Family worship

I don’t believe that the church is primarily responsible for the spiritual guidance and formation of my family. This is not to say that it is possible apart from the church. I simply mean that it is impossible without my spiritual leadership at home. I cannot place the responsibility of spiritual leadership in my family onto another person or organization. I bear the weight of this. Because I believe this, we pray at meals and at bedtime we read the Bible and sing songs together.

Now, as much as I would like to be perceived as a spiritual giant, that is not why I wanted to write this blog. Honestly, I don’t think I am very good at leading my family in worship. Sometimes after the chaos that we often call “bath time”, the last thing I feel like doing is sitting down with my kids, reading the Bible, and praying for them. But my hope is that over the course of time, after days then weeks then months and then years of praying, reading, and singing with my kids, they will begin to understand that Jesus just isn’t part of our life, he is our life. We cannot have full and lasting life apart from him. The best life is found in him. If we are to become all that God desires for us to be, we must become this in Jesus. I may not lead my family in worship that well, but I do know that doing it is better than not doing it.

So, how do you start?  Here are some tips to get you started:

  • Keep it simple.  You’re probably not a theologian and if you are nobody cares. Your kids will know if you are authentic though. It doesn’t have to be a masterpiece and, believe it or not, you will grow in time along with your family.
  • Pray at family meals. Nobody wants you to do your devotions at the dinner table. Pray a prayer of thanksgiving because you are probably eating more in one meal than a lot of the world eats in a day, maybe even a week. We picked up a simple prayer that my kids have memorized and we all pray aloud together.
  • Pray with your spouse. Pray at bedtime or when you first wake up. If you need help, refer to the tip above. If you really need help, email me and we’ll talk.
  • Read the Bible with your kids.  You should be reading to and with your kids for educational purposes, so combine it with spiritual purposes.  Here are two Bibles we use – The Jesus Storybook Bible, and the Big Picture Bible. If your kids are older than 8 or 9 they may need something a little more advanced. Perhaps the Illustrated Family Bible. There may be better ones out there, that is what my kids like.
  • Sing to your kids. Tara and I often joke that I don’t remember much about my childhood. But I remember singing “This little light of mine” at Bible School when I was very small, perhaps 4 or younger. There is something about songs that tie truth to our memory. So, we sing some silly songs and we sing some fun songs and we sing some theological songs. Right now, Zak asks to sing Doxology every night. He likes it because he thinks it sounds like “Ducks-ology”. We have a laugh and then we all sing it together. But, he is learning the words and trinitarian doctrine at 2 years old. It’s a simple song though (remember the first tip?). Nate likes to sing Glory to God. They also like to hear stupid songs like one I picked up somewhere called “The hole in the bottom of the sea” so we sing that too.
  • Don’t be so serious. This time can be very frustrating, or it can be very fun. So keep it light and hug and kiss your kids. Tickle them and be silly with them. We try to make it fun and our kids love it.
  • Pray for your kids, with your kids. After reading a couple of stories and singing a couple of songs, Tara and I put our hands on our kids’ heads or backs and pray for them out loud so they can hear us. I want them to know that I consider them a gift from God and I am thankful he has entrusted them to me. I want them to know how we pray for them.

I’m sure there are more and better ideas and ways to do it. I do know a great resource is the Resurgence folks. They have some great articles on family stuff. The point is that we do it, not that we do it perfectly. What do you do in family worship?


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