Family worship is really simple. Read the bible, sing, and pray. As I mentioned yesterday, incorporating a catechism into the routine would be helpful, but if all you do is bible reading, singing, and prayer you are already doing GREAT. Here are some practical thoughts for each of these elements.
Scripture Reading Instructions
The bible must be a part our family culture. Children and parents need constant exposure to the sanctifying influences of the bible. They are many ways to encourage a bible saturated culture in your home, but none of them will be effective unless you read the bible in your home. Reading the bible together for family worship is an effective way to make sure the bible is a part of the speech, thoughts and deeds in your home.
The Scripture reading schedule provided in this booklet is designed to take your family through various portions of the scripture in a systematic and manageable fashion. Each week day is scheduled to sequentially move through key sections and entire books of the bible. On the week ends families are encouraged to be preparing together for Lord’s Day worship by reading through the passage from the upcoming sermon & then dedicating themselves to worship the Lord together with the church on the Lord’s Day. Corporate worship in the church is the pinnacle of our worship in the New Covenant and it should be emphasized heartily in the context of family worship. Pray for you church, prepare for church, and train your family to participate in church.
You can use this schedule as a way to get your family talking about the bible. Don’t see the schedule as another to-do list item or something to feel guilty about when you miss a day. Instead, view it as an opportunity to make the bible a part of your family’s every day conversation. If you miss a day on the list that’s okay, but the most important thing you are accomplishing is setting a biblical tone for your family life. The long term effects of consistent bible reading are far greater than the short term effects of one reading.
When you sit down to read do your best to read clearly, thoughtfully, and passionately. Some of these stories are really exciting and dramatic don’t make them boring by being boring. Encourage your family to think vividly about the vivid truths God has given to us. And don’t hesitate to give a quick explanation of a word for younger children when it is necessary. Family worship is probably going to be littered with interruptions, fidgety hands, and all kinds of distractions. That’s okay, and if you’re going to slow down for these natural interruptions you might as well slow down to explain what “propitiation” means.
Singing for family worship can be one of the most most rewarding elements of family worship. Practical hindrances (like possessing zero musical talent) can be overcome pretty easily by simply utilizing recorded music (mp3s, CDs). It is also helpful to incorporate the songs that your family will be singing at church on Sunday into your family worship. This is especially effective for helping younger children to prepare for corporate worship. Another way to involve everyone is to allow one person to pick the song on each day of the week. The most important thing is enjoy this time of praise and teach the whole family to enjoy music that expresses worship toward God.
It is important to spend time together praying as a family. As most Christians would attest to, prayer can be one of the hardest spiritual disciplines to cultivate in your life. Praying together as a family will help you make prayer a part of the fabric of your family’s life. It will give you the opportunity to model what prayer looks like to your family and it will also provide accountability for you to be in prayer each day. Daily family prayer is a way for you to fellowship with one another and with God at the same time.
When you pray together with small children allow them to pick one prayer request and pray for that. Be patient with them and continue to model biblical prayer in your prayer and you will see consistent growth in their expressions of prayer. If a child, or any member of the family, is not sure what to pray for have them start with the Lord’s Prayer.