Worship at church is easy. The music, the Bible reading, everything is done for you! But worshiping our God isn’t something reserved just for Sundays. Let’s talk about DIY worship, or family worship. There are few things you can do together as a family that are more rewarding than worship at home. It can also lead to frustration, and the starts and stops many of us experience in trying to establish a routine can be guilt-inducing. Here are some ideas based on what has worked for our family, and a snapshot of what a typical time of family worship is like for us.
Pick a time:
For our family, which includes young children, after dinner works best. Whatever works for you, try to pick a time and stick with it. Establishing a routine is important, so that if you skip it, everybody can sense something is missing. We’ve been reading the Bible and singing together after dinner since my youngest was very small, so it’s difficult for me to skip even if/when I want to (which we still do sometimes). Our kids know it’s coming, so there is often a race at the end of the meal for who can finish first and go and get the Bible. I then try to explain that the meal is not a race. After a meal works because we are already together. If your schedule just doesn’t allow for this, get creative. The whole thing only has to take 10 minutes; I know you have ten minutes! If you can’t establish a formal routine, do it whenever you get the chance.
Pick a Bible:
Hearing God’s Word is at the heart of family worship. We have read through many story Bibles and they can be a great introduction for young children. At a certain point it’s appropriate to make the transition to the real Bible, for lack of a better term. Children can easily understand and pay attention to short passages from the Gospels, Psalms and Proverbs, just to name a few examples. Corrie Ten Boom’s father would read a chapter after the meal each day, whether it was Psalm 1 or Psalm 119. I recommend keeping it brief. If you have children, ask questions of them as you are reading to keep their attention.
I would recommend taking the passage from your Bible reading and directing it into a short prayer. After reading about the flood, for example: “Thank you Lord that you saved Noah and his family from the flood. We know that you hate sin; please forgive us for the sins we commit, thank you for sending Jesus so that we can be saved through him.”
Pick a song:
There is nothing more awkward than singing with your family if you’ve never done it before. Singing together is certainly not a requirement, but this is simply the best part of family worship! It is worship after all. Just sing one of your favorite praise songs or hymns. Remember that you are singing praise to God; you aren’t trying to impress each other. That being said, in my family we are rarely if ever singing in unison. One kid may be staring out the window, one is making up her own lyrics, and maybe the others are singing and/or yelling the song. We encourage motions wherever possible to keep everyone engaged. It can get pretty rowdy sometimes! Stick with a few favorites and sing them over and over. Pick songs that are easy to sing with lyrics that drive home the gospel message.
Worship should characterize our homes, but it doesn’t have to be complicated. Keep it simple, keep it brief, do it often. Our God deserves to be praised every day!