Why Practice Family Worship?
When you hear about family worship, how do you respond? Do you feel lost, not knowing what all of the fuss is about? Do you feel nervous, thinking that those who practice family worship are Christian fanatics? Do you feel guilty, knowing that you should be leading family worship in your home but failing to do so?
Whatever your response may be, it is helpful to reflect upon the reasons why we should practice family worship. Once we recognize the importance and blessings of family worship, we will be eager to regularly lead our families to glorify God together. So why should we practice family worship?
To Fulfill Your Parental Responsibility
First, God calls us as fathers and parents to lead our families in worship. Listen to the Apostle Paul: “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). Here Paul contrasts what we are not to do in provoking our children to anger, with what we are to do by bringing them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. In family worship, we fulfill this responsibility by training our children to glorify God.
Many of us are familiar with Proverbs 22:6, which reminds us of our parental responsibility to our children: “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6). Unfortunately, this verse has often been seen as a promise. So we believe that if we raise our children right, then they will become faithful Christians. But it is not through our diligent parenting that our children become Christians—it is because of the sovereign grace of God working in their hearts. Our responsibility is not to convert our children, but we should still recognize a crucial parental responsibility in this verse. We must train our children in the way of the Lord. And when we do, God often uses our ministry of the Word to draw our children to Himself. What could be better than leading our children to worship God?
To Maintain a Christ-Centered Home
Furthermore, regular family worship keeps your home focused on Christ. In the business of life, it is easy to run from one thing to another, never stopping to praise God and hear from Him. Our children can go through the week with little or any thought given to Jesus. Honestly, we can go through the week without spending much time focusing on Jesus! In the midst of our hectic lives, family worship provides a daily opportunity to center our homes in Christ.
By gathering together as a family to worship God, you are establishing a priority to stay focused on Christ. You are modeling before your children how we should bring our Savior glory. And you are communicating to your children what matters most in your day-to-day lives. Family worship prevents your home from being pulled away from Christ by the distractions of the world and the devices of the devil.
To Prepare for Corporate Worship
Finally, through family worship you are establishing patterns of worshipping together that will help you to worship in church on the Lord’s Day. In God’s kindness, I was encouraged to practice family worship early in my married life. As our children grew, they became familiar with the songs that we sang at church since we had been singing them at home, they were used to sitting still while I read the Scriptures or some kind of biblical devotional to them, and they learned how to join in prayers by bowing their head and listening to me lead in prayer.
As a result, we would often have other parents ask us why our children behaved so well during corporate worship. Our answer was always the same: Family Worship! They were used to worshipping at home, and it prepared them to worship with our church family. The truth is that we were not remarkable, super-spiritual parents (and we still struggle in many, many ways!). But our commitment to family worship provided our children with a daily opportunity to draw close to Christ, which quickly became a normal practice in their lives.
An Encouragement to Begin
Over the years, I have personally found rich blessings by committing myself to lead family worship, and I know that many others would agree. But I hope that you will not only recognize some of the many reasons to practice family worship, I hope that you will also personally experience the benefits and blessings of setting aside a regular time to worship God with your family.
The great Baptist preacher Charles Spurgeon recognized the need to revive family worship in his own day. He saw it as central to the church’s larger need for revival. So as he wrote “The Kind of Revival We Need,” he included these words:
We deeply want a revival of domestic religion. The Christian family was the bulwark of godliness in the days of the puritans, but in these evil times hundreds of families of so-called Christians have no family worship, no restraint upon growing sons, and no wholesome instruction or discipline. How can we hope to see the kingdom of our Lord advance when His own disciples do not teach His gospel to their own children?
Oh, Christian men and women, be thorough in what you do and know and teach! Let your families be trained in the fear of God and be yourselves ‘holiness unto the Lord’; so shall you stand like a rock amid the surging waves of error and ungodliness which rage around us.
If this was true in Spurgeon’s day, how much more is a revival of family worship needed in our own day? May we be a generation who recognizes the value of family worship!