“Re-Evaluating the Value of Family Worship”
By: Joy Becker
It has been said that a child is not likely to find a father in God until he finds God in his father. Likewise, our children are not likely to become worshipers until they see a consistent lifestyle of worship in
the home. Children are great imitators. They follow until they learn to lead. For children to become worshipers, they must be taught, but they must also see worship in action within the home.
Today’s “norm” for the family is an evening in front of the TV. More often than not we talk about our problems instead of the power of God, and we often rely upon a pastor or Sunday School teacher to challenge our children to want more of God. Yet if we expect our children to be part of the generation that “seeks the Lord,” we must show them how, by word and action.
The most important aspect of family worship is consistency. A child who constantly hears that he is going to be spanked when he misbehaves, yet is never disciplined, will finally figure out that he can get by without punishment. When worship in the home is only a sporadic occurrence, a child will soon note its lack of importance and figure, “if it’s good enough for Dad, it’s good enough for me.” Value is easy to see.
If you are not currently spending quality time with your family in worship, one of the best ways to start is by beginning a once-a-week family get-together with the specific purpose of learning about praise and worship. Since there are many aspects to praise and worship, such as singing, clapping and dancing, to name a few, take one evening and help the children make musical instruments, whether paper plate tambourines or oatmeal box drums. Use this as an opportunity to explain from scripture the role and importance of musical instruments in praise. Then put on a praise and worship tape and let the children play along with their new instruments. The children will begin to relate praise and worship to a “fun” evening and begin to look forward to doing more of the same. At the same time, they learn to put praise and worship into practice.
Since children love extremes, be animated and extravagant in your expressions of praise and worship. Provide plenty of variety during this special time. When relaying a story, use illustrations and examples. The fragrance of worship captured in the story of the alabaster box might not mean much to a child – until you bring in all kinds of bottles and samples of perfumes for them to test. A child might not understand why God has different names such as Jehovah Jireh or Pearl of Great Price – until you remind them that they have a first, middle and last name and are also called “friend” and “buddy.”
During your special evening of worship each week, delegate responsibilities to each of the children. Let one child plan the songs the family will sing, while another can be responsible for the prayer time.
Spending time together as a family will teach children the more time spent with someone, the more you get to know them and enjoy being with them. Use this as an example of the importance of spending quality time with God, and them prove its importance by your consistency. Once your children (and perhaps even you) have begun to understand more about praise and worship, help the children incorporate it into their lifestyle. For example, let breakfast be a time of thanksgiving when the family takes time to sing a praise or worship chorus before the meal. Or perhaps at nap time, encourage the children to learn to “listen” for the voice of the Lord. You’ll be surprised how quickly they become quiet and fall asleep.
Above all, simply make your home a place where the presence of the Lord is welcome and natural. I am a worshiper, and it should come as no surprise because my parents were worshipers. The Word of God filled our home. My parents taught me the value of singing and playing the piano unto the Lord as a child. They helped me become acquainted with and comfortable in the presence of God. Today a lifestyle of praise and worship is the “norm” for me.
Finally, don’t allow the enemy to talk you into seeing the greatest adventure of your life as a chore or more than you can handle. To an intercessor, prayer is life and breath. To a worshiper, being in the presence of God is everything. Your family can experience this intensity, because something very addictive happens when you develop a lifestyle of worship within the home.
(The above material appeared in the Fall 1992 issue of Worship Today.)
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