Contend Earnestly: Family Worship

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Family Worship

A couple of weeks ago I read Donald Whitney's small pamphlet on Family Worship and have since then followed his advice on doing a nightly family time of worship. I have found this time to be of utmost importance and another thing that I have found from my Reformed friends as vital to the growth of our children. I keep harping that we need another reformation in the church and in our families and I really think this could be the key: Family Worship.

There is really a lot to be learned from doing a set aside time of worship and a lot to be gained. It first, establishes who is the spiritual head of the household, as the father or husband should be leading the time of worship. It has also brought up great discussion questions from my 3 year old learning from Proverbs. We have a time that is completely set aside to singing, reading from God's word, reading from the Valley of Vision, and then ending just as we started: prayer. This time has really helped and led right into something new that I am also doing with my son, and that is teaching him Spurgeon's Catechism, which should grow him for the future.

What better way to reform the church than at the home. Instead of the father and mother relying on the church to teach and to edify their children alone they start the learning at home where much can be gleaned.

I would highly recommend this little pamphlet that guides you through the thoughts of why it is important, biblically and also historically. Again, something that we can learn from the Prebyterians is this quote that I find very challenging and very "shepherding"

If the father failed (in not doing family worship), they were to be admonished
privately. And for any husband or father who continued to neglect his spiritual
responsibility to his family, The Directory of Family Worship gave these

He is to be gravely and sadly reproved by the session
(that is, the elders); after which reproof, if he be found still to neglect
Family-worship, let him be, for his obstinacy in such an offence, suspended and
debarred from the Lord's supper, as being justly esteemed unworthy to
communicate therein, till he amend.

I found this to be a great show of caring for the flock from our Presbyterian brothers, putting the family first and the role of that time to fall squarely on the shoulders of the husband and/or father. How can we expect our churches to hold God in holy places if we don't first start in the home? How can we expect our families not to fall apart if they are not filled with God's Spirit? How can we expect our children to love God and to fear Him if we don't ourselves show that love and fear first in the home?

May we all put this time in our homes at the top of our list and do not do anything, even sleep until it is accomplished. for me and my house we will serve the Lord...Joshua 24:15



Anonymous said...


Thats been my conviction more and more lately. What is your family doing for your family worship?

I have been at a loss, my kids tend to be bored and just want to scoot off to the xbox.

Seth McBee said...

sounds like your kids are a bit older than mine...I have a 3 year old and an 8 month old. But what we do is every night after dinner we sit together in the living room and we start by praying, then we sing a hymn or worship song, I then do a small study, currently Proverbs, read from the Valley of Vision and then sing a "children's song" like "Do Lord" or "Ezekiel saw the Wheel." I usually let my 3 year old pick one of the songs that he likes. We then end on prayer. We only go for about 15 to 20 minutes because my children are so young. I will discipline during the time if my oldest isn't listening or is goofing off. This is a time that we are teaching him not only about God and worship but also how to sit still during these times.

You say your kids get bored; make sure that you involve them in the study, ask questions, get their thoughts on the study, ask them to pick out songs that they enjoy. But above all be faithful to your calling as the spiritual head of the household. Is it tough some nights? Yes, but I enjoy the time as we are able to focus every night on God and the worship of Him.

Seth McBee said...

As far as bed time goes. I read my boy, out of his childrens "bible" a story and then we catechize from Spurgeon's Catechism. I don't use directly what Spurgeon has but I make it relative and also easier for my son since he is so young. Very important time as he is my oldest boy and I am his father. This is a great and special time between just us two.

Josh said...

Yes, my kids are 8 to 15. Boys and a girl, I am not good at the teen study stuff. Ill look online for a topical study guide or something we can all enjoy.

erik raymond said...

Josh, I can identify with you a bit. I have an 11, 7, 5 & 2 year old. I think this article may be helpful for you on the topic. When you search online for a study guide often times you are at their mercy. The biblical pattern seems to be to fill your own heart so with the greatness of Christ that you spill over onto others (Col. 3.16).

Anonymous said...

Seth, your right in suggesting the family must play the central role in the religious training of a child. I will be posting about this issue shortly, as I fear the church has taken some ungodly paths regarding this.

The Schaubing Blogk said...

I have 6 kids, 16-7 years old.
One thing that will make it easier is consistency. We have recently started family worship (or, perhaps, restarted) but have had an evening 'story time' for years. Being an expected thing eliminates objections.
Also, your expectations will change their attitudes. We read difficult things (including, for example, the London Baptist Confession) and the smaller children have come to understand that understanding is something that comes. We have learned to sing hymns and Psalms in parts; hard to start but now all the kids love to sing, and we get invited to sing at church.

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