Thoughts on family worship

As expected, the lecture on family worship was one of the very best of the semester and I set my mind immediately to implement what was taught. Several aspects of the lecture I found particularly helpful. The first was the simplicity of the task. I have known of families who have practiced this but the idea had always been somewhat intimidating. It seemed something relegated to the super-spiritual club and I had resisted it, in part, due to my own shame and failure, and also because I did not want to do it simply because all the Christians-who-are-really-good-Christians do it. So it was with great anticipation that I looked forward to this lecture because I knew, in my heart, that it was the right thing to do and I wanted some guidance now, especially since I have two small children that I want to train for godliness. And so, back to simplicity: Read, Pray, Sing. Man, that’s easy. Could I have come up with this on my own? Certainly, but I had built it up in my mind to be this big deal and intricate plan that I’m sure I wouldn’t have the time to implement. So, to have Dr. Whitney spell out this very simple plan steals the mystique from it and makes it seem very doable and applicable.

Another aspect of the lecture that I thought was so penetrating and powerful was to acknowledge how many men simply feel ashamed. I feel ashamed that I haven’t been doing it and to mention to my wife that I want to do it is, in effect, an admission of failure. It takes a swallowing of pride to come to this point but my family is worth it. Any godly man, especially one who is in training for ministry, would have a hard time admitting such a neglect, but I appreciate so much Dr. Whitney’s acknowledgement of the shame aspect but then giving comfort in the fact that so few of us ever grew up in an environment where we see this modeled. Kudos.

What I have found after practicing it for these last few days is how easy it is to do and how, now that we’ve begun the practice, to add some of our own twists and additions. For example, after simply reading and praying for a couple of days, I thought of some modifications that would help. I have made a prayer list that covers a seven day span so that each day we pray for something different but repeat important concerns on that same day every week. Perhaps we can expand this and make it a month with the most important concerns coming up weekly and more ‘back-burner’ issues coming up monthly. Then I thought that we could take these requests and, after finalizing them, print them off and have the sheet laminated. Perhaps I can make it small enough to use as a bookmark in my Bible and use it to mark where we are in the scriptures.

I was amazed to see something yesterday: my daughter is only about 18 months old and she knows a few words but isn’t speaking full sentences yet. But we have taught her what a Bible looks like as opposed to other books and she sits and listens to the Bible being read during family worship. Since we started just this past Tuesday (after the lecture that afternoon) we have done it for four days so far. Yesterday, when I got up from the dinner table to retrieve my Bible, before I entered the room with it she had already started saying “Bible, Bible!” knowing that this is what comes next. Four days into this she recognized the routine and knew that her Father was going to read from the Bible. My heart melted because I began to feel more like a man; more like the leader of my home. I hope and pray that this will be something that she will always cherish and remember fondly times of family worship around the dinner table every evening. My wife and I have already determined, long ago, that the evening dinner with the family is to be guarded at all costs.

I am so glad for the lecture on family worship and hope that, over time, we can see our children learn to pray and seek the Lord because of this practice.

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