“These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall speak of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up”
In today’s culture, the outsourcing of our children’s upbringing to external influences has become second nature. Our children’s behavioral norms are shaped by media consumption, their self-perception is influenced by various social media platforms, and their core values are molded by a secular educational system. Everywhere they turn, they encounter influences that challenge a Christian worldview. This is an alarming realization, and, just like the secular culture, modern Christianity has established a system that enables families to rely on the church’s programs for the spiritual formation of their children as well.
While it’s commendable that our churches are eager to invest in the younger generations, Christian parents must remain vigilant, ensuring that this convenience does not deter us from actively guiding and teaching our own children. As Charles Spurgeon famously said,
“Let no Christian parents fall into the delusion that Sunday School is intended to ease them of their personal duties. The first and most natural condition of things is for Christian parents to train up their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”
With this perspective in mind, I propose that family worship stands as the paramount activity for your family. It’s the most transformative practice in which you can engage your children. It is, without a doubt, the most fulfilling endeavor your family can undertake. Family worship matters and here are three reasons why:
Family Worship is Rooted in Scripture
The Bible consistently emphasizes the duty to teach God’s truths within the household. Deuteronomy 6:6-7 instructs:
“These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall speak of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up” (LSB)
This is the pattern we see throughout the Scriptures. Abraham led his family to keep the way of the Lord (Genesis 18:19), Joshua led his household to serve the Lord (Joshua 24:15), and Timothy was acquainted with the Scriptures from childhood because his grandmother and mother taught them in their home (2 Timothy 3:15).
This should be the aim of the Christian household: To read, sing, and pray the Scriptures together as you rise in the morning and lie down at night. Family worship is not just a cherished tradition, it is a divine command.
Family Worship is a Means of Grace
God, in His goodness, has given avenues to nourish, sanctify, and grow His children in faith. These avenues include reading, singing, and praying the Scriptures. Family worship, when approached with this perspective, stands as a significant channel through which God’s grace flows into the lives of believers.
Reading the Bible together as a family isn’t just an educational exercise. It allows the living Word of God to speak directly into the specific circumstances, challenges, and joys that a family experiences. As the Holy Spirit works through Scripture, family members are drawn into a deeper understanding of God’s promises and are strengthened in their faith.
Songs, hymns, and spiritual songs have been integral to the worshiping community since the days of the early church. In family worship, they become a melodic expression of theology and emotion. Through singing, truths about God’s character and promises are ingrained, and His grace is celebrated.
Within the sanctuary of family worship, collective prayers rise as a fragrant offering. They become moments where the family not only petitions God but also listens, seeks discernment, and experiences God’s comforting presence. This interactive dialogue with the Father can be a profound means through which God’s grace is known and felt.
Family Worship Prepares the Next Generation
In a world awash with secularism, consumerism, and diverse philosophies, there’s an unyielding battle for our children’s hearts. Amidst these influences, family worship emerges as an anchoring force. It not only acts as a counterbalance to external pressures but also fortifies the family with a robust Christian perspective. This sacred time together serves as a reminder of their shared Christian identity and a moment to reaffirm faith, purpose, and the family’s place within the broader Christian community.
Through the pillars of collective prayer, scripture engagement, and introspection, family worship lays a steadfast spiritual foundation. It immerses the family in God’s Word, allowing His teachings to shape their daily interactions and decisions. Moreover, as the world’s many voices seek to influence our ethical bearings, family worship stands as an essential guidepost, imparting Christian values that accompany children throughout their life’s journey.
In essence, family worship serves as an immersive training ground, preparing the next generation not just with knowledge but with experiences, habits, and perspectives that root them firmly in their faith. It equips them to navigate the complexities of the world with a spiritually grounded mindset and heart.
Family worship may be challenging in our fast-paced world, but it is a treasured practice rooted deeply in the covenantal dealings of God’s people. It’s more than a tradition; it is the heartbeat of a home centered on Christ. It’s here, in these shared moments of reflection, song, and prayer, that we truly understand our identity as children of God and the calling we have within the broader tapestry of His kingdom. By cultivating a spirit of worship within the household, we not only anchor our families in a Christian worldview but also invest in the spiritual legacy of the next generation. Indeed, family worship doesn’t just matter; it’s vital. It shapes souls, fortifies bonds, and stands as a beacon, pointing families to the cross and drawing them closer to God’s heart.
For further reading
Patrick Williams is married to Allison and together they have three daughters: Naomi Grace, Elizabeth Faith, and Lydia Christine. He is the Pastor of Redemption Fellowship, a new church plant in Ashland City, TN, and an author focusing on theology for children and family worship. Williams is currently pursuing a dual BA and M. Div in Global Engagement at Gateway Seminary in Los Angeles, California.
September 13, 2023
More from Patrick Williams
“How do we find a new Pastor?” Pastoral transitions are a delicate thing. As churches navigate these waters, the guiding principle should always be seeking God’s will and the spiritual well-being of the congregation.
Discover how humility serves as the foundation of true worship and explore the biblical teachings that illuminate this profound truth.