Friday, August 04, 2006

FAMILY WORSHIP TIME

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. (Deuteronomy 6:6-7)

For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him. (Genesis 18:19)

A pastor and friend of mine recently suggested that I read Donald S. Whitney's book, Spiritual Disciplines of the Christian Life (Colorado Springs, Colorado: NavPress, 1991). God is using this work to challenge and enrich my devotional life, particularly in regard to Bible intake and prayer.

Whitney, who teaches Biblical Spirituality at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky ( www.sbts.edu) has also written a very helpful 32-page booklet (including study/discussion guide) entitled Family Worship: in the Bible, in History, & in Your Home. As the title suggests, the author presents the Scriptures relevant to family worship and shows us its importance in church history. Then he tells us how we can implement family worship in our own homes, answering objections (such as single parent homes, variety of ages of children, homes where dad is not a believer, etc.), and pressing upon us the urgency of the delightful duty of family worship.

So, what is family worship? According to Whitney, all you need to do is 3 things: read, pray, and sing. You could read a chapter of the Bible, spend time in prayer, and praise God with song. The time need not be long, but it should be regular. It need not be burdensome, and can often be incorporated into a family meal time. If time permits, you could also use a catechism (question & answers to help children learn the teaching of the Bible), memorize Scripture, and read other good Christian books. Family worship is a great way to emphasize the priority of God in your home.

Now, if you think my little blog entry here is "preachy," let me be very open with you and admit my own struggles for consistency in this area. I have two small children and a somewhat busy life with the different responsibilities I juggle. But that does not excuse me. I am accountable to God for the training of my children and for the spiritual aroma of my home. I am beginning to implement these principles of family worship, and, with the help of God, desire to establish this as a distinctive part of my family life for all my days.

I know I am not alone in this struggle. I recall hearing of a visiting preacher who asked a church how many had family worship regularly at their home. No one said they did. Is this not a sad commentary? Should this not be a joyful, daily part of the lives of the people of God? I strongly urge you to consider yourself in this matter. Do you have family worship? If not, why not? Will you start now? Whitney's book should be a help to you as you begin or reexamine your family worship.

You may order the book from Cumberland Valley Bible Book Service at www.cvbbs.com & The Center for Biblical Spirituality at www.biblicalspirituality.org/fworder1.html or email info@BiblicalSpirituality.org . (If you are a pastor, you may be interested to know that the Center for Biblical Spirituality offers discounts for multiple copies.) Another helpful article by the same author is "Simplifying Family Worship," available at www.biblicalspirituality.org/fworship.html.

For the glory of God and the sake of your family, take Whitney's advice: begin family worship today.

No comments: