August 19, 2014

Family Worship, Re-Booted

For parents with children still at home, summer time inevitably brings a bit of upheaval with it. Schedules change dramatically – or, in many cases, they end up going mostly out the window. Bed-times are different, vacations are on the calendar, family is in town, and yard work has to be done. And then there all softball games, swim lessons, Bible clubs, and so on. And so there just seems to be a good bit less normalcy in the summer time.

And, between the trips, and the company, and the fuller evening schedules, one of the routines that may lag behind is that of family worship. Perhaps you’ve seen it happen in your own house over the last 2-3 months. With the sun in the sky until late on into the evenings, it has perhaps been a challenge getting everyone gathered around the table or on the sofa to praise the Lord together before bed. But now that school is beginning again, and life settles back into its more familiar rhythms, let me encourage you to make sure that you make family worship among the most important rhythms of all!

Begin, this fall semester, gathering the family again for praise, and prayer, and scripture each evening. Or, if you’ve never yet begun, now is a good time to start a brand new habit! You don’t have to be a great bible scholar, or have some profound plan, in order to do this moms and dads. Just:
  • Pick a book of the Bible (Mark is a great place to begin, or to begin again).
  • And read a brief portion each evening (based on your children’s attention span!).
  • Then talk briefly about what you read (especially what it teaches us about Jesus).
  • Then pray briefly together about what you read, and about any other concerns that seem pertinent (family needs, lost friends, missionaries, etc.).
  • Then sing a hymn, or psalm, or chorus together (perhaps learning the same one for an entire week).
All in all, this should take about 15 minutes, give or take. Maybe a little less when the tots are tiny, and a little more as they get older and increase in their capacity to discuss the passage with you. But however long it takes, these minutes will be invaluable – perhaps the most important block of time in the entire day. You will be communicating to your kids, every day of their lives, where your family priorities lie. And that will probably rub off! If you do this all the years your children are at home, there’s a really good chance that they’ll just think it normal … and never think twice about whether or not they should continue the practice when they have families of their own! And furthermore, if you truly want to see your children know and follow Jesus, then there is nothing better that you can do for them than to make sure that they are exposed to the word of God every day of their lives! You cannot open their eyes to believe on Christ. But the Holy Spirit can! And the instrument He uses to cause people to be “born again” is “the living and enduring word of God” (1 Peter 1.23).

So crack it open each evening as a family … and pray and sing together, too! Re-boot your family worship routine, if it has gone the way of many other habits during the commotion of summer. Or boot it up for the very first time, if you’ve never tried it before. And don’t give up! Don’t let little ones with bad attitudes stop you from doing what is best for their souls. Don’t let three or four missed days turn into two weeks or a month. And don’t allow life to become so busy – summer or not – that you squeeze God out of the family routine in favor of something more ‘exciting’, but far less permanent. Worship God together as a family … every. single. day.

And then … when your kids are grown, keep it going, even in the empty nest. After all, you need the Bible, and the gospel, and prayer, and praise just as much as ever your little ones did!

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