Family Worship Guide Book

Part 1: Basic information to help you get started.

Definition: Family Worship is the regular and intentional gathering of a household to praise God together.

  • Regular = consistent, habitual, normal
  • Intentional = planned, deliberate, on purpose
  • Gathering = coming together, meeting, assembly
  • Household = family unit, everyone living in your home
  • Praise God = worship, expressing love, showing value, glorifying

What should we do?

Family worship includes three basic elements and allows room for variety. Read – Pray – Sing is a simple format that will help you get started.

  • Read from the Bible or Bible Story Book. Worship begins when God speaks to us through his Word. So, family devotions should include a time of reading the Bible. This can be as short as 5 minutes if your children are young. I’ve listed specific examples in part 3.
  • Pray as a family. Worship includes responding to God through prayer. So, family devotions should include a time of talking to the Lord. There are different ways to lead the family in prayer. I’ve listed specific examples in part 3.
  • Sing together to God. Another way to respond to God is through singing. So, family devotions should include songs of praise to God. You can sing, “Jesus loves me” or sing along with a worship CD. I’ve listed specific examples in part 3.

Part 2: Ten Principles for Family Devotions.

  1. Worship is about God. Family devotions are when you meet with God as a family. Don’t let the details hide the big point – you are gathering together to hear from God and respond to Him in love.
  2. Make it important. You can make family devotions a regular and joyful part of your home life, but you must make it a priority. Don’t let time pressures rob your family of the eternal treasure of knowing God.
  3. Keep it short. For most families, 15 minutes several times each week will work well. As your children mature, devotion time will naturally become longer. But regular short meetings are better than occasional long meetings.
  4. Make it fun. Everyone should look forward to family devotion time. Use role-playing to act out Bible stories or invent motions to accompany the singing.
  5. Use songs that teach. Not all songs are equal in learning value. Choose songs that tell about the character of God and incorporate Bible verses.
  6. Same time, same place. Getting into a pattern (or habit) will make family devotions a normal part of your home.
  7. Learn as you go. Experience will become your teacher. Since every family is different, you will need to discover what pattern of family worship best fits your home life.
  8. Use variety in prayer. Alternate who leads prayer or ask the children to pray aloud in turn. You can even have the children copy aloud after you as you pray.
  9. Avoid distractions. Turn off the television and remove toys from the area. If you have small children, an illustrated story Bible will help retain their attention.
  10. Fathers should lead. In the Bible, God specifically calls fathers to instruct their children about Him.

Part 3: Sample plans for family devotions.

To illustrate Read – Pray – Sing, I’ve created these simple plans for family worship. You can use these as written to get started or change the order to fit your family.
I’ve includes the Scriptures below, but during worship, you should read directly from a family member’s Bible.

Sample #1

Read: Luke 6:46-59 (46) “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you? (47) Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like: (48) he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built. (49) But the one who hears and does not do them is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the stream broke against it, immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was great.”
Discuss: What is the point Jesus is making?
Sing: Jesus loves me!
Pray : Father takes requests from the children and then prays for them by name.

Sample #2

Read: Ephesians 6:1-4 (1) Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. (2) “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), (3) “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” (4) Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
Q: What is the promise God makes for children?
Pray: Children pray in turn asking God to help them obey. Parents then thank God for the children.
Sing: “You are always with me” track #3 on Awesome God

Sample #3

Read: “God makes a way” page 92 ff in The Jesus Storybook Bible
Q: What does this story say about God?
Pray: Everyone prays for one another silently for 60 seconds and then a parent prays aloud to finish the prayer time.
Sing: My God is so big, so strong and so mighty, there’s nothing my God cannot do. My God is so big, so strong and so mighty, there’s nothing my God cannot do.
The mountains are His, the rivers are His, the stars are His handiwork, too. My God is so great, so strong and so mighty, there’s nothing my God cannot do, for you!

Part 4: Additional ideas for after you start.

Once you establish a good pattern, you may want to add more variety and discussion to your family devotions.

Ask the one big question. After reading a Bible passage, ask the one big question, “What does this say about God?” This simple approach will turn any Scripture reading into a learning discussion.

Ask the second big question. After you have determined what the Scripture reading says about God, you can move to the second big question, “How does God want me to respond?” This moves from knowledge about God to obedience to God’s Word.

Use a child’s catechism. Parents and churches have always used a simple Q & A format to teach Bible truth to children (and new Christians). In children’s church, we refer to these as “Little Questions.” I have printed copies available in my office of the questions we use.

Key Themes to Teach Children About God

From Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis

  • GOD MADE EVERYTHING (God is the Maker and Owner of all things.)
  • GOD IS GREATER THAN ANYONE (God is the greatest there is!)
  • GOD IS IN CHARGE OF EVERYTHING (He is the boss of everything)
  • GOD CAN DO ANYTHING (Nothing is too hard for God)
  • GOD DOESN’T NEED ANYTHING • GOD IS HOLY (God has never sinned and never will sin… not even one time)
  • GOD IS FAITHFUL (He always does what He says He will do; God always keeps His promises)
  • GOD IS MERCIFUL (He is kind and loving)
  • GOD IS JUST (God is right in all He does; God is “fair”)
  • GOD COMMUNICATES WITH MAN (God speaks to us)

Biblical Encouragements To Family Worship.

God’s Word speaks directly about the duty of parents to lead their children in the worship. But this is more than a responsibility — it is a sacred privilege. Leading devotions in your home will bless your children and create a legacy of God-centered joy. Deuteronomy 6:4-9, Ephesians 6:1-4, 2 Timothy 3:14-15, Psalms 78:1-8, 1 Peter 3:7, Genesis 18:17-19

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For Further Information:

Spiritual Development of Children  At this site you can view/listen to information related to the spiritual development of children. You will find practical information that can help you point your child toward truth. [Family Life]