From Pastor Matt
Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. Deuteronomy 6:4-7
These words were the words that were given to the people of Israel as God was preparing for them to enter the Promised Land after 40 years in the wilderness. They were given to them to tell them what the driving theme of their lives should be and to tell them how to pass on the truth of God’s love and faithfulness to the coming generations. These words were given to show them they must intentionally point the sinful hearts of their children to Yaweh.
How do these words speak to us today? They remind us that our call to live lives of worship to God today is just as important as it was to the people of Israel many, many years ago. But, what’s greater for us is that we are living in the great Age of the fulfillment of so many of God’s promises. We are living in the time when the Messiah has come. As Christians, we now have the Holy Spirit living in us enabling us to love God with all of our heart, soul, and might! These words also remind us that it is our great duty and privilege to bring up our children in the “discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Eph.6:4) and, especially as Fathers/Husbands, it is our duty and privilege to spiritually lead our families.
If you are a parent, especially a father, you have a call to teach your children what it means to follow Christ. While the call to make disciples is certainly on the church as a whole, it is not primarily the role of the church to teach your children what it means to know Christ. I want to just spend a few words today giving you a very intentional way that we, as parents, can point our children to God.
Family worship is something that has been practiced by Christians for hundreds of years. There are countless examples of families throughout the history of the church having regular times of devoted family worship. Our call in Deut. 6 and other places in Scripture is to point our children to God in everything we do. However, regular family worship can serve as an intentional time that we can disciple our families.
Some of the benefits of having regular times of family worship include: centering our homes on Christ, encouraging our children in the things of Christ, encouraging Christian character, encouraging peace in the home, binding the family together, and helping our children to practice for what it’s like to be a part of corporate worship.
I would also like to offer a few warnings before we continue. First, family worship cannot replace corporate worship, it should only be fueled by corporate worship and help us in preparing for it. Second, we should not beat ourselves up over doing it. Like other gifts that God has given us, it is one of the means of grace for us to better understand God and our roles as worshipers. Third, if we practice family worship and have some “success” it does not give us a right to look down on other families who do not practice it. It can, however, provide us opportunities to share with other families about our wonderful experiences and encourage them to try it out for themselves.
How to Do It?
There is no perfect formula for family worship. It will probably look a little different from one family to the next. But I would encourage you to include these three elements: read, pray, sing.
First, reading Scripture together is probably the most obvious. Take this time to read through different parts of the Bible. Don’t read too much in one sitting, especially if you have young children. Story Bibles are particularly helpful for those with young children such as this one or this one. Take a minute to ask your children questions about the passage read.
Second, include prayer time. Take the time to pray about what you just read in Scripture. Confess your sins to one another and pray for one another. Use the Psalms to help you in your prayers. Pray for others outside your family. The ACTS acronym is helpful – include elements of Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication.
Finally, include singing in your family worship time. Sing biblically faithful songs with melodies that aren’t too difficult. I would certainly recommend including hymns of the faith that have “stood the test of time” and can encourage us in our walk with Christ. Hymnals can be helpful to get you started, especially if you know how to read music. Using the songs that we sing in church is an easy way to start. You can sing songs accompanied by instruments (if someone in your family has that gift) or unaccompanied.
Read. Pray. Sing.
Encouragement to Begin
If this is not something that you have ever done in your home I want to encourage you to try it out. It will be difficult, especially as you start out and especially if you have small children who have a difficult time sitting still. You will probably fail and that’s okay! God’s grace is greater and there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Again, the purpose behind this is to give us intentional ways to disciple our families.
If you don’t have children, if your children are grown and no longer live at home, or you are not married, you can still implement family worship. It is still a wonderfully rewarding experience that we can share with our spouses or fellow housemates!
An easy way you can begin family worship in your home is by viewing our order of worship HERE and incorporating some of the elements of our service and praying for our service as a family. You can read through Matthew 18 as this will be the passage of Scripture for the sermon.
See you Sunday!