Think about what you do every day, the things you do because you need to, the things that benefit you. I sleep every day. Sleep is vital for good health. Sleep deprivation can lead to mental issues, a compromised immune system, high blood pressure, poor balance, and more. Sleep is good. I also eat every day. Good nutrition is vital for good health. Malnutrition can cause awful side effects like unhealthy weight loss, slowed healing of wounds, fatigue, and depression. Food is good. Breathing air. Drinking water. Exercise. They’re all good to do and benefit us in many ways.
Daily family worship is really good too. By daily family worship I mean when a family gathers together every day in their home to worship God, to direct their attention to Biblical truth, theology, and how to live out the Christian faith.
Now, daily family worship will not happen if parents are not giving their children gift number one: the prioritization of their children’s discipleship. The only way daily family worship happens is if parents realize their God-given responsibility to disciple their children and devote themselves to actually doing it. And the other two gifts play an important part as well. Gift two is a basic theological framework through catechization. This helps give shape to daily family worship. More on that in a bit. The third gift is weekly corporate worship. This is the most important gift and must be first place. That said, daily family worship overflows from weekly corporate worship. Weekly corporate worship gives shape and substance to daily family worship. The two work together to impart the Christian faith to our kids.
Before giving the simple nuts and bolts of daily family worship, we must realize how important it is. God commands parents to disciple their children at home. Sure, it can look different ways, but it must be regular and intentional. Deuteronomy 6 refers to God’s commands, and verses 6-7 say:
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.
God commands parents to diligently teach their children the Christian faith; think steady, careful, and thorough discipleship. Parents are called to teach their children doctrine and devotion to God while sitting in their home, doing errands out and about, preparing for bed, and even in morning routines. God’s truth must permeate family life.
Psalm 78:5-6 mentions that Yahweh commanded Israel (fathers) to teach their children. Why? Verses 6-7 explain:
that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children, so that they should set their hope in God and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments;
Right there is why daily family worship is central to the Christian family. Corporate worship is first priority, but daily family worship is integral to passing on the faith and hope of Christ to generations. As Psalm 78:3-4 explains, the Biblical truths we have learned must not be hidden from our children; we must tell the coming generations about the redemptive works of God. In Ephesians 6:4, Paul tells Christian fathers to, “bring [their children] up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (cf. Gen. 18:19; Deut. 4:9; 11:19; Prov. 19:18; 22:6; 29:17; 2 Tim. 3:15). To do this well, parents need a plan, a blueprint.
Okay, what does daily family worship look like? To attempt an answer is dangerous because discipleship can look different ways for different families. That said, in my experience, many parents seem unsure of what to do because they’ve never had daily family worship modeled for them. They didn’t grow up with it. Parents seem to need specific instructions. So here are five simple points to get your family moving toward a daily routine of family worship.
1. Discipline and routine is first priority.
I think the most challenging part of daily family worship is getting started and sticking at it. Some parents give up. You can’t. Pick the most convenient time. When is it easiest to gather everyone together? You have to make the time. Clear the schedule, put it into the schedule, and make it a priority for the eternal good of your family.
2. Start with just ten minutes.
Ten minutes is a short amount of time. It may not seem like much, but it’s a starting point, and you can achieve much in ten minutes. You can always increase the minutes as daily family worship becomes routine. The important thing is to gather for those ten minutes every day.
3. Catechize through repetition.
Here is where gift two proves really helpful. You need a blueprint for daily family worship, a blueprint which outlines the most important doctrines of the Christian faith. Help your kids learn the basics really well. Start with the Heidelberg Catechism (HC). I’m not aware of a better blueprint! Begin to study through it as a family at your own pace. The HC is divided into 52 Lord’s Days to parallel the weeks of the year. So, perhaps make each Lord’s Day the focus for each week. Review, review, review. Memorize. Discuss. Question. Apply. Finish the HC once a year or more. So much can be learned in 5 minutes of meditation on the HC.
4. Read the Bible.
The HC has proof texts. Maybe start by reading one or two of the texts to show your kids why the HC says what it does. Make connections. Maybe read through a book of the Bible together and look for guilt, grace, gratitude. Maybe review the sermon from Sunday. Use the pastor’s sermon discussion questions. Maybe read the passage for the upcoming Sunday. Ponder the Word after you hear it; ponder the Word before you hear it. This gets the kids involved and helps them connect Sunday to Monday through Saturday.
5. Take prayer requests and everyone prays.
Share requests and pray for each other. Confess sin and pray for each other. Pray for your church. Pray for your community. Help your kids identify what Christians should pray for, and then help them learn how to pray. Teach your kids the Lord’s Prayer. Use it as an outline to direct your prayers. Pray the Ten Commandments. Pray the Apostles’ Creed.
You can do all of these things for 10 minutes a day. You can do more in 20. You can do even more in 30, but start with 10 and develop the habit first. Don’t expect it to be perfect, but even the youngest kids can participate for 10 minutes.
It may help to add in a psalm or hymn or the doxology. Singing together is a great blessing and way to learn good songs. Get your children involved: in reading, reciting, asking questions, etc. Also, daily family worship should not be isolated from daily life. The key is teaching and showing your children how a basic theological framework and weekly corporate worship relate and apply to all of life. Disciple as you live, not just in daily family worship. The most important thing is helping your children connect the dots, helping them see how the basics of the Christian faith work out in life.
The biggest challenge of daily family worship is not understanding what to do; it’s doing it. The hardest part is making family worship an integral part of your family’s daily routine. If you prioritize it, if you follow this simple plan for just 10 minutes a day, it will make a big difference. Start with 10 minutes. When it’s routine, increase the time to increase the impact. Imagine how 10 minutes a day over the course of 18 years will serve and train your children. By God’s grace, you can do it, so get to it. Do daily family worship because you love God. Do it because you love your kids. Do it because you believe the Holy Spirit will use you to encourage and strengthen your children in the Christian faith.
Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. May not copy or download more than 500 consecutive verses of the ESV Bible or more than one half of any book of the ESV Bible.