Family Worship: A Pearl of Great Value

My topic here this morning is one that you might already be an Old Pro with: Family Worship.

If that's you, this post will be of little value, not great. You should click back to Facebook, now. This post won't have the usual "counseling" or "instructing" feel.

If you're super-mom or super-dad, and you decide to stay, you'll have to forgive me, because, to be perfectly honest, this seminary-trained, biblical counselor has failed in this particular arena for quite some time. I hope you'll allow me to be vulnerable for just a moment, without giving up too much credibility. 

It's not that I haven't discipled my children. I've prayed with them, taken them to church, and read bedtime Bible stories to them. Heck, I've even exposed my son, Trevor, to some excellent catechesis, making sure that he understands what is the chief end of man.

But, in what has been a bit of an "epiphany" for me as a husband and father, here's what I've concluded: none of the aforementioned activities has necessarily accomplished or cultivated in the life of my home a simple spirit of worship.

Don't gloss over that word. Take a just a second to reflect on what it means to ascribe to Jesus Christ the worth He already possesses in himself. Christ alone is worthy of our praise, and when we do this, we're living out the purpose for which we were created.

Now, for you astute theologians out there, you'll immediately point out that if those aforementioned activities are done right, if they have Christ as their aim, then worship will be their end. And, I agree. Catechism is intended to develop right thinking, leading to right living, all of which is or ought to be worship-full

But, there is always a danger of turning that activity into an academic affair, and as a lover of good theology, I'm prone to make sure my son has that good theology, at the risk of dampening worship. Jesus warned the Pharisees against this practice, and to be reminded of it isn't to cheapen theology, but to enhance it by keeping its proper object in view, which is Christ.

Just the other night, I determined to begin adding into my family culture a regular time of family worship. I'm talking about a time that's exclusive to us, and exclusively for us (and, for Jesus, of course). I'm talking about a time in which our little brood comes together and sits at the feet of Jesus, seeking nothing more than the ministry of His presence.

No fancy teaching. No references to Greek. No preachy prayers in which I pretend to pray, but somehow deliver a Sunday sermon instead. No pointed questions that are designed to make sure that everyone gets the doctrine of limited atonement. 

Just us, and the relentless, tenderness of Jesus, if you will.

I have to tell you that I haven't enjoyed worship like this in quite some time, and I cannot wait to do it again. It was the most blessed twenty to thirty minutes of worship I've experienced in a month of Sundays. I had no order of worship. No bulletin. No microphone. No powerpoint slides. And, no sermon notes. Just a loose idea of some things that we'd engage in together as acts of worship.

We sang classic Christmas hymns together. We read Scripture together. And, we prayed together. And, here's the crazy part: we did all this during commercial breaks of the Christmas movie we were watching together on ABC Family. 

It was as if we stumbled upon a way to weave an ethos of worship into the evening, rather than compartmentalizing worship into a space that was taken out, and then put away like a trinket.

So, what am I getting at? Why have I written this post, in this way? Let me give you a short list of reasons, in no particular order:
  1. Family worship will surely strengthen your family unit by exercising a spiritual muscle that has become atrophied in our day. The spiritual connectedness within our families is the Rock we will lean on when the storms of life come. Waiting until those days arrive isn't the time to discover how important this is.
  2. Just as missions globally begins with missions locally, loving my neighbor must begin with me loving my family of origin. If I won't worship in spirit and truth with my own children, how can I honestly do this with someone else's, for example?
  3. Cultivating a culture of family worship may look entirely different in my home than it does in yours. The point is, figure out what works for you, what blesses your home, and be faithful to that. It may be awkward at first, but just do it. Beg God, if you must, to lead you into a pattern that fits. You won't regret it.
  4. The reason I pointed out the things I did not do in our family's worship time (i.e. preach, sermonize, etc.) isn't because I don't appreciate those things, but because some folks need to know that their own ability to lead in their homes isn't continent on their theological acumen. The point here is to seek and enjoy the presence of Christ together. This is, in some way, a dressed rehearsal of what we'll do in eternity.
  5. In crafting a culture of family worship in your home, you'll build a legacy that will remain long after your departure, and that will reverberate throughout generations. Wouldn't it be amazing, if it were possible, to peer into the future, and see a pattern of worship that began with a simple decision today?
Of the family and worship, the great Jonathan Edwards said this:

Every Christian family ought to be as it were a little church, consecrated to Christ, and wholly influenced and governed by his rules. And family education and order are some of the chief of the means of grace. If these fail, all other means are like to prove ineffectual. If these are duly maintained, all the means of grace will be like to prosper and be successful.

A little church.

This is what I want my family to be, because this is what we are. Collectively, we are a little house of God. And, what else would occur in such a place, if not worship?

Resources to help:

  1. New City Catechism
  2. Desiring God's Fighter Verses
  3. YouVersion for Kids