Family Worship

200215872-001So, how are your family devotions going? . . . Hit or miss? Non-existent? Whether your kids are 18 months or 18 years old, now is the perfect time to begin a habit of family worship. Consider Deuteronomy 6:4-6.

Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God is one LORD: and thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.

Few would argue that a regular time of family devotions is a bad idea. The problem, in many cases, is getting started. Pastors Ligon Duncan and Terry Johnson (Ed. Ryken, Thomas, and Duncan, Give Praise to God [Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian & Reformed, 2003], 325-326) address some of the obstacles to starting and continuing a meaningful family worship time:

  • A late start: you have already been married for many years or a parent for many years, and you have never done it before. If this is your situation, be prepared for it to begin with all the ease of pulling teeth without anesthesia. Pray for the grace of perseverance, and do not begrudge your family the jarring sense of change.
  • An unsupportive wife: your wife does not think it is important or is critical of what you are trying to do or is uncooperative. Woo her to the habit. Indulge her all you can. Refuse to speak sharply to her about her lack of support. Explain it to her. Enlist the prayers and encouragement of your pastors . . .  , but make every effort not to shame her outside the family circle.
  • A lazy father: your husband is indolent and unconcerned, but you really desire family worship. Praye and non heart and to make you the most attractive and non heart and to make you the most attractive and nonaggressive advocate for the importance of family worship he will ever meet. Talk to him kindly and respectfully. Explain your desires. Make it easy for him to do. Offer to help him choose passages [and] hymns. . . . Do not nag. Encourage him to get involved in a male Christian discipleship friendship with a pastor . . . who will help him take up his fatherly and husbandly role. Place a Bible and a hymnal within easy reach of the family dinner table.
  • A resistant audience: your childre are older, unused to the practice, and resistant to it. They hate it, complain about it every day, discourage you no end. Keep it short, explain why you are doing it, and do it anyway.
  • An uncooperative schedule: your schedule is crazy, husband traveling, kids piled up with activities. Meet consistently and flexibly. Let the wife lead while you are away, but take an interest in planning for it and talking about it when the husband is back. Call home long distance and do a conference call at family worship time.

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