What Are the Components of a Good Family Worship

Praying Hands by Albrecht Durer.  Source:  Commons Public Domain - Art.
Praying Hands by Albrecht Durer. Source: Commons Public Domain - Art.

I am going to use some principles of communication here.  

Who is your audience?  Family devotion is for two clear audiences: the family members, and the unseen world of the divine.  So the meeting, for that is what it is, a group meeting, is directed vertically and horizontally.  This means that everything that is done must be heard, seen, and understood by the family members.  Just like in the larger group at church everyone should speak loud enough to be heard, read clearly and at a tolerable pace, and should exercise respectable body language.  Then there is also the implied understanding that the communication is to bless the family and to praise God.  The posture, the tone, the choice of words should display reverence.

The physical environment should be prepared to be well ventilated, clean, and uncluttered.  Purchase a musical instrument and have at least one family member learn to play for worship.  Turn off TV and radio, and put cell phones on silent.  It would be great to have a house rule where you don't answer telephones during worship; I can't get my wife to stick to that one, she is hooked to her phone.  

The time of day is crucial.  Ideally we ought to have morning and evening worship sessions.  If you can only have one for the day let it be in the morning before breakfast.  Sabbath vespers at sunset is a special occasion for the family and is usually longer with more singing and longer coverage of the weekly lessons.

The content of the family worship should be short, pointed, but engaging.  And again, designed to involve the human audience and recognize and propitiate the divine audience.  We all have some basic understanding of what we mean when we say God deserves our best and our holiest affections.  So let’s dwell on the human side a bit.

The choice of worship activities is determined by the presence or absence of children, their ages, and whether or not there are visitors that need to be accommodated in the selection of content.  Where you have young children and pre-teens you may want to have something looking like this:

Lively chorus (optional)

Prayer, preferably by a parent or visiting elder/pastor

Song of praise

Sabbath school/Sunday school lesson activity OR children devotional reading.

Bible game (at least twice per week)

Brief summary of adult lesson OR short devotional reading

Short discussion of issues affecting the family (optional or as time permits)

Prayer song

Prayer time

Blessing of family by father/head of home (optional)

Items that are marked optional may be done only for the Sabbath vespers or special occasions.  Remember that the worship session should create an appetite for spiritual things in the next generation so you want to keep it short and interesting.

May the Lord bless your family; and help my wife to stop answering the phone during worship, voice mail has been invented.


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