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Family Worship in a Modern Society

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You start off each week with good intentions. No one can argue that. But the usual obligations—work, school, soccer practice or piano lessons, late night meetings—always seem to get in the way. By the time the weekend rolls around, you realize your family has gotten through another week hardly seeing each other, much less spending time together in nightly family worship. It’s frustrating, and sometimes you feel like you’re rolling a boulder up a hill that never ends.

God never intended family worship to be just another obligation. In fact, He wants us to look forward to it, both because it gives us an opportunity to take a breather and get away from the world to be with Him, and because we are doing it together as a family. But how do you fit it in with today’s insane weekly schedules? Here are a few suggestions:

Tie it to other events. It’s a lot easier to remember to do family worship if it is connected to other things you do together as a family. If you’re dealing with smaller children, you might schedule it just before bedtime or bathtime. For older kids, it might work to tie it to family dinner. Don’t eat dinner together? Maybe it’s time to start! It doesn’t matter if the meal is in the kitchen, the dining room or the living room, as long as the family does it together and other distractions—such as games, phones, and TVs—are turned off. Make your worship before or after the event, or even during, if you find that works.

Learn to listen. You may be the oldest member of the family, but that doesn’t mean your way is the only way of doing things. Learn to listen to the viewpoint on worship from your spouse and your children, especially the littlest ones. In addition, all of you should learn the value of listening to God. Too often we see prayer as way of presenting a laundry list of wants and needs to God, then leaving without waiting for His response. Take time as a family and see if you can discover God’s response for you. You might be surprised at what you discover.

Be creative. Be flexible and keep an open mind. It’s important for children to have structure in their lives, but too much inflexibility can lead to friction. If reading from the Bible doesn’t work for your worship time, try something different; maybe try acting out, retelling, or drawing some of the stories that you would have been reading. Keep in mind that not every child learns the same way, and variety is important for including other children. And remember that young minds have a short attention span, so keep your worships relatively brief and direct.

Focus on the purpose. The intent of family worship is to come together as a unit to worship God. Make it a priority to involve everyone in a positive way. If one person continually gets up front and lectures, eventually the rest will tend to switch them off. But if each person, including kids, is responsible for leading out at some point, they are more likely to participate. This also allows you to have a fresh view on how to worship God. Worshipping God comes in many shapes and sizes, don’t be quick to discount the ideas or efforts of one of your family members.

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