Thoughts on Family Worship
A global pandemic creates a number of hardships, but also some surprising opportunities. For Christian families, one of those opportunities concerns family worship. When you can’t gather with your church, family worship takes on a new level of importance! How can parents make the best use of this time to cultivate faithful habits in family worship?
Perhaps the best place to start is with two words – Simplicity and Consistency. Aim for a simple pattern that you can consistently put into practice. In our home, I’ve modeled our family worship on what I witnessed in my wife’s family. After dinner, we simply read a passage from Scripture, working our way through a book of the Bible. Then one family member prays, and we’re finished. Sometimes a good conversation develops from the Scripture reading, but many times, we simply read. And because this pattern is so simple, it is easy for us to be consistent. We have a set time (after dinner), and we follow the same simple approach (read and pray). Many families I know also sing a song together. Again, that’s a simple pattern that leads to consistency.
When our kids were younger, we would read through short selections from a solid storybook Bible. There are several good options on the market. These resources are not only engaging for young children, but they also help parents teach their children the “big story” of Scripture. These are great tools for parents!
What about Scripture memory or more in-depth practices like catechisms? Those are wonderful goals to aim for in your family! How should you use them? Again, know your children, seek the Lord’s wisdom, and strive for a simple and consistent plan. If you’re just starting out in family worship, start small. Seriously, I’ll say it again. Start small. Aim for Scripture and prayer. Over time, you can add a memory verse or maybe a basic catechism for kids. When that time comes, make use of the good musical resources that encourage Scripture memory. But as your habits grow, continue to strive for simplicity and consistency.
As parents who love our children, we sincerely want them to grow and come to know the Lord. That desire, however, can often build a sense of pressure in a parent’s heart. “I’ve got to be doing more! I want my kids to love Jesus!” But remember, Dads and Moms, that faithfulness over the long haul is more important that impact in a single moment. Chances are good that your children won’t have a single night of family worship that changes the course of their lives (just like I won’t preach a single life-altering sermon!). But do you know what your children will remember? A consistent, faithful practice in your home that, over time, teaches and encourages them in the truth. That’s your calling as a parent – not single-moment impact, but faithfulness over the long haul.
And at the end of that next long day, remember the God who called you to this ministry of training your children. When you struggle to be faithful, he doesn’t. “He who calls you is faithful. He will surely do it.” (1 Thess. 5:24)