As we have been looking at various topics related to the family this month, I thought it would be good to look at another spiritual discipline that lies at the heart of a godly home--family worship.
While exploring resources, I found a great video over at Desiring God, by a pastor named Joel Beeke worth watching. It's addressed primarily to a large group of evangelical pastors--but his suggestions are worth considering for any of us. Basically he makes the following points:
First, he notes parents have a biblical responsibility to worship God with their children. It's not just a good practice--it's a duty. As long as the children of Israel did this, they stayed faithful and true. When they stopped, they went astray. It's just as important today.
Second, he gives important guidelines for worship. Keep it simple. Keep it short (10-20 minutes). And be consistent. Avoid spending 45 minutes one day and none the next.
Third, try to include the following three components:
Bible Study -- Read a short passage and talk about it, asking questions to make sure children understand it's basic points. Keep the passage relevant by highlighting potential application.
Prayer -- Limit the prayer time to just a few minutes each day. Encourage family member to share their burdens, and pray for those requests.
Songs of Praise -- Sing one or two hymns. If you know some Scripture songs, consider using those at times.
He then goes on to deal with common objections to family worship, and then shares a number of things that will help motivate us. And lastly, he encourages us to start today!
Here's the video if you have a some time. It's worth watching.
Did you grow up experiencing family worship? What memories stand out? Do you currently practice family worship? What tips have you found most helpful? If not, do you have questions about family worship?
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Posted by Carole Bliss on 03/27/17
The video was very rich and inspiring. It shows what God will do, when we
spend time with HIM and be the leader God would have us be.
If the husband does not take that role, the wife needs to do that.
In my case, it was me.
Posted by Fiona van Wyk on 03/25/17
Good idea, Pam. I used to teach Sabbath School to all ages of children and youth, at different times and occasions, and I was always looking for new suggestions to make the lessons interesting. I didn't know about these techniques then ...
Posted by Pamela Kendall on 03/24/17
I grew up with family worship. We would study the Sabbath School Lessons, read through Uncle Arther's Bible Story books, or read through other devotional books. It gave me a good foundational knowledge of the Bible and especially the Bible Stories. We would also sing and pray during worship.
I live alone, but if I ever have children in the future I would want to have family worship with them. I do believe it is very important. In addition to Bible/devotional reading. I would like to add some of the meditation/application techniques I am learning at FAST to the family worship time - asking at least a question or two to get the kids thinking and spend a little time discussing the story/lesson and how to apply it. It would be wonderful for children to learn these techniques while they are still young and be able to use them all through life! It might help if I would study/meditate on the story myself before family worship so I would be better able to lead the children in meditation. I guess even though I don't have kids of my own I could practice adding meditation questions/application ideas when I teach Sabbath School (I'm a substitute Kindergarten Sabbath School Teacher).
Posted by Fiona van Wyk on 03/21/17
I really enjoyed the video, Dan. It was really moving... The man spoke with conviction and deep emotion. Thank you for sharing it with us. I can highly recommend it - especially to those who have families.
Posted by Dan Vis on 03/21/17
Hi Tasha, great to hear from you! Hope all is well. Thanks for sharing. Miss you and your family!
John, I appreciate your testimony also. What a wonderful confirmation of the importance of family worship esp when we have small children at home.
Posted by John Gilmore on 03/21/17
I was brought up Methodist and remember bedtime and mealtime prayers as the only family worship practices. My wife and I, having become Seventh-day Adventists earlier, started family worship very soon after our wedding. It has been a blessing in many ways. For example, one of our adult children pointed to family worship time as one of the powerful influences toward her conversion.
Posted by Tasha Hamilton on 03/20/17
I did not grow up in a home where family worship was done. When I came into the Adventist Church, family worship was a very foreign concept. Now we make it a point to come together every morning and evening. We usually read a youth devotional, or go over the kids' Sabbath School lesson for that day, or we read a passage from the Bible and commit to memorize a verse or one of the children will lead out. It is the highlight of each of our day. If ever we miss a day, we are all negatively affected. May the Lord help us to be faithful.
Posted by Jessie Butterfield on 03/20/17
I didn't grow up with family worship. I live alone now, but I have a very strong devotional life. I accepted Christ a little over 12 1/2 years ago. I didn't have a close walk with him back then, but it has gotten stronger with time.
Posted by Ann Lavenburg on 03/20/17
My family had worship frequently when I was small and we were all together. As we grew up and my older siblings left home it was frequently just my mother and I reading Oswald Chambers "My utmost for his highest." I treasure that memory of watching for the bus and having worship with my mother. I grew up a Free Methodist was baptized at 25 and married an Adventist who was not used to family worship. He lived in a divided home. Our worship together has been spotty at best. I think I said a very unwise criticism 30 years ago and it was used as an excuse for not doing family worship. My husband is now trying to do it so I encourage every effort. I have always had a very consistent devotional life but I very much missed family worship. Hopefully it will continue to improve.
Posted by Carole Bliss on 03/20/17
I did not grow up with family worship, but when my children came along,
we had evening worship together. Even when they went away to college,
we had that time together.
I see it to be vital for families.
Posted by Dan Vis on 03/20/17
Great ideas Leslie! Appreciate all the suggestions, including some games children might enjoy. Thanks!
Posted by Leslie Caza on 03/20/17
I didn't grow up having family worship, but after I became a believer, we did have morning and evening worship with our children, and now we have it with just my husband and me. We went through the hymnal, learning one new hymn a week. We read, did memory verses, and as the Sabbath hours closed did sword drills, Bible "guessings" (a game like 20 questions), or Bible charades. Most evenings, after family worship read a story that taught character development (biographies, mission stories, Rod and Staff children's stories etc). When are children were of greatly different ages we sang together but separated for the "lesson" time (there's 12 years between our oldest and youngest). Our children had access to Uncle Dan and Aunt Sue Bible stories on cassette which they were allowed to listen to while folding laundry. Don't miss any opportunity to let your children delight themselves in the Lord! You will all be blessed.
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