It’s Worth It
Just about everyone I know feels overwhelmed, and most are busier than they’ve ever been, especially if they have children at home.
Pair that with my observation that most Christians I know would affirm that family worship—if they are familiar with it—would probably be a worthwhile practice if they were to make the time for it.
If these things are true for you, then my prayer is that this article will persuade you, despite the many demands on your schedule, to make a priority of family worship.
And I hope to persuade you—regardless of the size of your family, and even if you’ve never had children, or no longer have children in your home—by means of the following five reasons.
1. God deserves to be worshiped daily in our homes by our families.
This is the teaching throughout the Bible. While there is no direct command regarding family worship, it is implied throughout Scripture. In Genesis 22:7, when Isaac asked his father Abraham, “Where is the lamb for a burnt offering?”, he knew something was missing in the worship of God because Abraham had led Isaac and the rest of the family in the worship of God before.
Job 1:5 says that after any of his grown children held a feast, Job would send for them and offer up a burnt offering of worship for them in their presence, and “Thus Job did continually.”
In 1 Peter 3:7, Jesus’s apostle exhorts “husbands” (note: he addresses all married men, not just those who are fathers) to live with their wives “in an understanding way.” In part, Peter says this to husbands so that “your prayers may not be hindered.” The family prayers here are not just those of the husband, rather Peter is referring to mutual prayer. He assumes that Christian couples pray together in their home.
If you have believed the gospel of Jesus Christ, you are surely convinced by both the Bible and the Holy Spirit that God, by virtue of who he is and what he’s done for us, deserves to be worshiped daily in our homes by our families.
2. There’s no better way to speak the gospel into the lives of your family members every day.
The grit in our souls and the grind of life puts us in need of remembering the glorious truths of the gospel daily. Jerry Bridges (summarized here by Tim Challies) has reiterated so helpfully in his books the need for us to “preach the gospel to ourselves every day.” Family worship gives us the opportunity to do that for the entire household.
If you have children, are you sure that they are clear on the message of the gospel? Even if they’ve not yet believed it in a saving way, are you confident they can articulate the essence of the message of what God has done in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus? Don’t assume that other people will make it plain to them and ensure that they understand it. In the context of family worship, you can be certain that they know the only message by which they can know God and go to Heaven.
3. There’s no better way to provide a regular time for your children to learn the things of God from you.
Certainly you want your children to learn the family Bible study and how to live as a Christian from your pastor and others who teach in your local church. That’s essential to Christian parenting. But you don’t want to outsource to the parents of other children all the Christian teaching your children receive.
Besides, the opportunities your children have with these teachers each week is limited in comparison to the time you can spend with them daily. Family worship is the best and most consistent way for you to transmit your core beliefs to your children.
4. There’s no better way for your children to see the ongoing, positive spiritual example of their parents in real life.
During daily life in your home, your children see you at your worst. They often see you when you aren’t acting like a Christian. Make sure they see you at your best, when you clearly live like a follower of Jesus in their presence.
Let them see you—a man or woman they know to be imperfect and a sinner—return every day to the Bible and to the centrality of Christ in the home. Let them see, not a hypocrite who attempts to partition their sin from their faith, but someone who regularly comes to God in family worship and humbly acknowledges their sin and need for a Savior.
Those who do will also discover how family worship fosters the times of confession, forgiveness, and restoration that all healthy families need.
5. Isn’t this what you really want to do?
Should it be necessary to persuade any genuine Christian to want to worship God in his or her home with the family? Doesn’t God Himself plant that desire in the heart of all those who love Him?
Do what you really want to do. Begin the worship of God with your family in your home tonight.
Donald S. Whitney is professor of biblical spirituality and associate dean at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. He has written several books related to Christian spirituality, including Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life, Praying the Bible, and Family Worship. Don blogs regularly at BiblicalSpirituality.org.