Friday, May 14, 2010

Family Worship - A Church in the Home

Psalms/blessed Assurance

When my children were all little, we had family worship twice each day. We would all take turns reading several chapters of Scripture, sing hymns and pray. The children developed a large vocabulary and excellent reading skills from the Bible. They also memorized a good deal of theology and verses, just by reading over and over again.

No matter what was going on, we did our Bible time. Since my husband worked most of the time, I led our studies. Often, during the evening reading, he would just sit nearby and listen. I remember one terrible crisis that came up. My youngest child (age 2 at the time) had to be rushed to the hospital in Boston. He and I were gone for 10 days. Mr. White had the care of the other four children, ages 4 - 11. But do you know what he did? Each day, he had the children pull out the Bibles and he led those children in our family worship. This was something he had never done before. But since he knew this was our habit, and Mama was gone, he continued with the routine and it was a tremendous blessing to those children. I cried, from the hospital, when he told me what he was doing. I was so grateful.

As the children grew up, many distractions came in and interfered with our home church. Schedules, activities and appointments made it very hard for me to create some kind of routine.

This past week, I put together another program to help us get on track. I wanted to have set times in the morning and evening for Family worship, but it never worked out. So this is what I have done:

Morning (sometime between 9 and 11) - Church Time

Evening (sometime between 5 and 8) - Church Time

I am striving for a set time, but I don't know if that will happen. It is also hard to have everyone at home at the same time. But I make it a point to include whoever is home even if that is only Me and one other family member. When we are out traveling, I am working on putting together a small kit so we can have our church time, even on the road, or waiting for an appointment. This is an enormous priority.

Here is our Church Schedule (It lasts for 30 minutes):

1. Prayer by one person.
2. Sing One Hymn from the Hymn book. (We have several copies, one for each person)
3. Read 3 chapters in the Bible
4. Sing One Hymn.
5. Prayer - all of us, taking a turn.
6. I read a short story or devotion.

We do this twice each day. I also record, in a little booklet, who was present and what we read.

I want this to be a routine that is set-in-stone. I want to say to the children, "Gather round, it's church time!" And have them come running. I want whoever is not home, to know in their heart, exactly what is happening at home. I want them to know they are being prayed over. I want them to feel a longing to be home at 6 p.m. or whenever we do this, to wish they were there with us, doing our family worship.

Is this difficult? YES. Does it take Sacrifice? Of Course. What are we willing to give up to accomplish this? Our favorite book or a TV program? An Outing? Some of our housework? Whatever it takes, find some way to create a church in your home.

Mrs. White


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Celee said...

Family devotions/worship are relatively new in our house and we love them! Since I homeschool the kids we do our morning time just before breakfast around 7:15-7:45 most days. The evenings are more difficult since we have Bible study one night and church one night and since my husband is gone sometimes at night. We probably do family worship 3-4 nights a week. I work with the kids in the morning on memory work and we're reading Making Brothers and Sisters Best Friends which is full of wonderful Bible verses we can try to conform ourselves to. In the evening my husband plays the guitar and we sing hymns and praise songs and read from the Bible or story Bible and pray. I can't imagine a better gift we could be giving our children than this daily habit of being in His Word and worshiping Him in all of life everyday, not just on Sundays.

Anonymous said...

Mrs. White, Our family has had a similiar family time each day for many years. We have learned to keep it simple, flexable, and very personal. My now teens didn't like the hymns so much so now we do an old hymn with a worship song of their choice. It is kind of fun when I catch them singing a hymn while they work. I even found one of or hymnals in my daughters tack room in the barn!

In the afternoons we do a book study together, instead of more bible reading. It has been neat to see how God has spoken to each of them through the differnt studies we have done.

God Bless!

Anonymous said...

Sounds wonderful! I read either a bible story or out of the Bible at night before bedtime. I alternate because they are young. In the morning I pick a bible verse card I keep a stack of them in an old tea box at breakfast. I sing out of an old hymn book sometimes. It's important to me that they have a biblical world view and I want them to know the Lord through bible reading. We also pray often.

A GAL NEEDS... said...

I know that in my church we have been told specifically that if we have family scriptures and prayer time every day, along with once a week the entire family having a family worship and activity, we will not lose our children to outside influences! That's a great promise and I applaud you (high five!) for doing the same and more in your own home.

MsJReg said...

I remembered this post of yours and tonight I found this on another webpage. I wish I had been more consistent with this while rearing my six girls.

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." There is a completeness in that kind of family worship which is much to be desired.
From Donald Whitney's book Family Worship.

Unknown said...

You have inspired me to implement this with my little one. she is the only child at home and I would love for her to grow up with a passion for Christ and devouring His word!