What Is Family Worship?
What is family worship? The term “family worship” might sound funny—don’t worry, it doesn’t mean karaoke with the kids, or doing cultic rituals.
So what is it? Here are three answers to that question, which we hope will inspire you to begin family worship in your own home!
1. Family Worship Is a Part of Your Family Culture
Family worship is the natural overflow of a the heart of a parent who loves the Lord. They are going to want to share him at every opportunity, look to him in every challenge and decision, and praise him for every blessing. Parents who love the Lord will naturally desire to share him with their kids. When you love Jesus, you want to know, love, and praise him as a family.Knowing, loving, and praising Jesus as a household takes many forms: sitting together at church, singing praise songs on the way to school, praying before meals or at bedtime, and reading the Bible together.
In the Old Testament, God told the people of Israel to build a culture of worship in their homes. He instructed them,
You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. (Deuteronomy 6:5-9 ESV)
Family worship is a natural part of the household culture of anyone who loves Jesus. It includes spontaneous expressions of love for Jesus and daily habits that become part of your family culture.
2. Family Worship Is a Planned Activity
In the New Testament book of Ephesians, the author Paul instructs parents to intentionally teach their children: “…bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4 ESV). Bringing your kids to church and other church programs may offer supplemental instruction to your children, but God’s Word tells us that the most important venue for teaching our children and nurturing their faith is at home.
Family worship, then, means more than creating a culture where Jesus is honored. A family culture oriented around Jesus includes planned and deliberate times focused on learning from Jesus through the Bible. It may even include prayer and singing or Bible verse memorization.
It involves an intentional decision made by parents to set aside specific time as a whole household to learn from God through his Word.
3. Family Worship Means Engaging with God’s Word Together
Your family worship will be just that—your household worshiping!
It includes whoever is part of your household. It will revolve around your family’s rhythms and routines. The time will be shaped by your family’s questions, prayers, and the parts of Scripture you choose to study. It simply means engaging with God’s Word as a family.
You don’t need a curriculum—just your Bible. It can take 5 or 15 or 50 minutes. It can happen every night or once a week. Just remember—focused, deliberate, habitual.
It means that your family is intentionally pursuing the Lord together by spending time in his Word and prayer. This can take whatever shape suits your needs.
How to begin?
Set a time. Set the expectation with your family that every member will take part. Start each time you get together with prayer, asking God to help you know, love, and worship him. Decide how you want to spend your time together and what part of God’s Word you want to read.
Pray that God will help you keep this discipline, and he will be faithful to teach you and your children more about himself.
4. Family Worship Is Not Just Another Routine
Even though family worship is a spiritual discipline, which means that it takes diligence and some effort to maintain. However, just because family worship is a discipline, does not mean we should consider it a chore or a positive thing we just ought to do, like eating vegetables. Family worship is something we delight to do.
Worship is an overflow of the heart. In John 4:23-24, Jesus says, “But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth” (ESV). Worship happens in our spirit, in individual hearts who have tasted and seen God’s goodness (Psalm 34:8). God doesn’t ask us to do activities of worship for their own sake; rather, he gives us activities of worship like prayer and singing and even dancing so that we have a means to express the worship happening in our hearts in a way that honors him and blesses others. Family worship is just a way of leading your family to express your love for and obedience to the Lord. We worship God because of who he is and what he has done for us. Remember this as you plan, so that your family worship time does not become rigid, ritualistic, or a means of trying to earn God’s favor on your family. God already has demonstrated his love toward us (Romans 5:8). We worship and we pursue family worship because of all that God has already done for us in Jesus Christ.
Family worship should not be one routine among many, it is a relational activity—parents and kids spending time together getting to know the Lord and learning to love him more through all the means he has given us to do so (like prayer, reading the Bible, and singing).
Is Family Worship for Me?
We hope you see that family worship is a natural, achievable, joyous experience for any home where Jesus is trusted and loved. It is just an intentional effort you make for your faith in Jesus and your love for God’s Word to become part of the culture of your home. Is it for you? Yes! How will that look in your home? Ask God’s Spirit to give you wisdom regarding what family worship might look like in your home.