What a unique time we are living in! Activities are restricted or somewhat limited, and a lot of people have more time at home right now—and more discretionary time. Something I’ve felt a passion for in recent years is an encouragement to not just survive, but thrive. I don’t want to just endure this hardship and then jump right back into life as usual, but rather make the most of this time and come out stronger at the eventual end of it. And one of the ways my fellow Elders and I believe we can grow spiritually during this time and redeem some of this extra time we have on our hands right now is to cultivate a practice of family worship. I really believe it’s important to develop a habit and practice of family worship in the home.
I grew up in a home where my dad would pull out a Bible story book after dinner and read to us four kids stories from the Old Testament. To me, that was just normal. For some of you, you’ve never experienced that. You don’t really have a concept of what it might look like to have a time of family worship in the home. And that’s OK. But I want to encourage you to start now. As author Don Whitney put it, “God deserves to be worshiped in your home, today.”
Family worship is a much neglected but highly valuable spiritual discipline that can really be a blessing in our lives if we make it a way of life. I would love to see men stepping up and being spiritual leaders in this way. What better time than right now, while activities are slowed down? Let’s be intentional about thriving spiritually and be persistent disciple makers in our homes during this time (and beyond). Let’s redeem the time we have!
What I believe to be an ideal format for family worship is very basic and has 3 parts. First, a 5 to 10 minute Bible reading of some kind that engages at all age levels present. Second, a brief time of prayer. Third, a song to sing.
When: Immediately after a family dinner together really makes for a natural time to do this. Do it at the table, or clean up first and do it in a family room.
Frequency: As often as possible! Right now during reduced activity and isolation, aim for 4 or 5 times a week. In busy times, aim for at least 2 or 3 times a week. This takes discipline. You don’t always feel the energy, and those you are with don’t always seem interested, but you have to believe in the greater good of what you are doing by leading this time consistently, and the example for future generations. Aim for 15 minutes total, or a bit longer if don’t have younger kids.
Bible Reading: come up with a plan so you have a direction to go. The YouVersion Bible app has a lot of free auto-tracking plans. For younger kids, get a children’s bible story book that breaks down stories into 5 min segments, and do 2 of them if you can.
I took my family through the 10-book, 400 story series called The Bible Story. Each story is roughly 5 minutes and all major stories and teachings are covered from start to finish. We took about 3 years to finish. I enjoyed the constant theme of a redeemer throughout it.
We recently finished a great YouVersion 12-lesson series on James where we read the passage, watch a video of Francis Chan break down each passage in 8-10 minutes, and read a brief recap and challenge. Our boys would laugh at the special effects where Francis appears to “teleport” around various outdoor scenes, but they also are learning, too, as evidenced by the occasional, encouraging spiritual comment.
Prayer: Pray Together. It doesn’t have to be long. If kids are a bit shy about joining in, invite them to pray for specific people they know or specific needs your family is aware of, to draw them into it. They will pray for a grandparent or someone else they know that’s in need. One idea I use to mix it up a bit every now and then is popcorn prayer. Just have everybody go around in the circle and offer brief one sentence prayers of thanksgiving, one after another. And pray for missionaries and peoples of other cultures!
Song: At times I feel like my wife and I are just doing a duet. But it helps to let the kids pick out their favorite worship songs at times and play the music through YouTube on a device. I take a turn picking the song too, mainly because I just don’t want to sing ‘My Lighthouse’ every single night. I’ve also tried to include a handful of great hymns over time to help my family get acquainted with some of the best of those. If people are not in the mood, don’t force doing a song. It’s not worshipful to sing a song when they’re not in the mood, but can be a great way to close if they are.
I hope that’s helpful, and may God bless your worship time at home. After all, God deserves to be worshiped in YOUR home, TODAY!
Submitted by Mark Kline (firstname.lastname@example.org)