Yesterday I posted some thoughts about why we might find it hard to lead our families in times of family worship. In this post, I thought it might be helpful to share some pointers on how to get going with family worship once again.
Just do it
One of the biggest barriers to getting going again with family worship is inertia. The longer we have gone without reading the Bible and praising/praying with our children (if we have ever done it at all), the harder it is to get going again. This is true of personal devotional or quiet times, too.
The best thing you can do about this is to simply get on and do something! Read and discuss a few verses of the Bible with your family over breakfast and then pray about what you have discussed. Get everyone in your bed when you are doing your own quiet time and simply do it with them. Get everyone together and share the verse of the day from your Bible app and then ask one of the family to pray for the day ahead.
If we do nothing with our families in terms of family worship, then God will accomplish nothing in our families through us. God is able to work in spite of us, but his command is that we lead our families in the training and instruction of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4) so that he might show his grace in us and accomplish his work through us.
So instead of worrying about how you haven’t been leading your family so far, repent (see the conclusion of the yesterday’s post) and just get on with it.
Start leading your family closer to Jesus.
Seriously, just do it
Some of you reading the above point will have already thought of many reasons why it is just not that straightforward for you. Let me remind you of what family worship is. Here is a pithy little definition for you…
Family worship is spending time with your family on a regular basis reading the Bible and then praising and/or praying to God in response.
Anyone can do that, right? Right. As I said yesterday, 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.
I have been reading a great book about the lives of various people throughout Church History, and one of the striking similarities between them all is that if they had families, they got together each day to read the Bible and pray with them. Nothing more, but definitely nothing less.
In case there are still questions or hang-ups…
Q: Is it really that simple?
Q: How do I do it?
A: Pick up a Bible, get your family together, read it, pray about it, repeat again tomorrow.
Q: Some bits of the Bible are pretty hard to understand. How can I lead my family when even I don’t understand it?
A: Yes, some bits of the Bible seem hard to understand at first. But many bits of the Bible (I would say most) are quite easy to understand, especially when you remember a) that the whole Bible is all about Jesus and faith in his death and resurrection and b) that the Holy Spirit uses the Word to lead us into all truth (John 16:13, Ephesians 6:17). I’d say be honest with your family about the fact you don’t understand it – it will show them that it is okay not to get it first time (so long as you do seek to discover what it is saying!). Maybe try and work it out together. Make use of your church family and your church pastors. Ask them questions and go back to your family with what you discover.
Q: But so-and-so has spent half an hour each day reading bits of the New Testament in Greek since 1989…
A: So what? What do you need to do with your family right now? Some families will be doing more than you in terms of family worship, others will do less (unless you are doing nothing!). Family worship isn’t a competition, it is a relationship with Jesus to be enjoyed as a family wherever your family is at in your walk with Jesus.
Q: I leave for work before the family gets up and I get home after they have gone to bed. How can I find time?
A: Maybe you really need to think about changing jobs, or at least taking steps to reclaim some family time at the beginning or the end of the day. Failing that, you could delegate family worship to your spouse or another Christian family member during the week. However, if you do that (especially if you are a father) you must make sure that you block out portions of your non-work time to do family worship together (finding out and reviewing what your spouse/family member did during the week, for instance). But even if you can’t do any of these things then you could always wake your family up the same time as you, read the Bible and pray with them in bed, and send them back to sleep.
The more you do it, the better you will be at it
The long and short of it is that family worship is a discipline that you need to work at and practice. This takes time and effort. Remember, as you engage in times of family worship more and more, you will become more practiced in leading family worship and your family will become more used to family worship. You will find it easier to simply open a Bible and read it with your children. You will develop patterns to your time together. You will build up lists of things you are praying about and praying for. It will become easier and you will get better at it.
Jesus says to do it
But above all times of family worship will result in you leading your family the way that Jesus has told you to. Whether or not they walk with Jesus as their Lord and Saviour is ultimately between them and him. But don’t neglect the calling and responsibility (and sheer priviledge, by his grace!) you have been given.
If you are a parent then you are to lead your family in the training and instruction of the Lord.
Now get on and do it.