Saturday, February 26, 2011
The Blessing of Family Worship
One of the most important ingredients in a happy Christian home is faithful attendance at the family altar. The Bible shows a consistent example of daily worship, morning and evening. In addition to having individual time with God each day, many Christian families make time for family worship as well.
This practice of family worship is heavily encouraged by the Christian community. Books have been written. Sermons have been preached. Traditions have been handed down. And it’s no wonder either when we consider the world in which we live. Taking time with our children first thing in the morning encourages a spiritual start to the day as well as ending the day with a spiritual nightcap.
Most families agree that having family worship is essential when children are young as this time can be an opportunity for daily lessons from the Bible as well as training them to spend time every day in prayer. But it seems that family worship sometimes begins to decrease when the children become teens. Perhaps this is because the teens have begun their own worship time, which is great! That would be evidence that the years of family worship prior to that have made a positive impact. Or maybe things just get a lot busier in the household as the children get older. Whatever the reason, I’d like to suggest that families make a special effort to hold on to family worship time for as long as their children are in the home. Here are some reasons to do that:
1. Family worship is a treasure that lasts only a few years. Even if the kids are not especially “into” it, they are still present and it is time that the family is connecting with each other. Likely, that practice is one they will continue with their children when the time comes.
2. Having family worship in the morning beats Satan to the punch! And who wants Satan punching on their teens? There is no doubt that Satan has plans for your children every day, just as he does for all of us. By meeting with God together at the family altar, you are getting a head start on Satan. Morning worship gives an opportunity to ask God’s protection from Satan as well as to ask for guidance on activities that will be happening that day in school and at work. But let’s get real. Mornings are rushed and it’s very hard to actually gather each family member at one time. Well, it doesn’t have to be lengthy at all. If you can just have breakfast together, you can use that time for a brief reading from a devotional book and a prayer. The point is not to see how much truly absorb whatever little nugget you can. Then in the evening worship, you may just want to review whatever that nugget was and if it applied to them through the day.
3. Don’t expect every family worship time to be a spiritual high with your teens. If you do, you will probably be disappointed or discouraged. Just as with going to church, every sermon doesn’t change our lives. But if we aren’t present, the sermon that would change our lives will never be received. It’s the same with family worship. The call is to show up. The spiritual effects may not be realized until later. On the other hand, sometimes there will definitely be spiritual highs.
4. Teens need family worship as much as younger children. We need to be careful not to assume that when our children have absorbed the stories of the Bible story books we’ve read to them through their younger years that there is no more purpose in family worship. It isn’t all about giving knowledge. During the teen years is when that knowledge has to be put into practice. So this family time can be used to discuss how the Bible stories apply to real life as they are going through some of the most difficult situations they will ever face in their lives.
5. Try not to be a control freak when it comes to family worship. While a sense of reverence needs to be maintained, teens need to know they have a safe place to discuss honestly some questions or concerns they may be having regarding spiritual matters. So if you read one verse of the Bible and it ends up leading to a discussion that leaves no time to finish the passage, don’t worry about it. Put your family worships in God’s hands and allow the Holy Spirit to lead.