My desire and prayer is that this article will provide all readers with practical advice on conducting family worship daily.
I am absolutely convinced that family worship is invaluable. My spiritual life was tremendously moulded, nurtured and strengthened through family devotions that my parents conducted every day in the morning and in the evening. Being convinced of the blessings of family worship, I have constantly strived to maintain family worship in my own family since my marriage. I can sincerely and assuredly say that the morning family worship is the principal thing in our home. As the head of my family, my greatest priority is to lead my wife and children in early morning worship of God, and I believe that is the best contribution in nurturing my family and guiding everyone into the Lord’s blessings.
In a world of terrible moral corruption and religious deterioration, having daily family worship is the best protection against the sins that are rampant in our society. It is also the best aid in nurturing the fear of God in our children’s heart. May our families seek the Lord that we may escape the corruption and tragedies that are predicted concerning those who do not seek the Lord – “Pour out thy fury upon the heathen that know thee not, and upon the families that call not on thy name” (Jeremiah 10:25). O, may we not be weary of calling upon the Lord!
Preparation for Family Worship
Family worship requires some planning and preparation.
- Decide on the best time that your family can come together to worship the Lord. It will require some effort and even sacrifice during certain periods. (Plan to meet at least once a day. Certainly, it is most desirable to have it in the morning and in the evening. It can be just before your breakfast or evening meal – whatever time that is most appropriate for your family.)
- Be prepared to spend about 20 minutes for family worship.
- Have your hymnals or songbooks ready. (It is good to have a copy for everyone.)
- Have your Bibles ready, if necessary, a devotional book too. (Devotions can be found at www. gethsemanebpc.com/resources/daily-devotion.)
- Wake up early and refresh yourselves so that you call everyone to gather for worship. If you are unwell and therefore unable to lead in the family worship, assign your wife or one of your older children to take the lead.
- If an unpleasant situation has occurred or if you have lost your temper before your family worship time, make every effort to quickly resolve the matter in your own heart. Pray in your heart for peace, gentleness and the right spirit to sit with all in the family and worship the Lord. In such circumstances, if you acknowledge your sins and seek peace, family worship will become a very meaningful spiritual exercise.
Programme for Family Worship
Determine what you should do when your family meets for worship. Once decided, as much as possible, keep to your plan. In this way, you can avoid disorderliness and wasting of time.
I would suggest “an order of family worship” below, but you may have a different order that suits your situation. Be alert and watchful so that whatever you plan to do, it would be God-honouring and biblical.
- Sing a psalm or hymn. Choose one that all can sing together. If you have young children, you may choose children’s songs or short choruses or Scripture in song. If time permits, you can even teach a new hymn or song. (Allocate about 3-5 minutes.)
- Read a portion of the Scriptures, give a brief exposition and then apply it for the benefit of your family. You may choose to read through the entire Bible or certain books of the Bible by apportioning a section of few verses each day. Or you may choose to follow the portion of the Scriptures suggested in a devotional resource that you are using. (Allocate about 10-15 minutes.) When you have more time during weekends or holidays, you can even have a serious Bible Study on a topic or a portion of the Scriptures.
- Offer prayer to praise God for His salvation and goodness, and to pray for His forgiveness, sanctification, guidance, provision and protection. Apart from praying on behalf of the family, prayers must also be offered for your church, missionaries and others whom you know. The head of the family may ask other members of the family to pray on certain occasions. (Allocate 5-10 minutes.)
Protect Family Worship
There are many hindrances that are perilous to family worship. We must always be alert to avoid them. It is impossible to discuss all possible problems and obstacles in this article. I would just discuss a few of these possible hindrances here. Let us be watchful so that we will not succumb to these perils. Take whatever precautions needed to prevent the failure of family worship in your homes.
- Don’t make excuses to avoid family worship. Fight off tiredness and sleepiness. Lethargy and indifference are common enemies of family worship.
- Lead with a firm, fatherly hand and yet be gracious and tender-hearted. Require everyone to pay attention. As loving as you are, never give allowance for bad attitude and misbehaviour.
- Don’t allow interruptions. TV shows, phone calls and all such distractions must be avoided. The worship of God requires wholeheartedness and solemnity.
- Be careful to teach the Word accurately, aptly and affectionately. Don’t be vague when you explain the Word. It is very important that your instruction is doctrinally pure and relevant in application. Explain how a text has affected you, or your family life or church or other great men of God in history. This would help the family members to see the relevance of the Bible. Prepare early to teach. If you are incapable of expounding, obtain a good devotional guide with the help of your church leaders.
- When the children are young, let your teaching be within their grasp. Your prayers must be simple without being shallow. Keep the length of your teaching and prayer according to the abilities of your children.
- Inconsiderate leading of family worship can be detrimental to family worship. Don’t let family worship drag on. Be mindful of the capabilities of your young children.
- Be mindful during worship that your attitude and words will not frustrate and provoke other family members. Even though we must rebuke and correct while applying the Word of God, we must take heed not to turn the times of worship into occasions to lash out at others and to nag at them for their mistakes. I have heard of family worship turning into a time of arguments and quarrels so much so that family members refuse to gather together.
- From time to time, remind the family members of the significance of good attitude in family worship. Tell them that all must participate reverentially and joyfully. Remind them that your family owes God gratitude and allegiance for His mercies and faithfulness.
- If you have lost your temper, and find yourself having no mood to participate, do not abandon worship altogether. If you have made a mistake, apologise and move on in worship. If others have made a mistake, correct them with love, and quickly move on in worship.
- If you ever become weary of leading the family worship, encourage yourselves by recollecting the blessings of family worship. Caution yourselves against the spiritual maladies that can trouble your family if you fail in providing spiritual leadership to the family.
- Remember to pray on your own for the protection and blessing of your family worship.