On Thursdays, we have been thinking about spiritual disciplines. Recently we gave attention to the disciplines of corporate worship and personal worship. Today, let’s us think about family worship.
Of all these three worship disciplines, I think family worship is the most difficult. We are so busy and the older the children get, the harder it is to arrange schedules so the family can be together. One strategy may be that your family agrees to eat one meal together every day. Shared meals go a long way to create family relationships. A lot of research points to the positive benefits of families eating together every day. For our purposes, spending an extra few minutes at the table can bring a family together for worship. Here are some other ideas:
- Set a specific time and day for family worship. Keep the calendar clear at that time and stick with it. I have read Dallas Willard writing about growing up in his family. They shared breakfast together every day and that time always included recited the Lord’s Prayer together. He wrote how significant that practice became in his development. I know another family that meets about 8:00 one weeknight each week. They have been doing it so long, teens arrange their schedules so they are home by that time that night.
- Capitalize on church worship services. Worship together as a family. Then talk about it. In our home, we set aside some table conversation every Sunday at lunch to talk about what we learned at church on Sunday. We discussed the Sunday School lesson and the pastor’s sermon.
- As parents, take turns leading the family worship time.
- As children come of sufficient age, they can take turns in leading a song, reading scriptures, and eventually, leading the discussion.
- Build family worship traditions. Some families have a special favorite meal once a week prior to family worship. Some light a family worship candle and turn down the lights.
- As a treat, invite another family in for your family worship time.
- When able, plan a family worship time outdoors.
- Use the time to memorize a Bible verse together. Be age-appropriate with simple verses while the kids are very young.
- For couples, there are dozens of great books out there. Do a search online to find one, order it, and put it to use.
- For families with children, many churches use curriculum that include family devotion materials. Ask your Bible study ministry leader, a staff member, or your pastor for identifying these resources.
- For families with teens I strongly recommend Heart Connex: Free Devotions for Parents and Teens. You simply download this free resource, follow the directions and worship together.
- Turn to your church’s Sunday School material for suggested daily Bible readings. You will likely find these in your learner’s guide.
- Read a Psalm together as a family and then pray together.
- Help your kids read their Sunday School lessons prior to Sunday. Help them with their AWANA assignments. These can become family worship times. They count too.
- I wrote about some additional ideas in Helping Parents in Your Small Group, a previous post.
One more note: Parents, you hold the keys here. Be realistic about developing the practice of family worship. You will have some struggles and discouragements along the way. Loosen up about it. Be simple. Be regular. Just keep sticking with it. Be enthusiastic about family worship and talk genuinely about how much it means to you. What you think is important and will become obvious to your kids. The value you are building into your family with this practice will accumulate over time and has a lasting influence throughout your kids’ lives.
Scripture: Read Psalm 22:27. The psalmist is referring to the future. What importance does this verse put on family worship?
Dig Deeper: Read The Disciple-Making Parent: A Comprehensive Guidebook for Raising Your Children to Love and Follow Jesus Christ by Chap Bettis.
Now It’s Your Turn: What has been a good family worship experience for you? Please share your ideas so we can all grow together.