Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. ~ Colossians 3:16-17
As believers, we delight in the Lord and long for Sunday when we can attend church and be in His presence among other believers. We sing with hearts full of joy or sadness depending on how the Lord is currently sanctifying us. We submit and listen to the teaching of God’s Word from the pulpit hoping that our hearts will become more like His. We pray for conviction, repentance, restoration of relationships, softening of hearts, strengthening of souls, and on and on.
In truth, every day is a day to worship the King of our hearts and an opportunity to show and teach our children how to worship the King and an opportunity to create a rich Christ-centered tradition known as family worship.
Family worship is done one to two times a day in our home. Morning time is usually done without Dad because he is at work, but if he is available he is invited to participate, even lead. If Dad is unavailable, Mom will lead. It consists of prayer for our time, catechism questions, Scripture reading, and Scripture memory. We also leave time for singing related songs and chants.
Evening time is done after dinner at the dining room table, devotions led by dad. We pray for our time and then dad opens the Bible and reads a passage from the current book we are studying. Our family is currently reading through Luke and my husband will pause throughout the reading to ask questions and to challenge the children through discussion. We then pray again but this time it is for others outside of our family. Our church has a member directory so each night we pray for one to two families. Sometimes we know them and sometimes we do not. It is always fun when we run into someone at church and we can tell them that we just prayed for them. Our family then finishes the time by singing three songs from our hymnals. During the month of December, we sing Christmas Carols.
In greater detail, let me address prayer, catechism, the reading of Scripture, and singing:
Concerning prayer, a great place to start is the “ACTS” method where one or all of you can participate, from the littlest to the oldest.
Adoration – praise God for who He is and all the things He has done in your life today
Confession – confess the sins that have been committed today
Thanksgiving – thank God with a grateful heart
Supplication – beg God on behalf of others
Family worship is the best opportunity to teach sound doctrine and theology to our children, and catechism helps train them in how they should go so that when they are old they will not depart from that teaching. There are many different catechisms available, but our family has found A Catechism for Boys and Girls to be helpful in the elementary years, The Shorter Catechism; A Baptist Version (revised by Spurgeon) for the middle to high school years and then the Heidelberg Catechism for high school. Check out Truth and Grace Memory Books by Thomas K. Ascol. They have scripture memory, catechism, and songs all in one book!
The reading of Scripture provides the unique opportunity to hear from God directly. Auditory learners will especially appreciate the hearing of God’s Word. There are family devotion books available which typically contain a story, Scripture references, and discussion questions. We have done those over the years but of late we have found just reading directly from Bible to be most beneficial. Start with Proverbs. Read five to ten verses at a sitting and then discuss. If you do read directly from the Bible, pay attention to both the Old and New Testaments as they are both equally important.
Our family sings hymns. They are guaranteed to be filled with gospel truth which is what we want to implant into the hearts of our children and it helps to revive our souls. Check out Happy Hymnody on the internet. She has a whole website geared toward hymn singing as a family. https://happyhymnody.wordpress.com
Allowing that you may already have math, language arts, science, history, and read-alouds to attend to, you may wonder, “How can I add one, even two more things?” When questions arise, such as, “Where do I start?” or “What do I read?” which lead to doubts like, “I am a terrible singer.” or “My husband will never do this.” and “Can I even do this?”, remember, by God’s grace and mercy and through your obedience, you will successfully teach your children to worship the King. You can succeed because family worship is a means of worshiping Jesus Christ in a unique way and your example will offer your children a close-up example of how Christians are to worship their Creator.
May you rise up to worship our King on a daily basis with your children.