Do you often spare some time for family worship in your home? The books you read, the sermons you heard and seminars you attended while encouraging you to pray, sing and read the Bible with your family but did they show you how?
I know, you understand the importance of family worship. And you probably agree with Father Patrick Peyton who famously quipped, “A family that prays together stays together.” But that’s just the start because a family that sings together laughs and cries together. Most of all, a family that reads together grows together.
[Tweet “A family that reads together grows together.”]
Despite the 1,000+ family worship ideas awash on Pinterest, blogs, books and conferences, very few men regularly pray, sing and read the Bible together with their families. Why?
You know that the spiritual growth of your family depends on you taking the initiative as the king and priest of your household. In this article, I would like to help you to lead family worship consistently and effectively in only 7 weeks.
3 Embarrassing Confessions Why I Failed to Lead Family Worship
Like most married men, I have always known that leading my family in worship was important. My wife and I read the Bible together, sometimes. And we also prayed together, sometimes.
But our family worship wasn’t structured, regular or focused. We just talked about the Bible and prayed for each other. This worked for a while until we had our first child. Then slowly like an endangered animal in an unprotected jungle, our family worship faded into extinction.
This is why.
1. I study and read on my own
I read my Bible as I prepared to go to bed. And I watched my wife whispering a prayer and tuck herself in bed. I’m an early bird, so I reserved prayer and quiet time for the morning. Wasn’t this a good example of the spontaneity required for a sustainable family worship?
2. I’m too busy
I spent the day at work and came home tired and hungry. All I wanted to do was resting. Of course, I spared a moment to catch up with the world. Browsed the internet, checked my Facebook timeline, and read one or two newspaper articles. Didn’t Jesus say we should ‘watch and pray’?
3. I don’t know how to lead family worship
I was told I should encourage family worship in my home. And I honestly wanted to lead my family in prayer, song and Bible reading but I didn’t know how. Sadly, no one taught me how to do it, so I quit trying. How can I do something no one thought it’s important enough to teach me?
How to Lead an Effective and Sustainable Family Worship
These excuses were true, convenient and convincing but deadly like the seemingly innocuous carbon dioxide in a poorly aerated room. With each breath, tempers flared, disagreements mounted, faith got compromised and we became a spiritual mess.
1. Week 1: Seek God first
My wife deserved better. She deserved a husband who builds her up in the faith. And my kids looked up at me. For several days, I asked God to help me become a better husband and a spiritual leader for my family. God, show me how I can lead my family to worship together.
2. Week 1: Learn from other men
I didn’t know any men who regularly practiced family worship except my pastor who was a thousand miles away. When I used to live with him, he encouraged us to share what we have been learning from God. This was done in turns every day before bed. But I wanted a more structured and focused family worship because of the unique dynamics of my family.
3. Week 2 & 3: Grab a good book
Confronted by my ignorance and inadequacies, I resorted to learn more about Bible interpretation and family worship. I studied biblical hermeneutics because I wanted to explain Bible passages in a way my family could easily understand. Donald S. Whitney’s recently published book Family Worship offered me great practical tips on how to lead worship.
4. Week 2 & 3: Talk about it with your wife
I spent at least two weeks talking to my wife about family worship. This wasn’t a daily banter but occasional reminders and pointers on why worshipping together as a family was a cool idea. So, we started to pray together one day, then sing together on a different day and read a Bible passage on another day.
5. Week 4: Establish the structure and aim of your family worship
They are many family worship ideas you can try. But every family is different, therefore an effective family worship should reflect that diversity. My wife loves prayer, my children love music and I love reading. So, we decided that our family worship would start with a song. I played one of the kids’ favorite songs and we sang along. Then we read the Bible, discussed it and then prayed.
6. Week 4: Pick a book and read it through
My wife and I decided to read from Paul’s Letter to the Philippians. We wanted a small book that could help us make family worship a family habit. We first discussed the background of the book. And in the next four days, we read one chapter per day. Doing this helped us to get a clearer picture of what was going on in Paul’s life and among the believers in Philippi.
7. Week 5 & 6: Read short passages
After reading Philippians in large chunks, we went back to read short passages. We looked at keywords, key characters and asked ourselves what each passage meant to us. And we always sought to understand what Christ was saying to us. My wife and I rotated leading the discussions.
8. Week 7: Reflection, evaluation, and selection of next book
After we completed our study of the book of Philippians, we took a break to reflect on what we had learned. “If we started this at the beginning of the year, we could be studying Revelation by now,” my wife recently joked. I wanted to go to the Gospel of Mark next, but my wife wants us to read the Letters to Timothy. So, our next stop is 1 Timothy.
4 Eye-popping Lessons I Learned From the Family Worship
Looking back at the time I had with my family worshipping together, I am filled with joy and laughter. Yes, laughter. My son thought his uncle Paul who’s in California wrote the Letter to Philippians. One day I said, “Paul, with the help of Timothy, wrote the book when he was in prison.”
My son was confused, “Why did the police arrest uncle Paul in the hospital?” Well, it happens when we read the book, uncle Paul was in the hospital. I still don’t know how to convince him that Apostle Paul isn’t uncle Paul.
[Tweet “Our differences in perspectives help us to see Christ clearly through the Scriptures.”]
1. Being different is good
Before reading a book of the Bible, I want to know what was going on in the mind of the author, how the first audience perceived the message and the events that shaped the narrative. But my wife is more inclined towards the practical side. While I help her understand the story behind the story, she helps me make the story my story. Our differences in perspectives help us to see Christ clearly through the Scriptures.
2. Diffuse family tension
One day, I had an argument with my wife. Both of us were angry and no one wanted to give in. Silently, we thought we were going to skip Bible study that day. Then something unexpected happened. My son refused to go to bed without reading uncle Paul’s book. We read the Bible and soon enough the tension between my wife and I varnished.
3. Kids actually listen
Every day, I asked my four-year-old son to contribute to the discussion and ask questions. To check if he was listening I always asked him, who wrote the book and why. “Timothy helped uncle Paul to write the book. Uncle Paul was in prison and he wanted to help the people in Philippians.”
4. Speak clearly and concisely
After a couple of days leading family worship, I realized I was leaving behind my son. I didn’t know how to make our discussion simple enough for a four-year-old to easily follow. So, at the end of our Bible study, I would ask my wife to tell my son what we talked about. As days went by, I realized the simplified and condensed version she gave my son was actually the essence of the passages we read and the appropriate takeaway message.
Your family is waiting for you to take your position as the spiritual leader. You may start this by leading family worship. Pick a book of the Bible and read with your family. Believe me, you will know more about Christ and your family after 7 weeks.
What challenges have you met in trying to lead a regular family worship?