Family Worship & Recommended Resources
I write this brief article as I stare across the room at my beautiful six-month old daughter as she smiles, giggles, and plays with some of her favorite toys. This scene makes my heart grateful for God’s blessings and compels my mind to reflect on how I got here – in this living room, gazing upon a little girl who bears my resemblance and fills my heart with joy.
On November 19, 2011 God gave me the greatest blessing of my life – a wife. She was not just any ole girl. She was the girl that God had been grooming for me in his sovereignty since before I was born. When we married, He didn’t just bring together two physical beings who would now live life together instead of alone. No, God brought something far more significant together – He brought two souls together. What a profound reality! As a new husband, I was now the leader and provider for my wife, both for her physical needs and her spiritual needs. God designed marriage that way, and there is nothing more daunting and more humbling than that.
Fast forward to October 20, 2015 – God blessed my wife and me with our first child. We longed for a child who we could love and nurture and here he was, a child that God entrusted to us to shepherd together. Now, by God’s grace we have two children - two physical beings to keep alive, care for, and nurture, and most importantly two souls to shepherd.
One of the most common pitfalls of this physical, embodied life is that it’s very easy for us to think only about that which we can see. This is certainly true with how husbands and fathers lead their families. We spend our days working in order to provide for the physical needs of our families. We arrive home tired and weary, often forgetting the fact that the most important reality about those in our homes are the souls that live there. We would do well to remind ourselves of this often.
The aim of this article is to remind us all of that sacred reality and to provide a few exhortations for engaging the souls in our homes from Deuteronomy 11:18-19.
Deuteronomy 11:18-19 instructs to “18…lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 19 You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.”
Personal Worship is Paramount: Notice that the first instructions in these verses lands on the hearer, which in this case are the parents. Parents, you cannot lead your children where you are not going. You may want to lead your children to find their ultimate hope and joy in Christ, but this will remain a near impossible task unless you make personal worship a priority.
Family Worship is Imperative: The flow of the passage reflects the heart and design of God for the family. Parents are to have their hearts and souls nurtured by the Word and they are in turn to nurture their children with the Word. How could it be any other way? God simply expects those to whom he gives the great blessing of children to nurture the most important thing about them – their souls.
Family Worship is Holistic: Notice here the location and timing of these instructions to teach children. There are four different scenarios given: 1.) when you are in your house, 2.) when you are out and about, 3.) when you go to sleep, and 4.) when you wake up. The point here is that prioritizing the heart and soul care of your children should happen all the time. This requires that parents be continually reminded of truth and the reality that the heart and soul of a child is in desperate need of truth throughout all of life.
Parents, we have quite a challenge laid before us in this passage. I am sure that all parents reading this would assess themselves differently regarding how well they have followed the instructions given in this passage. Some have undoubtedly done well and some have undoubtedly done poorly, but my hope is that all would use this summer as an opportunity to get better at shepherding the children who God has placed in their homes. For some, that means you need to establish a time to read God’s word together as a family. For others, it means you need to establish a time for your own personal worship. For others, it means you need to have spiritual conversations with your spouse for the first time in your marriage. For still others, it means you need to lean into our church family for advice because you feel like personal and family worship are dull and meaningless. No matter where you are, let’s all make it a priority to get better at this as a church family.
Well, now that little girl who was playing across the room wants her daddy and probably a bottle. It’s a physical need that I will so gladly meet, but underneath that longing for food I know there is a soul who longs for eternity. Pray I never forget.