Prioritize Family Worship
Let’s just admit something. There are two responses when someone sees the words, “Family Worship.”
The Traumatic Response
Some of you hear the phrase and begin to shudder, having traumatic flashbacks of trying to do devotions with your children in the midst of tears, fighting, or squirrely kids. In fact, there is probably a counseling center somewhere devoted simply to those with traumatic family worship memories.
The Guilty Response
Others of you feel guilty. You believe that everyone around you is experiencing dramatic family worship moments in which every night closes with a rousing rendition of “Just As I Am,” (complete with the George Beverly Shea sing-along track), while each of their children come weeping to their parents in repentance and then embrace the gospel as their only hope. And you feel guilty because you are either not doing Family Worship at all or your “worship” times feel more like Family Frustration Time.
Or perhaps you simply feel overwhelmed: how can I consider adding one more thing to my family life?
Family Worship at my house is not perfect, nor is it perfectly carried out every night of the week. But it is still important as a grace to my children, whether they are squirrely that night or not. So we keep striving toward Family Worship, knowing that God can use even the most hectic family times as grace for our children that night…or even 20 years later.
Recently, Donald Whitney provided “Five Reasons You Should Prioritize Family Worship,” in a blog on the Gospel Coalition website. If you need a good reminder as to why the chaos of trying to do Family Worship is important, read it. (I have to remind myself of these reasons nearly every week!) In particular, Whitney states:
Certainly you want your children to learn Scripture and how to live as a Christian from your pastor and others who teach in your church. That’s essential to Christian parenting. But you don’t want to outsource to the parents of other children all the Christian teaching your children receive.
Moms and Dads, let’s renew the call to teach our children how to worship God. They learn it best from you.
Of course this means too that they need to see you repenting in from of them as well. Family Worship works best when Mom and Dad are repenting regularly, bringing the gospel to bear on their own lives—so that when they see Mom and Dad worship during Family Worship, they know that they are not living a double life, but actually believe the gospel in all areas of their life—not just during Family Worship.
Finally, let me encourage those who are without children or empty nesters. You and your spouse need Family Worship too. Family Worship is not just for children, but it binds your spouse to you in ways that only worship can do. As well, it helps you as a couple move in the same trajectory in your spiritual lives.
And let’s extend grace to all: it’s okay to say that Family Worship is difficult at your home. Let’s strive together, encouraging one another to persevere in our calling to disciple our children…and ourselves.
Stay tuned, for tomorrow, I will explore a simple model for Family Worship.