Reading God’s word, praying, and worshipping God with your children at home – Family Worship – is one of the most important things Christian parents will ever do with their time. This has been one of the most rewarding things Jeni and I have done as parents so we want to help more parents succeed in it.
It’s rewarding, yes. And it’s also hard; hard to find the time, hard to stay consistent, hard not to get off track. Yes. Don’t demand or expect perfection from yourself or the kids. This is about grace, not perfection. But do put effort into it and try harder. You will be glad you did in the end!
Parents often feel defeated because they get started with high hopes but then they peter out and stop. Time after time they start but end up dropping the ball. What’s the solution? I came across a good post by Tim Challies over at www.challies.com where he gives his answer to a parent asking this very question. Parents wrote in asking, “Could you suggest several options for material to help me stay on track leading family devotions with my wife and myself? We start well but it never lasts.”
I love suggesting great books and tools we have used in family worship but I really like how Tim goes a different direction. He doesn’t recommend a tool. Instead he addresses the heart. He tells them they are looking in the wrong place for their solution boldly saying, “It’s not a resource flaw but a character flaw; it’s not a lack of resources but a lack of self-control.” I love his heart for shepherding souls!
So he goes on to offer four suggestions to help these parents subdue their own lack of discipline as well as bringing that discipline to their children and schedule. Surprisingly, his suggestions are not mountains too hard to climb. They’re really straightforward and simple. I offer them to any parent looking to develop consistency in family devotions. I also recommend that you talk to your small group leader or one of your pastors and ask if you can come over to their house and join them for family worship sometime. We have done this at our house and love it. We want to do more of it. So please ask any time! (But don’t tell Jeni I made this offer to everyone on social media.)
- Grow in your conviction that family devotions are important. Don’t do them simply to assuage your guilt or to be able to brag to friends. Pray, study the Bible, and come to a solid conviction that God calls you to them.
- Establish a time and place in which you plan to do your family devotions. Make sure it is a time and place you can count on being present and being together just about every day (such as immediately before breakfast or immediately after dinner). Decide how many days a week you’ll do them.
- Decide on a pattern for your family devotions. At minimum, read a short passage of the Bible together and then pray. You can also add discussion or a devotional book or singing or anything else that fits your family. My counsel, though, is to begin with something short and simple, then to add length and complexity later on.
- Exercise the self-control necessary to ensure you do them consistently enough to build a habit. Most people find it takes a month or two to establish a new habit, so expect to encounter some resistance early on. They will probably be simple for the first few days, tough for the next few weeks, and then gradually become easier and easier until they are suddenly the most natural thing in the world.
I hope you’ll take steps today to move your family toward regular family worship at your house. And hey, maybe one day soon you can come over to my house and we can do it together.