A Model for Family Worship
Yesterday, I wrote about the importance of Family Worship. If you never have tried Family Worship or you are looking for a new model, let me suggest one example: Read, Sing, Pray. Keep in mind, this is not the only way to do Family Worship. So if you have a pattern that works for you, keep it! Our practice takes only 10-15 minutes…much more and our family would probably spontaneously combust!
A Model for Family Worship
Read a short passage of Scripture. Especially with little children, keep it short! I discovered the hard way that three-year-olds don’t like dramatic readings from the book of Leviticus.
With our young kids, I focus on simply a few verses. Anything more and they are lost in their thoughts of fighter jets, super heroes, and dolls.
Sometimes I will highlight just one verse and say a comment or two about it. So for instance, last night I read to them Psalm 37 and on the final verse where it says, “…because they take refuge in him,” I asked, “what does it mean to take refuge in God?” This led to a very brief discussion about how when we are afraid we run to God with our fears and trust that he will act on our behalf.
After we read a brief Scripture selection, we sing 2-3 songs (if they are infected with ants-in-the-pants, it may be only 1 song!). Singing started out hard for our family, but it has now grown a love within the children to sing.
Most nights we use the ECC Family Hymnal that was passed out two or three years ago (thank you Colleen and Isaac!). There is also a great new resource published by Master’s Seminary: Hymns of Grace. I highly recommend this (recent Joyful Noise graduates received one). We also select a hymn for each child at their birth, and sometimes the children enjoy singing their hymn.
The singing is often loud, off key, and sometimes just crazy (ok, always crazy). But the words of the hymns are working deep down into their hearts, communicating biblical teaching to our children. As well, it is modeling to the children our corporate worship service at ECC so that they learn how to be a part of the service on Sundays.
After singing a few songs, we pray. Most often a couple of the children pray short things that they want to bring to God. We also have one of our children always pray for a country and/or people group that needs the gospel (for a great help, see The Joshua Project). Then I close us by praying for our family. As a tradition, we always end our prayer time by singing the Doxology.
The End of the Matter
Do all our nights go well? No. Do we ever miss a night? Certainly. Sometimes the schedule is just too full; sometimes the kids are just to cranky; and sometimes…mom and dad are just too tired.
But the simple pattern of Read, Sing, Pray teaches our children how to hear God’s Word, sing God’s Word and pray God’s Word. The fruit is not always immediate. My prayer is that decades from now the Word of God would return to them, beckoning them to repentance and faith in Jesus above all things.
If you are looking for a model, try it out; let me know how it goes. And let’s encourage each other to keep our families prioritized on the worship of God, both in the home and in the corporate gathering of the people of God. Our children need the fuel of worshipping God, and so do we.