What Is Family Worship?
Every Christian family should be marked by a love for Jesus, his Word, his church and his mission. Therefore, we desire the members of Christ Covenant to be committed to Family Worship.
Family Worship in the home is both a posture of worship towards the Lord and a particular activity for the whole family. A time of Family Worship (family devotional, Bible time, family time, etc.) is a regular and intentional gathering of the family in order to study God’s Word, pray and even sing together.
Time & Place
Finding a consistent time for the whole family to sit down together for Bible study and prayer can be very difficult. Some families have their time of Family Worship right after dinner, around the breakfast table, right before bed or a combination of all of these ways. Some families can only meet all together for Bible study and prayer once a week, but the parents intentionally meet with each child individually at different times. Being consistent and intentional with whatever time you choose is most important.
This is challenging. It requires great discipline, but most of the great things that you do as a parent are hard and require discipline. Training your child to know and love Jesus, his Word, his church and his mission is one of the most important things that you can do as a parent.
What To Do
There are three basic directives to a meaningful time of family worship: read, pray and sing.
READ. Essential to any meaningful time of Family Worship is reading God’s Word. We want our families to know and love Jesus, his Word, his church and his mission. Of course, we need to be reading the Word of Christ in order to know and love the Word of Christ, but Bible study also leads us to more deeply know and love Jesus, his church and his mission. The best Family Worship happens when there is some sort of reading plan. We have attached an appendix of great resources to this guide to get your started, but even consistently reading a chapter a day through a book of the Bible is a great place to begin. If you are new to reading the Bible as a family, we recommend narrative books, such as one of the four Gospels or the book of Genesis, or practical books, such as Proverbs or James.
PRAY. There are many ways to pray as a family. It is important to allow everyone in the family to pray, but remind your children as they do pray that they are not praying to you but to God. While we can approach the throne of God with boldness because of Christ, we should still approach him with a sense of awe, wonder and humility. A few practical tools that are very helpful when learning how to pray as a family are a prayer journal and the practice of praying through scripture. (Click to learn 'How to Pray Through Scripture')
Prayer Journal: One of the most powerful components of praying is seeing the Lord answer prayer. During a time of Family Worship, it is great to allow every family member to share prayer requests. This will get the children sharing their hearts. It is important for parents to model this too, even if you are already aware of one another’s requests. Write down the prayer request and revisit the journal every time you gather as a family
Praying through Scripture: Using a passage of Scripture as a prayer guide is one of the most helpful prayer tools for both personal and family devotion. The basic premise of praying through Scripture is to read a verse of the Bible and use the words in that verse to guide your prayer. When praying through Scripture as a family, you can go around from person to person, each reading a verse and praying one after the other. You will find this to be very engaging, edifying and helpful. Please see the appendix on praying through Scripture for more clarity.
SING. It can be awkward to think about singing together as a family, but it is something fun and encouraging for your family’s faith. You can begin teaching your children songs at a very young age and, as they grow, you can learn new songs and even begin using a songbook as a family. Explain the text of the song before you sing and sing out even if you don’t have a good voice. The way you model singing in the home will translate to how your family sings when the church gathers. Also, sing songs from the worship service, even if your children were at Covenant Kids and not in the main service. This will help them to connect to the larger church family.
The most challenging part of Family Worship is keeping the attention of your children. This can be very difficult with both younger and older kids. A few best practices to keep in mind as you establish your own Family Worship:
Keep it short. Your Family Worship time doesn’t have to be long; even 10 minutes is a good start.
Make it interactive. Involve your family members in Family Worship. Ask your older children to read, or, if you have younger children, ask them to act a passage of Scripture out or draw a picture of a biblical truth.
Remember Ephesians 6:4. “Do not provoke your children to anger but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”
The Bible recognizes that there must be a balance between disciplining your children and exasperating or provoking your children. Your children do need discipline and you will likely have to correct them during Family Worship. With that said, do your best to encourage them and engage them. Family Worship should not be a dread. If you are consistent and intentional, you will be able to capture their hearts and they will begin to enjoy the time together.
The secular world will always tell you that your success as a parent is defined by what kind of grades your children make or how good they are at sports or other activities but remember that all of those things will matter very little in 10,000 years. What will matter now and then is that your children know and love Jesus, his Word, his church and his mission. God has called parents to train our children diligently to this end (Deuteronomy 6).
Please reach out to one of our pastors for additional help. They truly desire to equip and help you effectively and lovingly disciple your family.
Books for Couples
Keller, T. K. (2015). The Songs of Jesus: A Year of Daily Devotions in the Psalms. Penguin Group USA.
Tripp, Paul David. New Morning Mercies: A Daily Gospel Devotional. (2016). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.
Books for Families Children
Helm, D. R., & Schoonmaker, G. (2015). The Big Picture Story Bible. Vereeniging: Christian Art Kids.
Lloyd-Jones, S., J., & Suchet, D. (2014). The Jesus Storybook Bible: Every Story Whispers His Name. Grand Rapids, MI: Zonderkidz.
Machowski, M. (2011). Long Story Short: Ten-Minute Devotions to Draw Your Family to God. New Growth Press.
Machowski, M. (2012). Old Story New: Ten-Minute Devotions to Draw Your Family to God. Greensboro, NC: New Growth Press.
Machowski, M., & Macha, A. E. (2011). The Gospel Story Bible: Discovering Jesus in the Old and New Testaments. Greensboro, NC: New Growth Press.
Murray, D. P., & Reifsnyder, S. (2017). Exploring the Bible - A Bible Reading Plan for Kids. Crossway Books.
Ware, B. A. (2009). Big Truths for Young Hearts: Teaching and Learning the Greatness of God. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.