I am really helped every time I read Matt Boswell's blog at Doxology and Theology. Read this article and gather your family tonight and worship our great God!
February 23, 2015 || By: Matt Boswell
All three of us were crying in their living room. It was late at night and I was sitting with friends pleading with them to not give up on their marriage. My hope was to point them back to the gospel, to help them rebuild their home on Scripture, to remind them of their covenant. Mainly I wanted to show them that they never practiced their faith in their home. They never prayed together outside of a meal or read Scripture together. Because of past events and shame, they neglected talking about their faith together.
As worship leaders, we too sometimes tend to neglect practicing our faith at home. Our primary task in the church is to lead the people of God in worship. Many of us find it far easier to lead our churches than our families. Some of us stand week after week leading our congregations in carefully thought-out arrangements, articulate prayers, and strong leadership, but fail to lead worship within our homes.
The great American Puritan Jonathan Edwards once said, “Every Christian family ought to be as it were a little church, consecrated to Christ, and wholly influenced and governed by his rules.” We should be equally concerned about the worship in our church and home.
Each day, we choose who or what our families worship, but by the grace of God, we can say together, “But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Josh. 24:15). With this in mind, let’s look at family worship in four steps.
Step 1: Read Scripture Together
You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise (Deut. 6:5-7).
Our homes must be built on, shaped by, and saturated with God’s word. If we want to cherish God’s word in our homes, we must read it in our homes.
A. Read Scripture with your spouse and with your children.
B. Memorize Scripture together.
C. Discuss God’s word and what God is doing in you through his word.
Step 2: Pray Together
Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the LORD by ceasing to pray for you, and I will instruct you in the good and the right way. Only fear the LORD and serve him faithfully with all your heart. For consider what great things he has done for you (1 Sam. 12:23-24).
Prayer is leading your family in calling upon God, and not just when you eat. Just as worship leaders have the privilege of leading their churches in prayer, they should also lead their family in prayer.
A. Pray shaped by the gospel: Thanking God, confessing our (MAN) sin, remembering and trusting in Christ, and praying we would Respond with our hearts and lives.
B. Confess sin to one another.
C. Pray for specific things together as a family: friends who don’t know Christ, unreached people groups, missionaries, your church family, your elders.
Step 3: Sing Together
Ascribe to the LORD, O families of the peoples,
ascribe to the LORD glory and strength! (Ps. 96:7)
Encouraging a group of worship leaders to sing as a family seems like asking a fish to swim, but maybe not all of our families sing together. I encourage all families to sing together, especially you who are responsible for leading the church in song. This is a sweet time for your family to walk in obedience to singing to the Lord, and also a powerful time to use the teaching nature of singing.
A. Sing articulate hymns of our faith (get a family hymnal).
B. Sing the same songs you sing at church (download these songs from iTunes).
C. Sing scripture memory songs together (Seeds Family Worship, The Verses Project, write your own!).
Step 4: Apply the Gospel Together
As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ (1 Pet. 2:4-5).
Applying the gospel is a vital part of family worship and the culture of our entire household. There are many opportunities throughout the week where we can hold our lives up to the light of the gospel and talk about what Christ has done for us. Family worship should be an environment where we read Scripture, pray, sing, and point our discussion to the completed work of Jesus.
A. Talk about how the gospel changes our lives.
B. Remind one another of who God is, what he has done, and what his word says.
C. Talk about the gospel in real life.
While family worship is an ancient practice, it should also be a modern one. Family worship is a life-giving, gospel-fueled, spiritual practice. If this is a new concept to you, take it slow and introduce it to your family. Maybe you need to sit down with your spouse or your children and ask forgiveness for not leading your family spiritually like you should have been. Maybe you need a little encouragement to keep up the practice. Maybe you already know the joys (and yes, also stresses) of family worship. My prayer is that worship leaders’ homes are the first place we worship God, and that our ministry to God’s church is an extension of that work.
About Matt Boswell
Matt Boswell is the founder of Doxology & Theology, and Pastor of Ministries and Worship at Providence Church in Frisco, TX.