One area I have really done a poor job on is being the spiritual leader of my family. While I read the Bible and study a lot for my personal edification, I have never really done well at reading it with my family. For a while, we used The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones, and I loved it, but it was very hit-or-miss. I also have not done a good job at praying with my family.
This is something that has convicted me for quite some time. I wanted to remedy it, but I was not sure how.
A week or so ago, Crossway Publishers posted a link to sign up to receive emails for a five-day mini-video series by Don Whitney on family worship. I immediately signed up. The videos are around 5 minutes long each, and provide a basic overview of family worship. I would recommend others sign up for it if they are able. (I posted a hyperlink in the text above to make it easier for those interested.)
The three aspects of worship that Whitney encourages families to practice are Scripture reading, prayer, and singing.
So far, we have read the Bible and prayed together briefly every day for the past week and a half or so, with only one missed evening. For us, this is a huge step!
I decided to read through the gospel of Mark with my wife and children. So far, we have read through four chapters of the gospel in the ESV. I try to stop and explain the Scriptures as we go. This has also been eye opening as I realize how many things I either don’t know or never thought about in such a way as to be able to explain it to a 6-year-old and 4-year-old child.
I then ask everyone if there is anything they would like us to pray for, and we take a couple of minutes to pray together.
We have not yet tried singing together (more than one time with just my children and me, but that didn’t go so well). I hope to try to add that soon.
I’m also working on memorizing a little with my children. I am starting with the Lord’s prayer from Matthew 6. That, too, has been more sporadic than the reading and praying, but I am taking baby steps.
Honestly, this still feels a bit unnatural and uncomfortable. I hate that I have to type those words, but it’s true. I believe that with time, it will be an expected and natural part of our family life. I was encouraged the one night we missed the time of family worship when, as I was tucking my son into bed, he reminded me that we didn’t read the Bible. I apologized to him and told him we would the next day. The fact that he asked was exciting, as it showed that it is becoming routine to him.
My prayer is that my children will grow up knowing and believing God’s word. That they will learn to pray from me, and will desire to talk to God on their own. That they will feel comfortable asking me questions on the Scriptures, and that I will be able to help them wade through those questions in a way that is faithful to the Bible. And that ultimately they will carry on this tradition with their own families in the future.
If you have not set up a time for family worship, I would strongly encourage you to do so. We need Christ to be central in our home, and what better way to start than to set aside a time every day to learn about and talk to Him as a family?
If you already have a time of family worship, I would love for you to comment and let me know what you do. Since we are just getting started on this endeavor, I am open to ideas and suggestions!