Family worship. It has a nice puritanical ring to it, doesn't it? That's what I like about it. But the Puritans didn't invent family worship; God did.
What is family worship?
Family worship is a nickname for the biblical truth that fathers are to be spiritual leaders in their homes. They are both to wash their wives in the word and bring their children up in the fear and admonition of the Lord. Family worship facilitates these things.
While family discipleship should happen as we go here and there together (Deut. 6:7), there is great value in dedicated time together before God. A gifted minster and teacher in our own day has gone so far as to say that family worship is the most important thing he does.
How to start doing it
Family worship sounds intimidating but it really isn't. It consists of four or five simple elements that any of us can begin to practice immediately. It will be awkward at first, but you and your kids will quickly fall in love with it.
1. Read the word.
Start in Genesis, or start in Matthew. Or start anywhere. Read through books of the Bible, a chapter a day or so. Pray before you read and ask God to teach you.
2. Talk about the word.
If anything stuck out to you as you read, talk about it. Ask your wife if anything stuck out to her. Ask your kids if they have any thoughts or questions. Sometimes we talk for a few minutes; sometimes we don't talk much at all.
3. Pray together.
Pray in line with the chapter you just read. Pray for God to apply its truth to your hearts, and form your children by it. Take requests. Here is also a great opportunity to keep consistent requests before God. It is wonderful to be able to tell people, "We are praying for you as a family."
Keep it simple. If you have little ones you may begin by singing the doxology. You are free to introduce other songs or spice it up with Psalms.
Some folks do catechism with their kids during family worship; others do it separately. There are wonderful first catechisms to begin working through with your children (we use the Prove It Catechism). It's a great discussion piece as you are out and about or just sitting around. These truths will stick with your children for life.
Ten minutes or so later, and that's it! There is a desire in you as a Christian man to lead your family spiritually. Family worship is a simple and most excellent way to begin; it also serves as a launch pad for doing so in all your family life. If you are a single mother, this is a perfect way for you to lead your children as well. Do it after dinner, do it before bed. In any case ...