A Simple Guide To Family Worship
“Because the Christian is not his own, but bought with a price, he is to aim at glorifying God in every relation of life. No matter what station he occupies, or wherever he be, he is to serve as a witness for Christ. Next to the church of God, his own home should be the sphere of his most manifest devotedness unto Him. All its arrangements should bear the stamp of his heavenly calling. All its affairs should be so ordered that everyone entering it should feel ‘God is here!’ ” – A. W. Pink
I aim to set before you concise Biblical reasons and guidelines for family worship. It seems that few Christians can remember having daily family worship times in their homes. Therefore the thought of beginning this new pattern of worship can be daunting for those just beginning. This guide addresses some of the most basic questions on family worship. I pray that you will be more emboldened and equipped to lead your family in worship through using this guide. You are expected to read and study the Bible references.
The Second London Baptist Confession of Faith (1689) highlights, “…God is to be worshipped everywhere in spirit and in truth: as in private families daily…which are not carelessly nor wilfully to be neglected or forsaken…” (22:6).
What does the Bible say about Family Worship?
The importance of the home in discipleship is prominent throughout the Scriptures, which includes Family Worship. In the Old Testament, we read that discipleship is something ongoing throughout each day (Deut. 6:6-7). Passages such as Gen. 18:19, Ps. 78:3-7 and Isa 38:19 give more formal instruction.
The New Testament commands the fathers to bring up children in the nurture and admonition (i.e. discipline and instruction) of the Lord (Eph. 6:4). Timothy, a disciple of Paul, was first discipled by his mother, Eunice and his grandmother, Lois (2 Tim 1:5). Parents, especially fathers, have the primary responsibility for the spiritual instruction and vitality of their families. We must also take special note that the Lord rebukes the families who do not offer up worship in their homes (Jer. 10:25). The 80-year-old Joshua announced to all Israel, “As for me and my house we will serve [also means in Hebrew, worship] the LORD” (Josh. 24:15). In summary, the foundation of family worship in the Bible is in the idea of responsibility.
What are the Benefits of Family Worship?
Family worship brings glory to God. God is most glorified when His people, in obedience to His Word, value Him above all other things. Family worship is a visible reminder for all in the home that God is worthy of our time, attention, and affection. Furthermore, family worship glorifies God as His followers are conformed more and more into the image of Christ. The love of Christ will more abound in a home where worship is central. Through it we show that, as well as worshipping God in private and in the gathered assembly, we also worship God as a family.
Taking the longer view, think about the incredible value of family worship in the lives of children once they are grown. They have heard thousands of passages read and explained, seen God answer countless prayers, sung so many songs of the faith and memorized more Scripture than many Christians do in a lifetime. This is a foundation that will stand the test of time and will bear gospel fruit in generations to come.
Who should Participate in Family Worship?
The participants are all who constitute a particular family. In other words, it may mean a young husband and wife without children or an older couple whose children have already left home. It includes both believing and unbelieving spouses (as much as possible), and a single parent can lead in family worship also (Acts 16:1). It is to include all the children who are at home regardless of their ages. All can derive great spiritual benefit, even the toddler. This also helps to train our children to engage in the church's corporate gatherings for worship. By just listening and watching, they are learning the priority of worship in their lives, and how they must behave before God and His Word.
Remember that the practice of family worship could blossom into the instrument that brings them to Christ. “And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” (2 Tim. 3:15)Key Elements of Family Worship
Worshipping with Scripture
The Word of God is to be central in family worship. Your goal should be to help the members of your family to develop a love for God’s Word with the hope that they will begin to live upon every word of it. Do this by reading the Bible methodically, and by wisely dividing sections of verses to read each day. Include, Scripture memory and review, i.e. repetition of key verses over and over till they are learnt, with this also.
Worshipping in Prayer
Teach the children to pray not only by example from the words you use in our prayers, but also help them in prayer by supplying them with things to pray for. Pray often for the needs of your family, any extended family (especially the unsaved), for the families and people in your local congregation, the spiritual needs of the nation, the persecuted church, missionaries, Christian societies and for the dire needs of a lost world (both locally and internationally). The list is endless. Repent of sins committed in the home, and seek God's forgiveness. These illustrate to our children our dependence upon God in every aspect of our lives. A church membership prayer diary might be helpful here, which lists groups of people for each day of the week. You can also make your own lists of names and matters for each day of the week.
Worshipping in Praise
Worship the Lord in scriptural songs of praise. We are commanded to praise God by singing Psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs (Col. 3:16). Begin by using what are often sung in the public worship services of the church. Aim to memorize Psalms and Hymns as a family. Do this by repeating the same praise each day until you can all sing them without the use of the hymnbook! You can then move on to the next, but remember to go back and review the previously memorized songs. This will be a great help for the children to participate in public worship and in any place you may be without your hymnbooks!
Time of Day
In a general sense, family worship should be going on all the time in a healthy home (Deut. 6:6-9). It is crucial to have a specific regular time, which fits each particular family’s daily schedule. The key is to make it part of your family’s daily schedule to show that worship of the Lord together is a priority in the home.
Some families worship each morning and evening, others have one specific time in the day. However, whenever you decide to worship God as a family each day, the normal routine should include reading, prayer and praise. Always aim that these times would be reverential but filled with joy.
Finally, remember to be flexible, especially when children are younger. Remember to be flexible when visitors and unconverted people visit your home. Often they are not used to Family Worship. Yet, do not neglect it, but use it as a means of witnessing and showing the reality of your walk with God. Prepare and read and look for ways to make the time of worship meaningful and edifying to the family. A great source of help for this would be to use the KJV Reformation Heritage Study Bible, as it includes helps for family worship.
When questions arise or you need help and want resources in getting started, speak with your pastor and elders. May the Lord bless you in your daily worship.
“We will not hide them from [our] children, shewing to the generation to come to the praises of the LORD, and his strength, and his wonderful works that he hath done. For he established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children: That the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born; who should arise and declare them to their children: That they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments.” (Ps. 78:4-7) ♦
All the following are available in hard copy, and can be downloaded from the internet.
Examples of Catechisms:
For ages 3-8 use, Catechism for Boys and Girls, Children’s Catechism, Catechism for Young People
For ages 9 upwards including the adults, use, The Baptist Catechism, or Spurgeon’s Catechism, Shorter Catechism, etc.
Family Worship, Arthur W. Pink
Family Worship, J. H. Merle D’Aubigne
The Father and Family Worship, J. W. Alexander
Family Worship, Audio Sermon by Joel Beeke
Implementing Family Worship, Joel Beeke
KJV Reformation Heritage Study Bible, Reformation Heritage Books
Pooyan Mehrshahi is the pastor of Providence Baptist Chapel, Cheltenham, England. He is a native of Iran, and was converted from Zoroastrianism when he heard the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ in England. He is leading the Persian Bible translation project with the Trinitarian Bible Society. As the chairman of the Parsa Trust, he engages in translating, publishing and distributing Evangelical and Reformed literature throughout the world for Persian (Farsi) speakers. He is a trustee of the Bible League Trust, and was a contributor of the KJV Reformation Heritage Study Bible. He is married to Becky, and they are blessed with four children.