Every Christian family should be marked by a love for Jesus, his word (the Bible), his church, and his mission. Therefore, we desire the members of Christ Covenant to be committed to family worship.
What is Family Worship?
Family worship in the home is both a posture of worship towards the Lord and a particular activity for the whole family. Family worship (family devotional, Bible time, family time, etc.) is a shared time of regular and intentional gathering of a family unit to read God’s word, pray, and even sing together.
Time and Place
Finding a consistent time for the whole family to sit down together to read God’s word and pray can be verydifficult. Some families have family worship around thebreakfast table, after dinner, before bed, or acombination of the three. Some families meet alltogether to read the Bible and pray 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 what matters most.
This is a great challenge and requires great discipline. However, most of the great and meaningful things you do as a parent are hard and require discipline. Training your child to know and love Jesus, his word (the Bible), his church, and his mission is the most important thing you can do as a parent.
How To Do Family Worship
Reading God’s word is an essential element to meaningful family worship. We want our families to know and love Jesus, his word (the Bible), his church, and his mission. Of course we need to read the Bible in order to know it and love it; but Bible study will also lead us to more deeply know and love Jesus, his church, and his mission.
Intentionality is a necessary component to healthy family worship. We have attached an appendix of great resources and reading plans to get you and your family intentionally reading through the scriptures. If you are new to reading the Bible as a family, we recommend narrative books (such as the book of Genesis or one of the four Gospels) or practical books (such as Proverbs or James).
Prayer is the active participation in our spiritual and physical dependence on God. Prayer should not be viewed as something that you tack onto the front-end of a meal or the back-end of Bible reading. Rather, prayer should be viewed as it is biblically portrayed - intimate communion with the Father. Keep in mind that access to the Father in prayer is only possible when we are united to Christ by faith and indwelled bythe Holy Spirit who “helps us in our weakness.”(Romans 8:26) It is important for parents to model prayer for their children and then allow them the opportunity to pray. Remind your children that they are not praying to you, rather they are praying to God. While we can approach the throne of God with boldness because of Christ, we must always approach God in prayer with a sense of awe, wonder, and humility.
On of the most humbling realities of prayer is that God hears and answers them. During a time of family worship, it is helpful to allow every family member to share prayer requests. Hearing the prayer requests of children gives parents a sneak-peak into the hearts of their children. Write down the prayer requests and revisit the journal every time you gather as a family to reflect on how the Lord is working.
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 worship. 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 allow each person to participate, each reading a verse and praying one after the other. It is a beautiful, engaging, and edifying practice to pray God’s word back to Him as a family.
Singing is a great way to affirm truth collectively as a family. Starting this rhythm can be a little awkward inthe beginning; however singing together, over time, will become fun and encouraging for the faith of family members. Parents can begin teaching their children songs at a very young age. As they grow children can learn new songs and begin using a songbook with the family.
Parents should explain the text of the song before everyone sings and then be intentional to sing out (even if you don’t feel like you have a good voice). The way parents model singing in the home will translate to how the 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 connect to the larger church family.
One of the most challenging aspects of family worship is keeping the attention of children. This can be verydifficult with both younger and older kids. A few bestpractices to keep in mind as you establish your own pattern of family worship:
Keep it short. Family worship time doesn’t have to be long; even 10 minutes is a good start.
Make it interactive. Involve all family members in family worship. Ask older children to read passag- es of scripture. Ask younger children to act out a passage of scripture or draw a picture of a biblical truth.
Be intentional. Be intentional to establish the rhythm of family worship in the home. Be intentional to take advantage of “God moments” in life to point your children to truth. Be intentional to celebrate milestones (birthdays, graduations, etc.) in a way that points to God’s provision and blessing.
Remember Ephesians 6:4. “Do not provoke yourchildren to anger, but bring them up in the disci-pline and instruction of the Lord.”
The Bible recognizes that there is a balance between disciplining children and exasperating or provoking children to anger. Children need discipline and will have to be corrected during family worship. With that said, parents will do well to encourage and engage their children during family worship. Family worship should not be a dread. If you are consistent and intentional, children will begin to enjoy the time together and their hearts will be captured by the truth and love of God.
The secular world promotes successful parenting asbeing defined by what kind of grades children make, orhow good they are at sports and other extracurricular activities. However, Christian parents must remember that all of those things will matter very little in 10,000 years. What will matter now, and then, is whether or not children know and love Jesus, his word (the Bible), his church, and his mission. God has called parents totrain our children diligently to this end (Deuteronomy6).
Please feel free to reach out to one of our pastors for additional help. They truly desire to help and equip parents to effectively and lovingly disciple their families.
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.