By: Mark Baker
Read, Pray, Sing
In the last post I briefly outlined a helpful structure for family worship through three simple actions: reading, praying and singing. This installment will expand on each of these three elements.
The purpose of family worship is to gather together as a family to glorify God. What better way to glorify God than to do it by being saturated in the Scriptures? Create a Bible reading plan where you work your way through Psalms, Proverbs or the New Testament. Depending on the age of your children, you may want to read one third or one half of a chapter. As your children get older, one way to help engage them in conversation is to ask them to choose one verse that they will explain to you and one verse that you will explain to them. This will keep them paying attention as well as allowing them to verbally process the easier verses and to understand the harder verses with greater clarity.
While secondary literature should never replace the Bible, it can prove to be a helpful and enjoyable supplement. Here is a list to help you get started:
- The Jesus Storybook Bible: Every Story Whispers His Name by Sally Lloyd-Jones. (0-4 years)
- The Children’s Story Bible by Catherine Vos. (4-10 years)
- Big Truths for Young Hearts by Bruce Ware. (8-up)
Prayer is the natural response to reading the Word. Your prayer time is a wonderful opportunity for your children to learn how to pray by hearing you pray and by praying themselves. Try to pray about what you have just read from in the Scriptures. You also may want to include praying for your pastor, friends and family, missionaries and the persecuted church.
- Voice of the Martyrs is a wonderful (and free!) resource for learning how to pray for the persecuted church.
- Operation World is a helpful resource that lists specific gospel-oriented prayer needs for every country in the world.
I have recently gained a new appreciation for worship through song. We are currently singing through the Psalms at the school where I teach. Though I cannot carry a tune in a bucket, sometimes I am required to lead a class or even the entire school in a cappella singing. If there were ever a group of off tune singers, it would be my class when I lead! But I have experienced fresh waves of joy in Jesus and fresh understanding of the Scriptures as I have lifted up my voice in song to the Lord.
It is easy to compile a simple family song book. If your church prints song lyrics in the bulletin, collect several of the extras and put them in a notebook. You might also be able to get your hands on some old hymnals if you so desire.
If this post makes you feel like you are drinking from a fire hydrant, then stop and take a deep breath! You will obviously not be able to incorporate every suggestion into your own time of family worship. Keep these three points as general guidelines for all that you do in family worship: brevity, regularity and flexibility. Remember the goal is not to legalistically accomplish a task, but to glorify God by gathering together as a family to worship on a regular basis.