Our children and grandchildren are precious gifts. As parents and grandparents, you may know that that children are not an indifferent matter. They need food, water, shelter, and clothes. But even more than that, a child needs to feel safe, to be loved, to know that they are heard. Just as we are comprised of body and soul, so are our little ones. They only need more juice and crackers than we do. In addition, our little ones need the glory of the Gospel.
Just as we’ve been tasked to provide and care for them physically, so it is our unique privilege and duty to provide for them spiritually. One of the primary ways we caregivers disciple our children is by bringing them to public worship. But how do we continue to pastor our children’s hearts in this season of self-quarantine? This is where family worship becomes immensely important.
Family worship is the purposeful worship of God in the home. Family worship is intended to prepare both ourselves and our children for a lifelong journey through the pages of Scripture. It provides a means to discuss all the parts of the Bible, from the more comforting to the more complex sections. Family worship also enables us to train our children for public worship. We have everything to gain from this, and everything to lose should we be indifferent.
What does family worship practically look like? Although there are various methods of pursuing this end, I have been a fan of simplicity, and will limit our brief consideration under these three headings: 1) Read; 2) Sing; 3) Pray.
1) Read – This may be the most obvious, but Scripture can easily fall out of vogue in our age of glorified opinions. We often try to honor the opinions of others, but shouldn’t we give central focus to what God has said? Though there are great devotional tools, God has spoken to us most clearly through the Bible. Consider Timothy the great overseer of Ephesus. Paul tells us it was by means of the faithful ministry of his family which led to his salvation. Timothy did not stumble into his faith; like a child supported by his parents, he was guided to Christ. The chief place must always be given to Scripture. So read a section and discuss it with each other. Ask “What stood out to you?,” or “What do we learn about God?” Start with the youngest, and work your way to the more seasoned saints.
2) Sing – Yes, you should sing. Often folks are weird about singing but God delights in our signing. Psalm 95:1 proclaims, “Oh come, let us sing to the LORD; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!” (ESV) There are three commands there: Come; Sing; Make a joyful noise. Be encouraged friends. God does not demand a perfect musical performance, instead He calls us to make a joyful noise unto him. Why sing? Martin Luther wrote, “Music drives away the Devil and makes people joyful; they forget thereby all wrath, unchastity, arrogance, and the like.” Think in your own life how hymns and songs have been a source of encouragement. Pass that gift on to your little ones.
3) Pray – Much like swimming, you can only get better at praying by doing it. We must teach our little ones to pray. We must foster an environment where they can learn to do that, and the best way to do so is model it for them out loud. What happens if we fail to do this? They may never be most comfortable doing what God considers our communing with Him. Our prayers can comfort those around us, and remind them of God’s promises. I am often reminded at how a timely prayer from my little ones has comforted my heart. Right now, our hearts need to be more affected by prayer than by the news. But don’t only model prayer, ask your little ones to pray. Ask your teenagers to pray. Ask your spouse to pray. It’s only a “weird” act in our culture because we’ve allowed it to become so. But we will never overcome this until we purposefully choose to pray out loud. We need to build a culture of prayer.
I pray that you would be brave and enter (or continue) into one of the more ancient practices of the church. I pray that you would use this time at home to cultivate this holy devotion so that you and your family would grow in Christ, and see how simply reading a small section of the Bible, singing a hymn, and praying together can transform your home. Start with the Gospel of Mark. Utilize Youtube for hymns. Pray simple, short honest prayers. If you would like more information or resources in the practice of family worship, please reach out to us! Now get to it!
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