Do you have family devotions in your home? Does your family read Scripture and pray together on a regular basis?
If not, I urge you to start a routine of family worship. Don’t just relegate the worship of God to Sunday at church, but bring a little bit of church into your home. It’s one of the most important things you can do as a Christian family.
Granted, no single Bible verse commands what we call “family worship”. However, devotions as a family is one important way to carry out the teaching of these verses:
1. Deuternonomy 6:6, 7.
And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.
God meant for his people to weave his Word into the daily fabric of their lives at home. Parents were to teach their children about the Lord in the humdrum of their day to day living. I fear that many Christian parents today haven’t adopted this biblical standard of incorporating the Word of God into their families’ lives. A routine of family devotions is a way to remedy that.
2. Ephesians 6:4.
Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
God has appointed fathers to take the lead in training our children in the Christian faith. This verse doesn’t give a formulaic method for how to do this, but regular family worship is certainly one crucial component.
So dads, how are you doing in this area of spiritual leadership?
Like everything in the Christian life, we need God’s grace to begin and sustain this spiritual discipline. But if by his grace we make this a habit and pattern in our homes, I am convinced the blessings of God will follow. When you read the Scriptures with your family, pray with them, sing psalms and hymns with them, you are making a deep and indelible impression on the hearts of your little ones.
And in general, what’s important to parents becomes important to kids. If they see that Christ means enough to you to make family worship a priority, likely Christ will mean much to them.
In a word, God may use regular family devotions as a means of drawing our children to faith in Christ. Covenant promises entail covenant responsibilities.
If you haven’t begun family worship, I write this as a brotherly exhortation, not a guilt-inducing rebuke. And in that spirit of offering what I hope is help and encouragement, here are the “ABC’s” of family worship:
A. ARRANGE time for family devotions.
Like prayer, or exercise, or writing letters, family devotions will never become a reality until you actually plan for it. Simply making this a priority, and making time for it, is 90% of the battle. Families don’t “naturally” have times of worship. Until you plan them, devotions will forever remain in that nebulous category of things you know you really should do… one of these days (but somehow you never get to them).
B. Be BRIEF.
You need not inflict a 45-minute sermon on your family. Leave that to the professionals! Even 5 to 10 minutes is enough time to read a passage of Scripture, talk about it, and pray. I believe the blessings your family will reap from this practice are hugely disproportionate to the time and energy you spend in it.
C. Be CONSISTENT.
By “consistent”, I mean regular, habitual. Don’t worry if you miss a day or two now and then. Or if your devotions languish during a vacation. The key is to establish a habit of family devotions so that doing them is the norm, not the exception.
Why not start (or resume) family worship – today?
For more help:
I usually don’t recommend books I haven’t read myself, but just based on others’ recommendations, this looks like a good resource to help and encourage you in leading family worship: A Neglected Grace: Family Worship in the Christian Home, by Jason Helopoulos.