Rediscovering Family Worship

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They that pray in the family do well; they that pray and read the Scriptures do better; but they that pray, and read, and sing do best of all.—Matthew Henry

Nothing comes more natural to a child than singing songs. Trust me, I know. I have little girls that sing everywhere they go—in the car, at home, at school, in the shower, etc. The reason children love music and singing is because God has created each one of us, young and old, to worship Him. The Bible reminds us that children are not too young to worship or understand their faith. The Bible says, “Out of the mouth of infants and nursing babies you have prepared praise” (Matt. 21:16). Since the birth of Christianity, prayer and worship have been essential elements of practicing our faith.

Worship is the act of giving all of ourselves back to God by giving Him respect, reverence, honor, and glory. The English word means “worthship” and carries the idea of worthiness. God is worthy of our highest praise and worship. God has called us to live “to the praise of his glory” (Eph. 1:12). We are here to glorify and know the God who created us. True worship of God begins in our hearts as we give adoration, glory, and praise to God and then it manifests outwardly as we lift up our voices to God in prayer, praise, and song. Worship is more than singing or clapping our hands; worship involves all that we are and it influences how we live our lives for God. The writer of Psalms tells us to “Worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness” (96:9). Living our lives for God in love and holiness is perhaps one of the highest forms of worship that we can offer to God (see Romans 12:10).

Rediscovering Family Worship

Worship is not just something we do on Sunday mornings, but something that should take place in our homes. Christian families everywhere are beginning to rediscover the great blessing of family worship. What is family worship? Family worship is simply coming together as a family and worshiping God in the home. In the same way we come together for a time of corporate worship in the church, we also come together in the home for a time of family worship that involves prayer, reading Scripture, and singing songs. Author Jason Helopoulos reminds us, “We need to hear about the need for family worship in our homes. . . . My hope is that our Christian homes will once again be filled with fathers, mothers, husbands, wives, children, sisters, and brothers that are worshiping to the glory of God.”

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The truth is, your home is like a little church. The Reformers, including Martin Luther and John Calvin, promoted family worship in the home and called upon parents to disciple their children. Later, Christians in England and America carried on the emphasis on family worship and discipleship. John Wesley wrote a Collection of Prayers for Families, which were to be used for morning and evening prayers throughout the week. The pastoral theo-logian Jonathan Edwards reminds us that “Every Christian family ought to be as it were a little church.”2 In other words, parents have a moral and spiritual responsibility to make the home a place of Christian worship and discipleship. We bring the components of a worship service—which include reading the Bible, praying, and singing—into our homes through family worship.

Keep It Simple

At this point you may be thinking, “This isn’t for me.” or “Okay, this sounds pretty hard to do.” I admit that the idea of family worship may seem a little intimidating at first, but don’t let it be. Honestly, every Christian parent can lead their home in family worship. It’s really not that hard. Teaching your kids about your faith and sharing in a time of family worship isn’t just for trained theologians or pastors with kids. It’s for all of us, including single parents, working parents, and parents who are new to the faith. Trust me, if my wife and I can do it, you can do it too.

I remember the first time we gathered together as a family to read the Bible, pray, and sing songs to the Lord. Our girls were still very young, but we made it a special time for the entire family by allowing our children to be involved in the prayers, the singing, and reading the Bible. As the parents, we provide the guidance, but everyone can play a part in your time of family worship. We let our girls share in leading the prayers and reading the Scriptures. The fact is, family worship doesn’t have to be stuffy or boring, but can be fun and uplifting. Let everyone play a part and get involved in your time together. The key to family worship is to start small and finish big. It’s worth it because your children really do want to know about God. The truth is family worship is not that hard, so keep it simple.

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Living Room Liturgy is written to help you worship in the everyday moments of life in your home. It contains liturgies and shorter prayers that can be used while enjoying a morning cup of coffee, at the dinner table, while you’re spending time with your loved ones in your living room, or in the evenings at your children’s bedsides before they fall asleep. This book is designed to be used in ordinary times throughout the day and for special occasions throughout the year. Use these liturgies and prayers at your own pace; add songs or additional scriptures, or pray additional prayers. You will find your faith refreshed as you use these liturgies in your everyday life, especially in your home.

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Winfield Bevins has a passion for equipping others to spread the gospel in their own context. He serves as the Director of Asbury Seminary’s Church Planting Initiative. As a seasoned practitioner, he has used his experience to train leaders from diverse backgrounds on three different continents. He frequently speaks at conferences, churches, seminaries and retreats on a variety of topics. He is the author of several books, including Church Planting Revolution, Field Guide for Daily Prayer and Ever Ancient, Ever New. He and his wife Kay, have three beautiful girls Elizabeth, Anna Belle, and Caroline.

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