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What is family worship? Is it something your family should start practicing?

Family Worship

What is family worship? Is it something your family should start practicing?

What is family worship? Is it something your family should start practicing?
In the context of the modern church, it is bizarre to think that a man could be removed from membership if he did not lead his family in family worship; however, this is the importance that the Directory for Family Worship, written in 1647, placed upon this training time. Any man that continually repeatedly failed at leading his family in Christian education and the worship of God was to be removed from the church. They believed that it was an essential part of being a Christian parent, and called it a “necessary duty.” 1

The Puritans believed that parental neglect of regular Biblical training (catechism) so severe, that the child could even be removed from the house! 2 That might be a little extreme, but it appears today that we have gone to the extreme in the opposite direction. Now it has become the norm to do no spiritual training or family worship within our homes. If we still abided by the Puritans removal of children from homes where family worship was being neglected, I fear that our churches would be composed of childless homes.

What is Family Worship?

Since family worship has become such an archaic term in Christianity, it is important to clarify the definition. What is meant by “family worship” is a distinct and consistent time set aside where the household comes together to worship God and study His Word. The most common ingredients to this time have been: prayer, songs, Bible reading/study, and catechism.

Family worship, as it was once defined, is where the parents take the primary responsibility of their children’s spiritual growth personally. Family worship is where the primary doctrinal beliefs were passed down to the next generation. The home was the primary place of Christian education.

Family worship is not to be confused with a family occasionally praying before a meal, or even having an occasional devotional type verse shared amongst them. It is a structured time of training and worshipping God together as a family.

Family worship was not accomplished only when the parents felt they had a moment to spare. It was done five to six days per week, every month, and every year. This method of spiritual development became the norm. It was common for any serious Christian family in Europe and even the early United States.

The Westminster Confession of Faith emphasized that worship was to be conducted “in private families daily.”1 This was not a new command, but they believed it was a return to a Biblical mandate.

Unfortunately, it has become a forgotten practice. What happened to it and, more importantly, how do we get it back?

There are several obstacles that must be dealt with to regain this critical training ground. Over the next few weeks, I will be breaking down nine of the most common obstacles regarding family worship and what we can do to over come them in our own families.

References
1. Terry L. Johnson, The Family Worship Book: A Resource Book for Family Devotions (Fearn, Ross-shire, Great Britain: Christian Focus Publications, 1998), 9.

2. Ibid., 11

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