The practice of family worship is a concept that has become more popular among American Christians in recent years. However, the formal practice of family worship is rooted in ancient Christian History. Which means, that the practice was lost, at least in part, for a few generations of modern Christians. This begs the question, what is family worship, why is it important, and how do we restore the practice in the modern church? That is what Dr. Donald Whitney discusses in his new book Family Worship, published by Crossway.
What is family worship? According to Dr. Whitney it is the daily worship of the Lord within a family unit. In his book Dr. Whitey outlines three essential parts to family worship that can be practiced daily. First, read the Scriptures. Whitney encourages the man of the house to either read or delegate the reading of Scripture every day with his family. This also includes a short discussion of the passage read to help the family understand the implications of the passage and how to apply it to daily life. Second, pray with your family. Family worship must include the crucial practice of daily prayer. This can be done by one person or by multiple members of the family. The point is to pray for the needs of the family and the application of the Scripture passage read that day. Third, sing together as a family. Whitney encourages family worship to include the practice of singing at least one song of praise to the Lord. This can be accomplished by singing to a recording, playing the song with a family instrument, or by singing a capella. Throughout the book Whitney drives the point home that family worship is as easy as read, pray, sing.
Why is family worship important? First, worship in general and family worship in particular is important because God alone deserves to be worshipped. The Lord is great and glorious and is deserving of our worship and adoration. Second, family worship is important because it brings the family together for a common purpose, namely to worship the Lord. In a society where families are increasingly busy with work, school, sports, and a host of other distractions, family worship is a time where families can unplug and spend time together with the Lord. Third, family worship is important because it is a great way to facilitate discipleship. As the family reads and discusses Scripture it allows parents to grow their children in the knowledge and application of biblical truth. It also instills the importance of prayer in children and models the practice for them.
Although the local church can help in many of the same ways, and it is important to gather regularly for corporate worship and discipleship, it is not the primary role of the church to raise a family. The role of the church is to equip and encourage the family to worship the Lord and grow in discipleship. Discipleship happens in every day life. The family is only at church gatherings a few hours a week. The church cannot possibly properly disciple families in that limited amount of time. Unfortunately, over the past few generations we have seen the family place that primary responsibility of discipleship onto the church, which has fostered the “professionalism of ministry” and brought on the rise of church programs to handle the discipleship of families. If the family worshiped together and discipleship happened in the home, the church could go back to its original role of equipping families to worship and disciple in the home.
How do we start the practice of family worship? Many young Christians did not grow up in a family that practiced family worship. They do not feel equipped to start the practice in their own family. The simple answer is start today! Consult resources such as Family Worship. Also trust the leadership of the local church to guide and equip you to begin family worship in your home.
I fully enjoyed reading Family Worship by Dr. Donald Whitney. It has helped equip and encourage me to start the practice in my own family. I would recommend this book to every pastor and church ministry leader. Read it and start using it as a resource to equip the families in the local church. I also recommend it to Christian men. This is an excellent resource that can you begin today, this important practice of family worship.
I received this book through the Crossway Review program “Beyond the Page” in exchange for an honest review of the book.