Family Worship Time
Family worship time is a God-given opportunity to unite the family and help resist the many subtle forces which are attempting to undermine the Christian home. Ambition to obtain more than modest means often leads to excessively long hours of employment and, in some instances, causes both parents to work outside the home while children are still quite young. Children are expected to excel in school and mature rapidly so they can shoulder their responsibilities in society. Perhaps because of fear of failure, greater emphasis is sometimes placed on developing a career for life than preparing a soul for eternity. The Word gives a different perspective: “But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matt. 6:33).
If children are to be fully convinced that spiritual things should have first place, it will have to be proven to them by the priorities established in the home. To achieve this objective there must be concerted effort to communicate on a spiritual level and to set aside regular family worship time. For many it is the evening meal that best lends itself to a time of family communication. The family assembles around the table to give thanks to God for all good gifts including the blessing of being together. Following is a time when children should be seen and heard. Each should be given opportunity to speak freely of the experiences of the day to that little group of people who are to him or her the most understanding and supportive fellow human beings on this earth. Home should be a place of respite from the pressures of society. Close fellowship among those we deeply love affords a foretaste of heaven (Eph. 2:6). Family ties are strengthened by these experiences. If parents do not apply consistent determination to set aside such times in their busy lives, how often will true family communion occur on a spontaneous basis?
Innumerable after-school activities, the lure of many forms of entertainment, multiple jobs, fast food outlets and a host of other factors have made a quiet evening meal at home with the entire family virtually unknown to many households in America. If we are not on guard, this will become an accepted pattern in our homes. This is but one small example of the success which the unrelenting enemy of our souls has had in seeking to undermine the Christian home. He is trying to corrupt the simplicity of our lives in Christ (2 Cor. 11:3).
Many of us have precious memories of our fathers praying aloud at the table and reading from the Holy Scriptures. Older converts often testify that they were moved to repentance as the Holy Spirit brought to their remembrance the prayers and faithful teachings of their parents. Our sincere hope is that such memories may help awaken many others. “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Prov. 22:6). Are we doing our best to preserve these sacred experiences for our children? Are we relenting to the peer pressure of neighboring children who grab a bite to eat on an individual basis and in a few minutes are back at the door to play again? Or have we established godly patterns which are respected by all, and are based on deep concerns for the eternal welfare of souls. Joshua said, “Choose you this day whom ye will serve.., but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Josh. 24:15).
One of the fruits of the Holy Spirit is temperance which is defined as habitual self-control or self-discipline. We can pray spontaneously at any time without depending upon a structured schedule. However, if we acknowledge our human frailty, we will agree that much grace is needed to help us lead balanced or temperate lives which include adequate time for prayer and worship on a regular basis. The Psalmist wrote, “it is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord, and to sing praises unto thy name, O most High: To shew forth thy lovingkindness in the morning and thy faithfulness every night” (Psalms92:1-2). Numerous scriptural teachings refer to daily communication with God and regular meditation upon His Word. Parents are instructed to teach their children the ways of the Lord continuously. Abraham was commended by God, “For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord…” (Gen. 18:19).
Unquestioned loyalty to regular attendance at church services should be the norm of every believing home. “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching” (Heb. 10:25). Reinforcement of what was learned at church and Sunday School is a special blessing of family communication on a spiritual level. Children should be asked about their lessons for the day. They will profit from the example of hearing their parents speak appreciatively of thoughts brought out in the sermons. Combined efforts to memorize Scripture and frequent reference to its application in our daily lives can be of great benefit. Parents should always be on the lookout for “teachable moments” when a scriptural lesson can be applied to everyday life. This can be accomplished without being overbearing, if it is motivated by the love of Christ.
How can we find the time for all of these things when we already feel overwhelmed with meeting the many routine pressures of life? The Word says, “And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed” (Rom. 13:11). We will find time for the things we cherish the most. Jesus said, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matt. 6:21). We must put forth the time, energy, dedication and self-denial to meet our family responsibilities. By faithful obedience to the prompting of the Holy Spirit, there will be generated in our own minds deep personal convictions based upon the Word of God regarding these responsibilities as Christian parents. As this occurs, the reallocation of our time becomes of itself a simple act. The resultant blessings will rest with our children and our children’s children—should the Lord tarry. Light from the Word