I wrote the following almost 7 years ago. Our little family has grown since then but much of what we do is still the same:
This blog is not about ‘why’ we do family worship in our home, but how. I hope that everyone reading this understands the biblical foundation for family worship found in Scripture. As mentioned in previous blogs, Deut. 6:5-7 clearly states that parents are responsible for teaching their children about the Lord and His commands.
First of all, I want to say that we do not have the perfect model; nor are we perfect in our current framework of family worship. There are still things that we’d like to imporve on, but what we’ve started is a foundation for family worship in the home that we plan on lasting the rest of our lives.
We do our worship in the evenings right after supper. This usually happens about 4-5 days out of the week, but sometimes can be only a few if we have to be gone several nights. I want to take a side note here and say that families need to get back to eating supper together. Make it goal in the near future to eat together at least 3 nights out of the week for starters. I know families are busier and busier but the dinner table is a place we can laugh, cry, and bond together as a family. Some of us don’t understand the value of family dinners because we didn’t grow up eating supper as a family. If this describes you, I highly recomend that you start encouraging your family to eat supper together on a regular basis. The time shared is truly invaluable! This doesn’t mean you have to do family worship right after supper… This just happens to be the best time for us because we are all together (and we aren’t what you would call “morning people”!). Also, even if you don’t do family worship after dinner, still make it a priority to cut out some of the extracurricular activities that are preventing your family from eating supper together.
Ok so, right after dinner we’ll clean off the table and then I’ll read a passage of Scripture. We were reading through Bradyn’s Children’s Bible, but we haven’t been the last several weeks. If you have smaller children a children’s illustrated Bible really does come in handy! Lately, I’ve just been reading passages of Scripture that God has laid on my heart. I try to balance Old Testament and New Testament readings. Honestly, a reading plan would be better, and we are going to try and work on that in the future!
After I read the Bible I’ll aske a couple of simple questions. Bradyn’s only 2 and Caleb is 4 months, so I know they aren’t technically “learning” but it does help build a foundation for how we will do things in the future. Occasionally, Steph and I will discuss things from the reading on an adult level with each other. After the reading and questions, we’ll sing. We have an older Baptist Hymnal, but don’t use it every time. I have a guitar, but we don’t use it every time either. For about a year we’ve been really wearing out Jesus Loves Me! But it is important to sing different songs and I would encourage you to get a hymnal or other song book to help you sing with your family.
The last thing we do after 1-2 (sometimes 3-5!) songs is pray. We don’t just pray a generic “bless our family” prayer. Instead we try to pray according to the passage of Scripture that we just read. For example, 2 Peter 1:21 was in our reading the other night, and we thanked God for His inspiration of the Holy Scriptures.
This whole process takes about 10-15 minutes! I think so many people don’t do family worship because they are worried about time frame… In the future we may plan on taking longer as we introduce more “involved” questions and even Catechism(similar to the Westminster Catechism) but still the whole thing doesn’t have to last longer than 15-20 minutes at the most. Obviously don’t be looking at the clock ready to shut it down if kids are asking questions, but also don’t feel you have to give up your whole evening either.
So that’s basically it… The whole process of the Nelson Family Worship time. My challenge to you is to just start. Even if you can only plan on doing it 1 day every week right now, that’s fine. Just begin. If your kids are older it may take some getting used to, but still we must adhere to the biblical model of family discipleship. Maybe you don’t have kids yet or they’ve already left home. In that case I would still challenge you to have a similar form of worship time in your home. If you dont’ have kids yet, this is a great way to lay a foundation for one of the ways you will help raise godly children. Think about this:
If we can’t worship in the home, how can we worship during church services?
There's more I could add but after 7 years we basically keep the same format! We have memorized many bible verses, and the Apostles Creed. We've sang lots of songs. We've read through Pilgrim's Progress during one season. We've used other helps like The Ology, The Biggest Story, and The Jesus Story Book Bible. We've had some great conversations, some laughs, and even frustrations. We aren't perfect and there have been many nights I've wondered "is this worth it?" But I assure you it is! And I encourage you that if you still have kids at home start this TODAY!
It is our duty and privilege to be the primary disciple makers of our children.