Over the past few years, I have had conversations with various people about family worship. I have become convinced that the father's responsibility is to lead his wife and children in drawing near to the Lord. James 4:8 says as we draw near to the Lord, He will draw near to us. Spending time together in the face of God each day is one part of drawing near to the Lord.
Spending time in worship throughout the week accomplishes several things:
- It prepares the family for corporate worship
- It encourages family members to abide in Christ
- It trains family members to study and trust in the Lord
- It shows the father's desire to be obedient to the Lord
- It shows the father's desire to know the Lord
- It shows the father's love for his family
The above list is not exhaustive, but it serves as a small example of the impact family worship can have on the family. During discussions, I found that many people do not know where to start when considering family worship. For years, I knew I needed to lead my family in worship and I wanted to, but I continually put it off for various reasons. I now think one of those reasons is that I did not know what to do.
Over the past few months, we have been diligent to spend time in worship together as a family several times a week. The Lord has answered my prayers and the prayers of my wife as we continually asked Him to lead us into this. Honestly, it kind of just started on day and we have continued since. I have considered posting what we do during worship each day on this blog. I'm not sure I can commit to doing it every day, but I am going to start randomly doing this to see if I can get it going regularly. I will tag them "Family Worship". For today's post, I would like to make a few preliminary suggestions for getting started for those of you that are in the position I was in a few months ago.
If you feel a slight interest or desire into leading your family in a time of worship (a.k.a quiet time, devotion, etc.) a few times per week, consider doing the following:
The books I've gathered around are:
- Ask the Lord to make this a priority, give you the knowledge of what to do, and for your wife to encourage you to lead in this way
- Try to get your hands on a hymnal
- Gather a book or two that you can quickly glean some wise scriptural insight from
- Keep the hymnal and these books together with your Bible so you can grab them all at once
- Tell your children to remind you about family worship and tell them they can stay up an extra few minutes when you worship (this creates REAL accountability!)
- Let your younger children (under 3) to move around the room as long as they are quiet. All other children should sit still and actively participate
- Use this as a time for scripture and hymn memory along with other things.
- Proverbs for Parenting written by Barbara Decker
- Essential Truths of the Christian Faith by R.C. Sproul
- Trinity Hymnal
Sometimes I spend five minutes preparing for worship, and other times, I simply wing it. You will find you are better prepared to "wing it" as you spend more time with the Lord personally. Also, it becomes easier as you do it more often.
I have a 4 year old, a 3 year old (well, 2 until April 19th), and a 16 month old. My wife participates in worship, but I talk to the children mostly. She adds helpful thoughts as we move through the time together.
I try to make it fun. As I'm reading something, I often skim it and tell it to them rather than read it to them. Especially when using the R.C. Sproul book. It's not on a 4 year old level! I do read difficult parts so my wife can hear it and be edified, but then I'll explain it on a child's level. For instance, today, we discussed the Lord's supper. I read about transubstantiation and consubstantiation. I then asked my 3 and 4 year old to try and say those words. They got a kick out of it. I then proceeded to explain the concepts on a child's level. The R.C. Sproul book explained it so I could understand it, and as I translate that to them I find that I understand what I read better. You will probably want to start on a little easier topic! I'm not sure I did too good at explaining it either because my children had blank stares, but it was time together around Biblical topics. Anyway, you get the picture. Make it fun, and do not worry about teaching them something perfectly every night. Besides, you have a few nights per week to train yourself in leading your family in worship. You will get better and if you start while your children are young, they will never remember when you stunk at it! Or at least, that is my hope!
Finally, we use this time to do scripture and hymn memory. We sing the same hymns each night for a while so they begin to know the words and can sing them with ease. The hymns we use are the ones from a CD they listen to while in the car. They love it. We also memorize a short proverb each week (for now). We may move on to the Ten commandments next. I like this because sometimes I will simply explain the memory verse as our Bible study time. This has worked out well because their Sunday school teacher (Mrs. Angela) asks them a memory verse each week so they are excited to have one to say.Today's Worship
So, for today, our time was a little longer than usualy. That's probably because I knew I was going to blog this and wanted to make it really good! But anyhow, here is what we did:
- Sing "Go, Go Joshua" (from miss pattycake..they love this one)
- Sing "O Worship the King" (3 verses from Trinity Hymnal)
- Recite Proverbs 19:20 several times (we do it together, individually, etc. as we try to help them remember it)
- Prayer (I pray for our time of worship)
- Discuss page 231 on the R.C. Sproul book (Topic: "The Lords's Supper")
- Sing "Amazing Grace" (vs 1 & 4)
- Resurrection Eggs..They love these so we've used these as our Bible study during Holy Week
- Group Prayer (Each person in the family prays out loud. We use this time to teach our children to pray).