A Pattern of Family Worship
By David Feddes
Maybe you have no idea what daily worship involves. Maybe it's never been part of your life, and no one has ever explained it to you or modeled it for you. Let me describe my own involvement in daily worship.
When I was growing up, my parents led us in daily family worship. Before breakfast my father or mother would say a prayer of thanks. After breakfast they would read from the Bible, read a brief meditation on the Bible passage, and close with prayer. This time of family Bible reading and prayer was a top priority in our family. Sometimes we were running a bit late in the morning and thought the school bus might come before we finished breakfast. So did we skip Bible reading and prayer? No, if we were running late, my parents would read the Bible before breakfast instead of afterward. Then, if we saw the bus coming while we were eating, we could grab something from the table and eat it on the way to school or simply skip part of our breakfast.
At the evening meal, we would again bow together in prayer before eating. After the meal we would read from the Bible, perhaps read an explanation of the Bible passage from a devotional book, and close with prayer. This morning-and-evening pattern of family worship didn't really take up much time: about five minutes in the morning, and another five minutes or so at night. It didn't usually produce a stunning emotional experience. It was just a simple, quiet time to hear God speak in Scripture and to speak to God in prayer. But starting and ending the day that way set a spiritual tone for everything else. Over the year, it also helped us gain a wealth of Bible knowledge that no school or seminary could teach as effectively.
As a boy growing up with parents who worshiped God in spirit and in truth, I learned daily family worship, and I also learned daily personal worship. One thing that taught me personal worship was my parents' example. They never made a show of their own personal time with God, but sometimes when I got up early, I would see my dad kneeling by himself in prayer before he wakened the rest of the household. My mom, too, was a person of prayer and Scripture. Following their lead, I began to pray personally myself as a young boy usually at bedtime. When I was old enough to read fairly well, my parents gave me a Bible of my own, and I would spend a few minutes each night reading the Bible by myself.
I don't come from a family of preachers or Bible scholars. I come from a farming and ranching family. My parents and our family were not perfect by any means. We sometimes argued, got on each other's nerves, and made wrong choices. Still, we loved each other and knew that God was at the center of our home. Even now, when we visit my parents or my wife's parents, we know we'll have daily worship with them.
Where did my parents get their pattern of family worship and personal worship? They didn't dream it up on their own. They got the pattern from their parents. Both of my parents grew up with daily family worship and with parents who not only led their children in worship but also spent time alone in personal, private worship.
Now that I have a family of my own, my wife and children and I have breakfast together followed by Bible reading and prayer We also we have our evening meal together; followed by Bible reading, discussion, and prayer. The pattern we follow is similar to what I grew up with, with some small variations. In our home we often have a prayer time in which every member of the family says a prayer. We usually sing a song of praise together as well. But the essential pattern is the same one I learned as a boy: we take time each day to listen to God and talk to him as a family, and we also have our own personal worship time.
I'm telling you about my own personal and family pattern because I want to give you a glimpse of daily worship and to help you to build such a pattern into your own life, if you don't have one already. I have a long way to go in getting to know God better and worshiping the Lord as he deserves. But I can honestly say that daily worship, as a family and as an individual, is vital to honoring God and growing in faith. If you want to know God better, love him more deeply, and honor him more fully throughout this year and always, make a commitment to talk and listen to God repeatedly in daily worship.
Every healthy relationship involves talking and listening repeatedly, and your relationship with God is no exception. If you don't talk to God and listen to him every day, your relationship with God is not going to grow. But if you make time every day to listen to what God tells you in the Bible and to say what's on your heart through prayer and worship, you can expect that your relationship with God will grow well beyond what it is now. Don't settle for anything less than worshiping God daily in your own home, in spirit and in truth.
Dr. David Feddes is Provost of the Christian Leaders Institute.