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by Dn Victor Loo

Out of the five or six Christian parenting books that I browsed through in preparation for this article, I found none with a specific chapter on family worship. Has family worship lost its place in the Christian Home in our modern day society?  Most books on parenting dealt with the “how to” of bringing children to Christ and the many ways of training a child but very little mention of family devotion. As a parent (and the head of the household to be more specific), I know the many obstacles involved in starting one, not to mention maintaining a regular worship time for the whole family. That is why it is never popular with Christian parents and I would like to identify below some of the hurdles we often face.

 

 

The First hurdle is the irresponsibility of the head of the household – he is either too lazy or complacent about the spirituality of the family. I was that way too, but the constant “nagging” and reminders from my wife, Grace, of the father’s divine responsibility to lead and set up the family altar finally got me to try it out some five years ago. Thanks be to God that since then we have maintained a regular family worship hour on every Lord’s Day. It has brought the family closer together and to the Lord. Many a time (not sometimes), we husbands need a push from our wives, so wives must not be afraid to demand from your husband something that you think will benefit the family greatly especially the spiritual well being of the entire family.

 

The Second hurdle is the spiritual stagnation of the head of the household – he is not walking spiritually with the Lord and thus finds it hard to lead the family spiritually. Joshua 24:15 “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord”. This is the stand which Joshua took for himself and his entire family. And it has to start with the head of the family. "As for me;" in other words there must be no hesitation or half-heartedness in our confession of devotion to God and His Service.  Joshua is to us the model of a godly father, whom all Christian men should emulate. If we care for our family then we must first set the example by being serious with God ourselves. A nominal Christian will not get himself or his family anywhere. Many parents view Christianity only in terms of salvation; full stop! They pray most earnestly that all their children may be saved. However, they are not particularly concerned about what happens between salvation and heaven. If their children spend their lives serving the world, they comfort themselves with the idea that they will yet be saved before they die. The father is the priest of the home; he is to teach and present each member of the family as a sweet savor sacrifice unto the Lord.       

 

The Third hurdle is the disinterest of the children, especially when the child is too young and his or her attention span is so short.  We experienced the problem with our second daughter Joyce when she was only 4-5 years old. She will always make noise or cry whenever she was bored or frustrated that she could not read or sing like the rest of the family. But now she can read and participates actively in the family worship. So we must not be overly frustrated and give up easily, for in due time the child will grow up and be ready to participate in the family worship. However, this has to be inculcated from young.  

 

 I thank the Lord for His faithfulness in enabling my family members to maintain both our own personal devotion as well as family worship regularly for the last five to six years.

 

Daily, the children will have their own Bible reading and prayer before they retire for the night. Joanne who is 11, does it by herself. Joyce who is 7, does it with her mother. And Jireh who is 4, has the Bible read to him by me (or his mother when I am not available).

 

 On Sunday, we have worship together as a family. The weekly family worship is like a mini prayer meeting. We always start with a round of singing - each child gets to select their favorite hymn or chorus from the ‘Then Sings My Soul’. This is followed by Scripture reading (usually the text for the devotion), where everyone except Jireh, gets to read a few verses each. As the head of the family, I will share the devotion. Thank the Lord that in the last few years, we managed to have a systematic study of a few books in the Bible: Matthew, Acts, Philippians – verse by verse, and selected Psalms. We are currently studying the attributes of God – one attribute per Sunday. The devotion is followed by quizzes to determine how much the children have learned and to recapitulate the salient points. After that, we have a round of sharing of thanksgiving and prayer items. At the end of the worship, I will pray and commit the whole family to the Lord for the new week.  

 

The Lord has never failed to bless our time together with Him as a family. Especially when I listen to the children read the Scripture or when I pray and everyone keeps silent reverently before the Lord, I can feel the closeness of God’s presence and approval on the family. My youngest will sometimes remind me that tonight we will have family worship because it is Sunday. He often helps to bring out the song books and distribute them out for the family worship.

 

Sometimes I ask myself: will the children still be keen to maintain the family worship when they grow up to be teenagers or young adults? I asked myself many years ago also whether I will ever be able to conduct family worship in my home. Well, the Lord has helped me all these years and He is immutable (one of God’s attribute I taught my kids recently) and He is faithful. The sevenfold will of God says that if we obey His directive will, He will bless us with His co-operative will. So the answer to my first question is clear - if we honor God, He will honor us (2Sam 2:29,30). Have faith!

 

I hope this personal sharing will encourage more parents to seriously consider starting their own family worship, which is the altar and anchor of the Christian home.        

 

“And it shall come to pass, when your children shall say unto you, What mean ye this service? That ye shall say, It is the sacrifice of the Lord’s Passover, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt

Vision & Mission

 

To build a united church family that is committed to making disciples through Salvation, Sanctification and Service, to the glory of God.

Verse for the Week

November 19 & 26 - The End of the World

But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. 2 Peter 3:10