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To begin, family worship does not have to be elaborate, instrumental, or drawn-out. In fact, our family worship consists of:
-a baby, a preschooler, an almost 5-year-old, and a 7-year-old
-lasts about 10 minutes max
-progresses from the “Doxology” to prayer requests and prayer, then to the hymn of the week
-is done “a cappella” (without musical instruments)
-is sometimes choppy and interrupted, but we roll with the punches
-lifts every person’s mood
Family Worship: In the Bible, In History, & In Your Home by Donald Whitney
We have been in and out of seasons of family worship. Whitney gave me a better understanding of what family worship is. It is simple, yet it has not always been the right time for us to execute. Nonetheless, it was a great thing for our family in that season, about two years ago. In preparation for our family worship, I looked for hymns to print out, and found the website hymnary.org. I printed out about six hymns and put them in a 3-ring notebook. We gathered around the kitchen table, first thing in the morning or at dinner time. We sang our hymns, and Daddy would read the scripture that aligned with the BSF (Bible Study Fellowship) truth we were learning. We would pray at the end. I loved this season of grace God gave our family.
I have not bought any hymn resources. For upcoming hymn study, I feel led to Simply Charlotte Mason’s Singing the Great Hymns. Other places I’ve looked are:
Bible Study Fellowship
I would be remiss to leave out the impact Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) has had on my family and our relationship with the Lord. For those who do not know, BSF is an international parachurch ministry. What a wonderful way to get involved in in-depth Bible study! How rich the teaching was, how strong the community of faith, and how lovely is God’s Word! I joined BSF in my local area about nine years ago, praise the Lord (thank you to my husband’s cousin and aunt for encouraging me to join)! That year, we studied the entire book of Genesis. I could not get over how God used so much depravity in humanity for good and His own glory. Take Joseph’s story, for example. I could not get past the theme of forgiveness, and God was surely using that in my own life to help me forgive others. He still is, because I just love Joseph, an imperfect foreshadowing of Jesus.
I was part of a small group for about four to five years before I became a small group discussion leader myself. I had the opportunity to be in Christian community on both Tuesdays and Thursdays, as well as my own church community on Sundays and mid-week life group. I was steeped in God’s word, and He was giving me so much to think about. It was in BSF that I learned more of God’s character, not just through the study of His word, but also through the way He led me through tough life events. The word and my life were working in tandem to bring me closer to Christ Himself. It was during my time as a BSF leader I cried out to God, “WHY!?” in anguish as we discovered our baby was miscarried. If I had not been surrounded by BSF and my own local church, where would I have gone in my mind… in my heart? I was refreshed by the rich sharing of how God had been teaching, guiding, comforting and convicting other women. I was surrounded weekly by a ministry. Because of this, I was able to pour out to others in my life, my family especially. It was also through the solid leadership and counsel of other women that I considered a lesson: letting God equip me to a work, by obeying Him and seeing what He will do! Did I think it would be easy coming back onto leadership after having my third child over Christmas break? Certainly not. But God used other women to lead me and serve me at the same time. They led by example. They served because they cared. When my friend Laura came over to just sit with me and fold laundry just a couple weeks after my son’s birth, I felt a little funny receiving such help, but she reminded me of what I already knew. I knew this is something we Christians are called to do. She did that for me with a glad heart. I want to do that for others in their time of need, also.
If you are curious about BSF, go to their website. Find a group near you. Even amid the COVID pandemic, BSF ministered to me. Did I mention they have a children’s program? It is not just childcare! BSF children’s leaders are trained in the teaching of the word and they are very intentional in all the games they play, songs they sing, and Bible lessons they teach. During the pandemic, the BSF children’s leaders went to the Zoom platform. They also had a YouTube channel, and put on multiple songs and lessons there. Thank you, ladies! This helped me continue teaching what we were learning earlier in the year. Did I mention that these people are all volunteers? Seriously, I would not go on so much about just any parachurch ministry. BSF impacted my life for so many years. I am now in a season where I cannot work BSF into my morning routine without neglecting my family, but I do intend to return when the kids get old enough to attend the night class.
Our New-Found Family Worship
For our 2021-2022 school year, we start our day with morning chores and breakfast.
Next, we sing. The doxology is of great comfort and joy to me as a mom who shoulders the majority of our children’s cares and education. It is hard sometimes, isn’t it? We love having a sweet friend join us, along with her baby boy. We sing, take prayer requests, pray, then, guess what?
We sing again!
We have loved the new hymn study we began this school year, Singing the Great Hymns. So far, we have learned, “I Sing the Mighty Power of God” and “Like a River Glorious”. Our nanny Sarah loves “The Love of God”. During her birthday week, we added that one to the mix.
The benefits of this morning singing, prayer and worship are numerous. Lifted spirits, time reflecting on God’s glory and goodness, and music education are but a few of the wonders of this new family worship. Our friend’s baby always lights up when he hears all of us in chorus. It is quite a sight to behold: the power of music at the beginning of a school day.
Other Resources for Family Worship
What We’ve Used During Thanksgiving and Advent
Family Worship Through the Seasons
Family worship has become a rhythm for us. It had not always been that way, but I am thankful it has become something woven into the fabric of our days. That said, we do not usually have an exclusive family worship time on Saturdays, and Sundays are spent with other believers at church. However, my kids will sporadically burst into worship songs from time-to-time. I’d like to think that a heart of worship is becoming part of them. It isn’t just a block of the school day. It is what we do, and worship is so much more than a block of time, anyway. It is an offering up of our lives to the Lord.
So, can we worship at the kitchen sink by thanking God specifically for the dishes and food we have? Certainly. I would like to encourage you to not be too hard on yourself. Just take in the opportunities as they come and, if it is a good season for your family to do so, carve out that time. Anchor it to a meal or regularly-occurring part of your day, and it will most likely become a tradition. You will build on it and you will see it morph. God will give you exactly what you need, and you will return thanks and praise to Him.