One of the more encouraging trends to reemerge in the last few years has been an emphasis on family worship. Family worship is a great tool that parents have to teach and train their children in godliness. It’s also an opportunity to grow together as a family. This practice has helped us to teach our children, rejoice over answered prayers, and enjoy many laughs. My goal in this post is to share a couple of tips for having an effective family devotion.
Believe that this is Important
Deuteronomy 6 reminds us that parents are to teach their children diligently. Teaching our children is a responsibility that falls on parents and it cannot be farmed out to someone else. This passage prescribes that we talk with our children as we are walking through everyday life. Parents have countless opportunities during the day to instruct our children about life and God. These organic opportunities for instruction should not be neglected and time should be made for more structured teaching of God’s word.
Be Consistent without Being Legalistic
People have a tendency to find their righteousness by the things that they do rather than by trusting in Christ alone. It’s easy to see how this can make family devotion something to check off the list instead of a genuine attempt to worship together as a family. Missing a night can become an opportunity for despair. If you miss a night of family devotion, pray that God would help you be faithful in the future. Then have devotion the next night.
Read the Bible
God’s word is simple enough that children can understand it. There are many ways to approach reading the Bible with your children. With smaller children, there are many good story Bibles that walk through the major storyline of Scripture. The two that have helped our girls the most are The Big Picture Story Bible and The Jesus Storybook Bible. As they get older, begin reading through the Gospels. We have also benefited from teaching the Proverbs to our daughters. Since the book was written from a father to his son, it is useful for teaching children about life and wisdom.
Sing a Song Together
This is the part that is difficult for families who aren’t accustomed to singing together, but this is a great way to learn truth. Truth set to music is easily memorized. Use a book like the Trinity Hymnal or a good worship album and begin to learn songs together. Sing songs with a simple melody and a good message. Our daughters’ favorites are Be Thou My Vision and Come Thou Fount.
Family prayer time apart from blessing before meals can be a powerful opportunity to teach your children about God and the Christian life. Ask them what they want to pray for and pray for it earnestly. As you see prayers answered, rejoice with your children over how God has blessed you. Pray for your children’s salvation. Pray for your family to love each other. Pray for opportunities to reach out to your neighbors. Pray for your church and for missionaries that you know around the world.
Some Helpful Resources
Family Worship: In the Bible, in History, and In Your Home by Donald Whitney
A Neglected Grace: Family Worship in the Christian Home by Jason Helopoulos