This morning, I had a great time reading through Psalm 1 and talking about it over breakfast with my family. It was a simple 10 minutes spent munching cereal and chewing over God’s word together. But it was the first time in a few weeks that I had lead my family in a time of looking at the Bible and praying for the day ahead (ironically, it was the annual pastor’s busy season of Christmas that diverted my attention away from leading my family!). Yup, I had fallen off the wagon of family worship. And I suspect I am not the only one to do so.
Family worship (devotionals, quiet times… call them what you will) such as this is what we as parents and guardians are called to do. Ephesians 6:4, ‘Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.’ All parents, but father’s in particular, have the joy and the responsibility of leading our families in moments spent investing in our family’s relationship with Jesus.
But we are simply not doing it. Nearly every youth and children’s worker I speak to has the same frustration: parents are not discipling their children. While their frustration might be valid, I suspect that many youth workers and ministers wrongly think that parents are unwilling to lead and disciple our families. From my own experience, this is not the case. Similarly, when I speak to other parents, none of them give the impression that they do not want to lead their families to Jesus. Instead, it is more a question of not knowing how or not knowing when to spend time in family worship.
Don’t know how
While teaching the Bible is something that you can receiving training for, it doesn’t mean that to teach the Bible you must have training to do it. If you have a love for Jesus and want to rightly place yourself under his authority, then you are more than equipped by the Spirit to be able to teach and instruct someone from the Word.
We mustn’t think that leading our families in times of looking at the Bible and praying/praising together require some hidden knowledge or special skills. In one sense, you simply need to get a Bible, open it, read it, talk about it and pray. Sure, you can add things to these foundations (crafts, dressing up, acting out, looking up stuff online) but at the root of family worship is time spent listening to God in the Word and speaking to him in prayer. Anyone can do that.
Not enough time
Allow me to be honest. For most parents, the idea of not having enough time to lead our families in family worship is, well, pretty pathetic. Sure, there are parents (single parents, those who have to work two jobs to make ends meet, and the like) who whether through situation or circumstance are working flat out with their backs against the wall and are simply running on empty most of the time. But that isn’t me and I’m sure it isn’t 99% of you reading this, too.The problem is that family worship is not being given enough priority in our daily life.
Think about all the things that you do in an average day: work, shop, browse Facebook and/or the internet, meet with friends, cook, clean, relax, and so on. Most of the things we do each day are good things that do us or our family some good in one way or another (even things like watching TV have their place in terms of resting and relaxing). But which of these things will do you or your family eternal good. Not many, if any at all.
Family worship is no less than investing in your children’s eternal future. It is given spiritual health to their souls. And it is doing these things in a way that only parents and guardians can. Why wouldn’t we want to make time for that?
The real issue
No, the real issue standing in the way of us leading our families in family worship is our sin and sinfulness. Thankfully, Jesus died on the cross in our place for our sin and by his Spirit he is able to overcome our sinfulness through our continued repentance and faith in Jesus.
So if, like me, you find yourself failing and falling short in how you are leading your family in this way, then simply confess it to God, repent and give it to Jesus, and get going again because forgiveness is ours at the cross.
In my next post, I’ll share some thoughts and ideas that might help you get back on the wagon of leading family worship once again.