It was July of 1961 when the Green Bay Packers gathered for training camp after losing the NFL Championship to the Philadelphia Eagles only a few months prior. These players came within minutes of winning on the world’s biggest stage in their profession. So naturally, when they arrived at training camp, they expected to pick right up where they left off and get back to work. Legendary Coach Vince Lombardi had other ideas.
“Gentlemen,” he said holding up a football, “this is a football.”
He proceeded to regard the camp as a completely blank slate and rebuild from the ground up. He went over the fundamentals with his team over and over again. At the end of that season, the Packers won the NFL Championship against the New York Giants 37-0. Lombardi proved that knowing and acting on the fundamentals will give you the confidence and edge in achieving your goals.
What is the family worship equivalent of winning a championship? Making much of Jesus in your home together!
Elements of Family Worship
Don Whitney makes something very clear in his book Family Worship. Busy or not, “God deserves to be worshiped daily in our homes by our families.” He has done great things for us and we want to reflect on the gospel every single day. In fact, we want to orient our daily rhythms to make room for Jesus. Our kids need to know he is worth the time.
I think breaking down the core elements of family worship will help us see how accessible and necessary worshiping as a family will be to our ordinary rhythms of life. Jesus loves meeting us in our ordinary day to day lives.
1. Read the Word
We cannot properly worship if we’re not hearing from God. We need to hear God speak truth over us. He made us for relationship and relationship is built on trust and communication. Spending time in the Word daily is essential for our spiritual health. Jesus said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God’.” (Matt. 4:4). If our deepest satisfaction comes from the presence of Jesus, we cannot starve our families. Feed them the Word!
If you’re a coffee drinker, imagine starting one day without coffee. Don’t you feel off and sluggish for most of the day? You feel like you’re missing out on putting your best foot forward. Since followers of Jesus drink from the well of living water, we experience joy as we read his Word out loud and help our families find their spiritual footing.
Here are some ways to help your family sip from the Word regularly.
- Sit down and read a verse or Bible story out loud with your family. For young kids, we recommend starting with accounts of Jesus’ life or parables. If you’re able to access them, resources like Jesus Storybook Bible and The Biggest Story are well loved.
- Have your family write their favorite verses on colorful sticky notes and put them on the fridge, cabinets, mirrors, doors, and everywhere else they can see them often.
- One family I know had a creative idea. They put Scripture verses on a canvas and hung it in the bathroom. The text was backwards. Every time their teenage daughters got ready in the mirror each morning, they could look over their shoulder in the mirror and be reminded of what God saw in them.
Prayer is our heart’s response to God’s goodness. We love Him and we long to talk to Him. We can talk to him anytime. Sometimes we use that as an excuse to never sit down and pray or only pray quick thanks for our meals. We need daily time alone with the Father. Our families need that time together with the Father as well.
If you’re like our family, you might feel like you schedule every minute of every day in order to maximize your effectiveness and help everyone get the most benefit from their study, work, and play time.
What could be a greater benefit than making time to pray as a family? Here are some examples!
- When you read a Bible passage, parents can lead a simple prayer of response. “Thank you Father for the example you gave us in David and Goliath of your faithfulness. Thank you for choosing us as your children servants.”
- Pray Scripture as a family. Psalm 23, Eph. 1:3-14, or Matt. 6:9-14.
- Pray “popcorn prayers.” Each person takes a turn and prays a short sentence of praise or request.
- Before Sunday church, ask one of the family members to pray for the morning worship time.
One of the hardest things is finding willing volunteers to pray. When leaders in the home set an example of continual, heartfelt prayer, children won’t think it is weird at all to pray. It will be beautifully normal.
Psalm 100:1-2 says, “Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing!” That’s right, even if you are completely tone deaf, we still want to sing of God’s goodness. Singing is a right and beautiful response of God’s children.
Some homes are fortunate to have musicians in the house. Dust off those piano keys or the guitar and play a song your family knows and loves and would be happy to sing along with.
Not a musician at all? No problem! Spotify, Apple Music, Prime Music, YouTube, and other resources make it easy to stream songs of worship into your home.
One thing we do with our little kids is to play kids worship videos like Seeds Family Worship, Austin Stone Worship Kids, and Slugs and Bugs . Not only do these songs teach big truths, but also they give kiddos motions to act it out (and get rid of some wiggles). Parents and siblings, dancing with your kids in the living room may become one of your favorite memories ever and you don’t even have to clap on beat.
For older students and adults, singing the doxology, a verse of well known hymns, or singing along to worship songs in the car can all be helpful for bridging the gap between heart and heaven. Just make a joyful noise.
No matter what your family looks like or even if you are a single adult living at home, you can make much of Jesus in your home. When you understand the fundamentals of worship of read, pray, and sing, you can continually open up your home to be a culture of growth and worship.
Your home will never be the same!
Please let us know your thoughts or if you have other ideas for uniting these core elements of worship in the home.