As a father and a husband, I recognize both the need to lead my family in the things of God as well as the daily grind that demands so much of my attention and that of my wife and daughter. The command is quite clear in Scripture – husbands and fathers are to instruct their family about the things of God. This command is repeated throughout Scripture.
In his helpful book titled Family Worship, Donald Whitney clearly demonstrates the importance of family worship as outlined in Scripture, while providing biblical and historical examples of godly men who obeyed this important command. The Bible is full of examples of men who led their family in discussing and pondering the things of God. One might not find the exact phrase “family worship” in Scripture; however, as Whitney saliently reminds the reader, “the Bible clearly implies that God deserves to be worshiped daily in our homes by our families.” We see men like Abraham and Joseph as well as Paul and Peter doing this very thing and exhorting others to follow suit. In church history, men such as Martin Luther and John Knox and more recent individuals such as Don Carson and John Piper have noted the value and importance of family worship.
So how does one go about doing family worship? Whitney suggests three essential activities – read, pray, and sing. In other words, read the Bible together in a purposeful manner, pray together either with the father leading the prayer time or having others take turns leading or joining in and finally, singing praises to God be it classic hymns or even more modern day choices. The point is to be purposeful and consistent in this activity. Whitney suggests defining a specific time of day during which family worship will take place. This will look different for families depending on their schedules. Regardless whether it is in the morning, noon, or evening, find a time and a place where all can gather and go for it.
Whitney also addresses some unique situations that may arise such as the husband not being a believer or the unfortunate reality of no father/husband being in the home. In such cases, the wife/mother can lead the charge. Families with young children should not feel they are off the hook from doing family worship. Whitney aptly suggests some ways to do family worship that is age appropriate.
One point I particularly appreciated is where he explains how starting family worship at a young age will result in the child, “believing that family worship is a normal part of life in the home, and as an adult won’t need a book like this one to teach him or her about the priority of family worship or how to conduct it.” It will be a natural and habitual part of life.
If you have neglected to do family worship, now is the perfect time to start. Don’t delay another day. Use this helpful book by Whitney to help you get started. Be encouraged that the great men of God who have come before you have spent time doing family worship with their families. Don’t be discouraged should you miss a few days. As a husband and father, I realize the importance of this family activity in my home and Whitney’s book was just the kick start I needed to reinstitute this practice in my own home.
I received this book for free from Crossway Books and the opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”