Imagine a home — the whole family is gathered together, singing, studying the Word, sharing stories, praying, embracing — that’s family worship. I am excited about this topic today. It is one that’s very dear to my heart and it is also my favorite memory in my parent’s home.
Each morning, as early as 4:00 am, my folks would be up. They would usually pray together and start their day together. On weekdays, Mama would be in the kitchen making breakfast. Sometimes, you’d hear her sing a few high notes. Papa would be outside cleaning the yard while greeting passersby or talking with the neighbors. He was always punctual and took pride in being the first one to get to his workplace. His work ethic was one to admire. Before 6:00, Mama would play gospel songs (Sandi Patti, Heritage Singers or the Gaithers). It was her way of waking us up. It simply meant that everyone should get to the living room for family worship. If we were being stubborn and would not get up, the music would be turned off and the singing would begin. Once the singing of hymns began, everyone is expected to be with the family. Then, there’s prayer and the devotional reading. After worship, we would all scamper to get in the cold shower, eat breakfast and ride our bikes/walk to school. In the evenings, before dinner, we would again gather together for family worship. Each worship ended with kisses and hugs.
Consistency is Key
Many of the things had changed as we left home for boarding schools but family worship remained consistent in my parents’ home.
Quite honestly, it was not my favorite thing to do while growing up. I enjoyed it but I’d rather sleep in. I grumbled. I complained. Many times, I dozed off and my mind wandered aimlessly. As I look back at it now, I realize how much it had contributed to a successful dynamics in our family home. And in my independence, family worship became my favorite treasured memory and those times spent with my family, singing together and encouraging each other, helped me cope with the many challenges that every so often tested my faith. In the later years, whenever I went to visit and we’d sit down together to sing and study the Word, I enjoy feeling the moment, the inner peace, and the unexplainable joy of being there.
So what are the other benefits in family worship? I sum them up in a list below:
- Family Unity. Aside from family meals, family worship gave us that special time to bond. It enhanced my love for family and provided a time for us to connect with each other spiritually. Everyday, I’d hear my parents offer a special prayer for each of us. I would silently wipe down tears as I listened to my parents’ concern for me as they plead with the Holy Spirit. I felt their love for everyone and saw their good intentions through those prayers.
- Sense of Purpose. We tackle challenges everyday—some are small, others are too big to handle. Ready or not, we have to face them everyday. Without God’s guidance, we might lose our grip and our sense of purpose. We’d get lost. Family worship makes this sense of purpose clear to me: “Serve the Lord with all your heart, with all your might, with all your strength”.
- Better Disposition. How can we be mad with the world when we know that God is in control? How can we remain hateful towards others when the Lord teaches us to be forgiving? How can we stay depressed when we were taught to pour all our burdens before a great God? We are all sinners and tensions and conflicts arise in every home. There will always be problems. Family devotions help pave the way for reconciliation and a daily self-adjustment.
- Child Guidance. EG White stated: “Every family should rear its altar of prayer, realizing that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. If any persons in the world need the strength and encouragement that religion gives, it is those who are responsible for the education and training of children…Fathers, mothers, you need to seek God morning and evening at the family altar, that you may learn how to teach your children wisely, tenderly, lovingly.” RH
- Community Contributions. For me, the best way to encourage and raise our children to be responsible adults for their own good, for the church and the community is to start wholesome instruction at home. We need to help equip them so they become assets instead of a liability. As John Angier said, “the more we worship God in our families, the fitter shall we be for public worship.” Not only in worship, but life as a whole.
- Christ-Centered Home. As a Christian, I long for a home where kindness and love for others prevail and where God is honored by our thoughts and our actions. Through His Word, I wish to impart to my children a deep respect for life and the truth. How can we teach our children to revere and honor God? My simple answer would be through vital examples set in the home.
Heaven on Earth
Whether you are a single parent or in a two-parent family, let us strive to make our homes a little heaven on earth. We, Christian parents, have a lifelong responsibility to teach our children about God’s Word and not to solely rely on the church to train them. A strong spiritual foundation was a gift my parents had given me. If there is one thing I wish to do for my children is to inspire them to have a solid relationship with God through personal meditations and worship in the home — a home where the Holy Spirit dwells and the love of God reigns in every heart.
Let me leave you with these words by EG White:
So the homes of Christians should be lights in the world. From them, morning and evening, prayer should ascend to God as sweet incense. And as the morning dew, His mercies and blessings will descend upon the suppliants.
Fathers and mothers, each morning and evening gather your children around you, and in humble supplication lift the heart to God for help. Your dear ones are exposed to temptation. Daily annoyances beset the path of young and old. Those who would live patient, loving, cheerful lives must pray. Only by receiving constant help from God can we gain the victory over self.
Each morning consecrate yourselves and your children to God for that day. Make no calculation for months or years; these are not yours. One brief day is given you. As if it were your last on earth, work during its hours for the Master. Lay all your plans before God, to be carried out or given up, as His providence shall indicate. Accept His plans instead of your own, even though their acceptance requires the abandonment of cherished projects. Thus the life will be molded more and more after the divine example; and “the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7.
Do you do family worships in your home? If you do, how often do you do it and what benefits do you get from doing it? If not, would you be willing to try doing it in your home?