the primary responsibilities that God gives parents is to raise their children in the instruction and discipline of the Lord. God calls parents to lead and love their family diligently; regularly reminding them of the faithfulness and glory of God found through the Lord Jesus Christ.
Parents need to display and demonstrate how God is the only object of supreme worth and the refuge to whom we run for the forgiveness of our sins. This responsibility is weighty and apart from God’s grace and His Spirit, it is impossible to faithfully raise our children in the instruction and discipline of the Lord. We must lean on his sufficient grace and strength as we seek to fulfil our responsibilities of child-rearing faithfully.
Throughout church history, one way that Christian parents have often sought to train their children was through the practice of family worship—an intentional time in the day which typically included the reading of Scripture, prayer, and singing together. Sadly, this practice has been lost for many Christian families today.
Many of us have done well at expounding what the Scriptures say about our family responsibilities but often fail at practically applying these truths. Matt Perman writes, “Downplaying of the practical is not only discouraging but actually an (unwitting) failure to love.” The blanket statement “It will look different for everyone,” while true, doesn’t mean that practical advice is unnecessary.
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.
As Matthew Henry pleads, “I beg of you for God’s sake, for Christ’s sake, for your own precious souls’ sake, and for the children’s sake of your own bodies, that you will live no longer in the neglect of so great, and necessary, and comfortable a duty as this of family-worship is.”
Derek Green (forthcoming)
Don Whitney, Family Worship (67 pages)
Joel Beeke, Family Worship (63 pages)
Matthew Henry, A Church in the House (73 pages)
John MacArthur Being a Dad Who Leads (141 pages)