A Barn Window and Family Worship
As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. This is the text on a giveaway.that I am holding this week. I started really thinking about what this text means and how we can apply it to ourselves. Essentially what this passage indicates is that as men we are to lead our families in worship. Notice that he does not say…”as for me, I will serve the Lord.” No. He says WE, will serve the lord. As the head of his house he will endeavour to ensure that God is worshipped in his household. This is something that I have failed at in the past, and even though I try now, things still get in the way, we get too busy, dinner ran late, I am too tired etc. etc. But those are all invalid excuses.
We need to lead our family in worship, but how? Just like a worship service at Church, there are certain aspects of worship that we should partake of when leading our families.
The first is bible instruction. That means that every day we read from the Bible and explain it to our family. As heads of households we have to instruct our families with the same seriousness that the minister preaches to us with on Sunday. Be sure to be pure in doctrine when explaining the scriptures; if you need help in this area speak to your elder or pastor, or a trusted mature Christian friend who can help you. We are not all theologians, but we should all know the basic tenants of our faith, without bringing in false teachings. Spending time in the confessions will help in this regard as well.
The second is prayer. Every day we should lead our family in prayer. As the heads of our homes it is our duty to go before the throne of God on our families behalf as prophet, priest and king. We must engage our family in prayer. We must seek to bring our families to the foot of the cross and seek God’s blessing for them through prayer. When praying with our families we should be short. Three to five minutes is more than enough. But do not be too short, as I admit I can be prone to doing. Learn the ACTS of prayer if you have trouble leading in prayer, or write your prayers down beforehand. Ask your family for prayer requests and bring all those things before God in prayer. Engaging your children in prayer and asking for their concerns will show them that you care about their needs and that you want to pray for them. Teach your kids to pray as well.
The third is singing praise. This is the one that I certainly fail at…singing the praise of God with your family every day. Sing doctrinally pure songs, especially the Psalms. The Lord is to be worshiped daily through the singing of psalms and hymns in our homes as it says in Colossians 3:16.
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
My daughter usually has a weekly memory work from JCS that involves memorizing a stanza of a psalm or hymn,. If your kids go to JCS or another Christian school and memorize the psalms you could incorporate that into your family worship by singing the memory work stanza plus another one each night of the week to help memorize the song.
Men, we must ensure that we have family worship in our homes. Too many of us are failing at this, and I certainly need to improve. God requires it of us as the heads of our families. You have a position of authority in your family not as their friend, or their slave driver or their master but as their prophet, priest and king, showing them the way to God. You will be asked to give account of how you lead your family.
Family worship requires preparation. Don’t be unprepared like I was last night when our pastor was over for dinner ( that is not something you should do) 🙂 But in my defense I was not feeling well and was enthralled in conversation…oh right I forgot…no more excuses! Choose a text to read, and have your thoughts about that text ready to go. Read something not too lengthy if you have younger children. You should have a set place to meet, the dinner table or another special place. And you should have a song or hymn to sing, which I did not have ready last night either.
The entire family should be there just like at the worship service on Sunday. You would not skip the worship service, or let your oldest child skip out, in the same way we should not skip family worship! Trust me I get it. When you get home and you’re tired after long hard day’s work, and do not feel like doing it…do it anyway, don’t make excuses. (I will stop as well.)
How much time should you spend? How long should you spend? We should frame the day with worship, so set times for worship in the morning and in the evening. It is better to do it 10 minutes every day, than to do it for 30 minutes every 3 days. Lead your family in worship every day.
Finally, you must have personal devotions. How can you lead your family to the cross if you do not know the way yourself? Spend time in the scriptures and in prayer yourself. Imagine a pastor who preaches the word, but does not have personal devotions! This is the same thing. Family worship starts on your knees, alone with God, worshipping him, praying, praising and seeking the strength and wisdom to lead your family.
I failed in leading my family. I admit that. I have confessed this to my wife, and am now leading her and the kids to the throne. I am stumbling along the road of course; it is not easy to be sure! Especially when the toddler throws a plate on the ground or runs away during prayer or bible reading and you lose your spot. It takes humility and will be difficult at first…and it is never too late to begin. Put away your pride, or your fear, or your excuses and lead your wife and kids. Begin today. Confess your shortcomings to your family and to God and begin now! Family worship will set the tone for your entire home. Will it be easy? Not at first! That is why it takes discipline, and devotion. Lead your family, in the strength that He provides. Lead with Christlikeness. Lead them with a firm fatherly hand and warm caring heart.
That is what Joshua 24:15 is about. So Choose today whom you will serve…as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. Join me won’t you?
Resources: Family Worship by Joel R. Beeke is a wonderful resource for heads of households to learn how to implement family worship in your home. Highly recommended!