I trust there are none here present, who profess to be followers of Christ who do not also practice prayer in their families. We do not have a positive commandment for it, but we believe that it is so much in accord with the genius and spirit of the gospel, and that it is so commended by the example of the saints, that the neglect thereof is a strange inconsistency. - Charles Spurgeon
FAMILY WORSHIP IN THE BIBLE
FAMILY WORSHIP IN CHURCH HISTORY
In the 17th century, both the Presbyterians and the Baptists considered family worship so important that they included statements about it in their confessions of faith.
God is to be worshiped everywhere in spirit and in truth; as in private families daily, and in secret each one by himself. – The Westminster Confession of Faith
He is to be gravely and sadly reproved by the elders; after which reproof, if he be found still to neglect Family-worship, let him be, for his obstinacy in such an offence, suspended and debarred from the Lord’s supper, as being justly esteemed unworthy to communicate therein, til he amend.
- from The Directory of Family Worship by the Westminster Assembly in August of 1647
If therefore our houses be houses of the Lord, we shall for that reason love home, reckoning our daily devotion the sweetest of our daily delights; and our family-worship the most valuable of our family comforts. . . . A church in the house will be a good legacy, nay, it will be a good inheritance, to be left to your children after you.
- Matthew Henry
If you love your children; if you would bring them the blessing of heaven upon your families; if you would have your children make their houses the receptacles of religion when they set up in life for themselves; if you would have religion survive in this place, and be conveyed from age to age; if you would deliver your own souls – I beseech, I entreat, I charge you to begin and continue the worship of God in your families from this day to the close of your lives . . . . Consider family religion not merely as a duty imposed by authority, but as your greatest privilege granted by divine grace. – Samuel Davies
You don’t just expect to hand your children off to the church do you? The church has a unique role in that, but fathers, your responsibility is to bring your children up in the instruction of the Lord. Only part of that is bringing them under the preaching of the gospel, congregational praises and prayers – that’s an essential part – but the Lord does not mean you hand them off to anyone else as the primary discipliner and teacher in the things of the Lord. It’s a command given as the direct responsibility of the father.
We live in a day when entertaining our children ranks higher in importance than instructing our children. Beware the television set or internet that will keep you from family worship!
THE ELEMENTS OF FAMILY WORSHIP
Read the Bible
Consider these three reminders:
brevity, regularity, flexibility
Other purposes for Family Worship:
• Talking together
• Catechizing your children
• Reading good books
• Scripture memory
It used to be that 50% of professing Christians had a daily family altar of worship and prayer. When these praying families came together in a church it was like “adding power to power,” with the result that there was a mighty spirit of revival prevailing – souls were saved; the saints were blessed and edified; backsliders were restored and the whole community was shaken and brought under the convicting power of the Holy Spirit. Nowadays it is estimated that only 5% of professing Christians maintain daily family worship. It isn’t enough that the churches we go to exalt Christ and teach His Word. The homes we come from must likewise exalt Christ and teach the Word. Families which ignore God and His Word six days a week will not be likely to know God “in the power of His resurrection” on the seventh day of the week! - from How to Have a Family Altar by Norman Williams
If we want to bring up a godly family, who shall be a seed to serve God when our heads are under the clods of the valley, let us seek to train them up in the fear of God by meeting together as a family for worship. - Charles Spurgeon
RESOURCES FOR FAMILY WORSHIP
The Family Nights Tool Chest series by Focus on the Family / Heritage Builders
(provides fun family devotions by topic including games and discussion questions)
Training Hearts – Teaching Minds by Starr Meade
(offers simple, daily readings for one year based on the Westminster Shorter Catechism)
Moments Together for Couples by Dennis and Barbara Rainey (basic devotional for couples)
Resouce used for this message: Family Worship by Donald Whitney