Scripture does not give us an imperative for family worship. This is important to say at the outset so that we are not laying down “sanctification” markers for each other. Having said that, however, we still need to acknowledge that God’s Word does command us to teach our children how to love the Lord (Deut. 6) and train them in his discipline and instruction (Ephesians 6:4).
PRINCIPLES & METHODS
Before looking at family worship, it is important to discuss how the Bible gives us principles that we are to take and wisely apply in our particular situation. We should not do this just to go along with the more “sanctified” crowd. No, we are to be realistic about ourselves, our children, our own family culture, our strengths and weaknesses, and then prayerfully and wisely make household decisions. So whether in education, entertainment, clothing styles, family activities, and so on, we look to Scripture for liberties and boundaries and make thoughtful, prayerful choices.
Sometimes, we may find that the choice we made doesn’t fit with our individual family, and we should adjust. Either way, when Scripture gives us principles, we should not use our particular application as a measuring rod for other people’s devotion to Christ, nor are we to hold it up as the only godly way of living out a particular Biblical principle. This is not relativism. This is called grace. We need to give each other grace to execute these principles differently in the context of our individual families. This is one of the differences between principles and methods.
I’ve prayed for my children throughout pregnancy, during delivery, and over them as babies. Even when we were nominal Christians, we prayed with our children before bed. But I remember distinctly the first time I saw what is known as “family worship.” We had just moved into a new neighborhood and began attending a small Reformed church when a dear family took us under their wings and began mentoring us. They invited us into their home, where we got to see a family living the life of faithful Christians.
I was a green-behind-the-ears stay-at-home mom, desiring to learn what this new role—which I had been kicking against and hoping to avoid—really looked like day in and day out. Even though I had just delivered our third child we felt “new” in our roles because we had at that same time decided to eschew feminism, careerism, and egalitarianism for “the traditional biblical model,” if such a thing was possible.