A hundred and fifty years ago (in England) family worship might have still been an established tradition in some families, and a fairly well promoted as a concept. But for the most part it seems like its general usage died out even before the oldest generations now living were even born. Thus it doesn't hold a nostalgic place in people's affections as one of those long cherished memories of the 'good old days' which is constantly promoted as being something to be encouraged and revived. It's rarely advocated because most people have never heard of it (and where they have heard of it they probably don't like it on the grounds of the amount of work it involves).

In an age when people tend to get married later, it seems a shame that more effort isn't being poured into preparing young men to be the effective spiritual leaders of their households. In their days of comparative leisure and freedom they could start systematically preparing a course of daily teaching in readiness for the time when they may enter married life and the time constraints of marriage impose severe restrictions on the ease of preparing the daily times of worship. It often feels like we only ever start practicing for something when it is already too late to become proficient at it. How many men would be prepared to lead the household in an hour of worship on the evening of their wedding day? Where would time be found to prepare the teaching for the following morning and evening and for the duration of the honeymoon? And when back at work, or when children have appeared on the scene? In theory much preparation could be done years in advance, even if it needed some revision when the time came for actually delivering it. And if a good routine of study and preparation was adopted and established long before marriage, hopefully it would continue afterwards. 

Are there many people out there who have instituted family worship, or who have inherited the practice of it from having grown up with it? Of what does it consist? How do you structure it? How do you prepare for it? How much time is set aside for it?  

It would be interesting to see what effects family worship had on the church where it became the norm. It could be a good training ground for the future leaders of the church, a place for the men to learn to study and prepare, to develop good routine and discipline, to learn to speak, to teach, to teach systematically, to simplify things so that children can understand and alter it to the level of the hearers, to engage people's interest, and to answer any questions that might be posed, and to considerately put together a service where all the elements are weaved together into a cohesive whole - lessons which many pastors could do with learning. How different would a church look if all its people were spending at least an hour a day in worshiping God and studying His word in family units (not to mention all the additional times spent in private devotions)? How different would families look?  

It's said that Matthew Henry's Commentary consisted largely of teaching which his father delivered during their times of family worship. How many sons might be enabled to greatly surpass their forefathers for intimacy with the Word of God and the depth of their knowledge and understanding of it through being well-grounded in it in it from their very infancy? 



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Replies to This Discussion

Ths may prove yr pt, but what is family worship?

We do prayer before meals and the boy who can talk gets a section of Bible.  The guy who can't gets a rote prayer we do.

Guy who can talk:  I like what we do, but I also like that we just weave a positive view of the world and God into our storytelling, which is a lot of what I do with him.

I was surprised to learn of a pastor who had turned a room in his parsonage into a chapel for his family to worship. Worship in my family was limited to saying a blessing before dinner and prayers before bed.
I have often wondered about the effect that a strong family worship culture would have on the church. The last few years, I have begun to lead my own family in the study of Scripture. Of course, many places in the Bible parents are instructed to teach their children about God and His Word. One of the best ways to do this is through family worship. I have found two great resources to begin thinking about this: God's Grand Vision for the Home, by Dr. Rob Rienow (this is a newer, and easier-to-read book), and The Family and Family Worship: An Essay, in Two Parts, by B. M. Palmer and J. W. Alexander (this is a reprint of a book published in the late 1800's). Both of these books take a look at family worship, the benefits, and ideas of how one can conduct them. I would highly recommend them and encourage anyone to start simple and continue to grow with time and experience. It is definitely worth it!


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