How to Worship as a Family
A confession: I often get anxious when someone asks me to do something that I don’t know how to do. What’s even worse is when something simple around my house or something in my car needs to be fixed, and I don’t know how to do it. Thank the Lord for his good and perfect gifts of Google & Youtube! I often use both to find an example of what I’m looking for, or better yet, step by step instructions on how to do it.
They say the most effective way to teach someone to do something is to:
- Explain what they are supposed to do and why
- Show them how to do it
- Do the activity with the person you are trying to teach
- Have them show you that they understand what to do by doing it
Unfortunately, when it comes to passing on our faith to our children, many of us fail to teach appropriately. We prefer to leave it to the “professionals” rather than take ownership ourselves. That said, there is a reason why I go to Youtube to learn how to fix my car instead of buying a repair manual and reading it cover to cover. To really learn something, we need to encounter it where we are.
I want to encourage you to begin some form of family worship if you haven’t already. Most of us have more time with our families than ever before, so it’s the perfect opportunity! It may feel daunting at first. It’s easy to feel un-equipped to lead your family in worship, but as the puritan Jonathan Edwards put it, “every Christian family ought to be as it were a little church.” Rest assured, as a Christ-follower you have been equipped by the Holy Spirit to lead your family. That’s why your children have been entrusted to you.
If you want more information on this topic, there’s a great little book called “Family Worship” by Donald Whitney, which gives a great model and some practical pieces of what Family Worship can and should look like. In the book, Whitney provides three elements for Family Worship: reading, praying, and singing. Here is a simple breakdown that explains each:
READ. The Bible is the word of God and is “profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). As followers of Jesus, we should be spending regular time in Scripture. We even have a few different Bible reading plans you can try for yourself: Read the Bible in a Year Plan, 30-day “Faith>Fear” Plan, 14-day “Don’t Waste the Wait” Plan. Read a passage together as a family. Share with your family what sticks out, what you think is important, or how that passage connects to the Gospel.
PRAY. As followers of Jesus, we should pray “at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication” (Ephesians 3:18). As a family, it’s important to pray together. If you have younger kids, it’s also important to talk about what you are praying for and why you are praying for it. Explain that you believe God is powerful and loving enough to act graciously when His children pray to him. Then simply pray out loud together. The length of the prayer is not as important as the act of praying.
SING. This one is honestly a little scary for me, as the gift of carrying a tune is not one of my abilities. But singing is important! There is a reason that the church has put some of its most important theology and the essence of the gospel into songs for centuries. Music has a special place in our hearts. In the Old Testament, it was only David’s playing of his harp that could quiet King Saul’s soul when he was burdened. An easy way to start singing together is to pick one song for the whole week. Our worship team put together a great playlist of worship songs if you need some ideas!
The important thing with all of this is not to try to do it perfectly, but just to go for it. As a pastor friend of mine says about family ministry often, “wherever you are is a great place to start.”