Family Worship

October 19, 2011

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FAMILY WORSHIP by Donald S. Whitney (CHAPTER 3)
ISBN:0978523806

“Read, Pray, & Sing” The Elements of Family Worship
Basically, there are three elements to family worship: read the Bible, pray, and sing. Only three syllables to remember-read, pray, sing. Jerry Marcellino, in his useful booklet, Recovering the Lost Treasure of Family Worship I uses three S’s as a reminder: Scripture, supplication, and song. But the elements are so simple that you probably will not need any reminders about what to do.

Read the Bible. 
Chapter-by-chapter, read through books of the Bible together. The younger the children, the more you will want to use narrative passages and shorter sections.’ As the children get older, set a goal of a complete reading of the New Testament, and later of the entire Bible. Read enthusiastically and interpretively. Explain words the children may not understand. Clarify the meaning of key verses. To improve their understanding, ask the children to explain a particular verse or phrase to you.

Pray. 
Whether prayer is offered by the father only, or by one he designates, or by the entire family, be sure to pray together. Some people keep a prayer list. Some simply ask for prayer requests from the family. Whatever your approach, pray about at least one thing suggested by the passage you have read. Many families go to the book of Psalms and turn the words of a few verses there into a prayer. If praying through the twenty-third Psalm, for instance, after reading the first verse you might thank the Lord for being your Shepherd, asking Him to shepherd your family through certain events or decisions before you, and so forth. As you have time, continue through the passage line-by-line, speaking to God about what comes to mind while reading the text. By so doing you will not only pray for your family (in fresh and unique ways), but also teach them by example how to pray.

Sing. 
Get hymnals for everyone. Your church may have some unused or older ones you could acquire. Your pastor or another worship leader at your church may be able to recommend other songbooks. The lyrics of many older, public domain (that is, not copyrighted) songs are available free on the Internet. Some people sing a different song each time; some sing the same song for a week so they can learn it. As to music, some families sing along with recordings, while others utilize family musicians, and many simply sing without accompaniment. Remember: with this and all other elements of family worship, some preparation is worthwhile, but not necessary. Just sit down and read, pray, and sing.

Spurgeon concurs, “I agree with Matthew Henry when he says, ‘They that pray in the family do well; they that pray and read the Scriptures do better; but

they that pray, and read,
and sing do best of all.

Some other helps in family worship

Catechize. Used for centuries by Christians in virtually all traditions, catechizing is a question-and-answer approach to teaching biblical doctrine. I have seen catechisms used successfully with children as young as two. For example, “Who made you?” is the first question asked in one catechism for very small children. Then the children are taught to answer, “God made me.” The questions are reviewed and new ones are learned incrementally so that over time the children absorb a tremendous amount of biblical truth. A good, age-appropriate catechism is as valuable for learning the Bible as memorizing multiplication tables is for learning mathematics. Ask your pastor for recommendations, or search for catechisms on the Internet.

Memorize Scripture. Family worship is a great time to review Scripture the family members have learned separately or collectively. Some families choose to work on one or more verses from the book of the Bible they are currently reading, others use different plans. Even learning just one verse per month is valuable and takes little time. 


Read other books. If time allows, you might begin your gathering together with some general family reading, after which you enter family worship. Or, at the close of family worship, you might take advan- tage of the opportunity to read a Christian book or biography to your family.

Beyond these content-related guidelines, consider these three reminders for your family’s daily worship of God: 


Brevity. Be brief. Otherwise the experience can become tedious. It is always easy to lengthen the time if the occasion seems to be especially meaningful. 


Regularity. Try to have a regular time each day for family worship. For some people it works best early in the morning before the family scatters. For others, the most convenient time is at the close of the evening meal. If this is your choice, part of setting the table might include putting the Bible and songbooks close at hand. I would also recommend that you not allow anyone to get up from table until family worship is finished. For once someone says, “Just let me do this first,” the others can become impatient or think of things they also need to do, and the sense of family togetherness is lost. A third popular time for family worship is late in the evening or at bedtime. 


Flexibility. Whatever time you choose, consider the wisdom of adapting a time when the family is already accustomed to being together, rather than trying to create another routine gathering during the day. Of course, a set time for family worship each day does not fit the schedule of many families. Every family has to flex its worship time sometime. Just make sure that your flexibility does not lead to inconsistency. Nevertheless, if developing an entirely new family routine is what it takes to begin family worship, the benefits will be worth whatever it costs.

Blessings,
Pastor Alvin

Apologetics.com Radio airs every Friday at midnight from 12:00 AM to 2:00 AM (Pacific time) on KKLA (99.5 FM).  Doug Eaton is a regular guest on the show.  He invited Pastor Jeff to join the discussion on “Sacrifice and the Christian Life” this Friday night going into Memorial Day Weekend. 

Brew up some coffee and be sure to listen!  You might even give a call on the air at 1-888-LA-TALKS (1-888-528-2557).

Find more information at apologetics.com.

Family Worship

May 2, 2010

When it comes to books about theology and the Christian life it has been said for every new book one should read two old books. Wonderfully rich theology is contained in them. I wanted to mention one such book.

Thoughts on Family Worship by James W. Alexander
Which can be read for free at the link below.

http://books.google.com/books?id=n4gQAAAAYAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=thoughts+on+family+worship&source=bl&ots=sHudzZLa8n&sig=rG6dkvGwoMdcjH35MacTDIP8uwk&hl=en&ei=vRXdS4n_HpTWsQP517XBBg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=4&ved=0CCkQ6AEwAw#v=onepage&q&f=false

I am the worship leader in my home

One of the primary reasons worship is misunderstood, misconstrued or otherwise neglected in the church is because it is being neglected in the home. Family worship as the name communicates is the collective worship given to God by the members of one household.

It would be incorrect to say that leading in scripture reading, singing of hymns and spiritual songs or in prayer, would be in addition to the responsibilities of a husband and father. More correct would be that these activities are the outpouring of a healthy family whose leader is fulfilling his responsibility to those entrusted to his care, through family worship.

Leading and modeling

After the initial understanding of the call to family worship many efforts in such an endeavor fall short still. A great leader once said I never ask my troops to do something that I would not myself do nor know nothing about. Family worship time should be an expression and an indication of each member’s personal worship and devotion time. In most cases, neither family nor individual worship will exceed that which is modeled by the father/husband as the shepherd of his family.

Methods of family worship

The author gives a suggestion and example of how a family devotion time might be conducted. Inquiries of the family as to the particular graces extended to them throughout the course of their day for which collective praises might be rendered and or further supplications of continued grace in those matters. The father/Husband might turn the family’s attention to a hymn that has blessed his own devotion time during the week. He might teach the hymn if necessary, lead the family in singing and probe the depths of the theological truths within the hymn and consult the scriptures for edification.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the father/husband has a particular role in molding the worshippers entrusted to his household. This is no small task and one that he does not go at alone. God has been using the godly examples of fathers, since creation, to teach their children what an acceptable sacrifice looks like. Able learned how to prepare his sacrifice to the Lord, no doubt, through the teaching and example of Adam and it was acceptable in the Lord’s eyes.

Blessings,

Alvin

These 2 articles by Steve McCoy are very helpful and encouraging. His ideas are great, but the most important thing to glean from both articles is his purposeful mindset. Your context may be a little different to his, but there will be several things you can do too! May we each be this purposeful about loving others in practical ways and reaching them with the good news they need!

Steve’s articles:   

Summerbia

Summerbia: Connection Tools

~Donovan

HT: Justin Taylor

Prayer and God’s Plan

July 25, 2009

How does prayer fit into God’s plan? Doesn’t God know the future? Isn’t every last detail in His plan? So why pray? John Piper answers this question well – in a simple, readable way that won’t make your head explode! Read it here.

~Donovan

HT: Justin Taylor

Terry Stauffer is a pastor whose 14 year old daughter was murdered in September 2008.

In an interview with Tim Challies, Terry said, “We’re learning that God gives strength as we need it. When people say, “I could never be as strong as you,” I always think – and sometimes say – “I couldn’t either.” There’s no way either Juanita or I could have been prepared for the loss of Emily, or for the attention that we have received since her murder. God gives grace and strength step-by-step as it’s needed.”

To read the rest of this very moving, God-centered interview, click here.

~Donovan

It’s been a busy week, and I haven’t had a chance to post anything. I have come across several good posts on-line though, and since I don’t know which to link to, here’s a smorgasboard of good stuff from around the web (as usual, I found most of this stuff thanks to Tim Challies and Justin Taylor!):

  • John Piper wrote a thought-provoking post entitled, “Why I Don’t Have a Television and Rarely Go to Movies” . This post also includes a wonderful example of humbly confessing sin. 
  • Keith and Kristen Getty have released a new album of modern, celtic-style hymns. Their lyrics are saturated with Scripture and their music is beautiful! You can listen to samples and/or order the CD here.
  • Sovereign Grace Music has released another children’s album entitled, To Be Like Jesus. Read about it here.
  • Tim Challies asked John Bell, pastor of New City Baptist Church in Toronto, to share about his experience sharing the gospel with the gay community in his city. It is well worth reading – to help us think biblically about homosexuality, and to help us in God-honoring evangelism and church life. There is also some very interesting discussion in the comments, especially involving a number of men who struggle with homosexuality but turn from it because of their commitment to Christ. Read this post here
  • If you’re compiling a summer reading list, you might find these 2 posts from David Powlison to be of interest. Powlison is a bilical counselor, professor, and author, and he spent some time this week discussing some of his favorite literature with CJ Mahaney. You can read part 1 here, and part 2 here.  
  • What does Kurt Warner, a Christian who plays quarterback for the Arizona Cardinals, like most about being a professional football player? His very encouraging answer is here.   

Blessings…

~Donovan

These 2 blog posts are well worth reading:

Read John Piper’s post,  Hero Worship and Holy Emulation, here.

Read Kevin DeYoung’s follow-up post, Thoughts on Evangelical Superstardom, here.

~Donovan

Two videos that illustrate the truth of Proverbs 16:18:

And

~ Donovan

HT: Justin Taylor

Mark Altrogge, a pastor and songwriter for Sovereign Grace Ministries, shares how he overcame self-conciousness while worshipping God. Read it here.

~Donovan

HT: Tim Challies