The evening after my wife and I got married, we cracked open Paul Washer’s The One True God workbook and started (slowly) working through it. Most evenings we would read a few pages, discuss the scriptures, and pray. That was it. And we did it pretty much any evening that we could. That was the beginning of building our habit of family worship. It wasn’t until a year later that we had our first son. Almost all of the encouragements to do family worship focus on the children, but I’m so thankful that we didn’t wait until we had kids to start family worship. Let me give you a few reasons why.
My Wife and I Were Made for Worship
One thing that is overlooked when we think that family worship is only for kids, is that we were made for worship. Surely we want to teach our children to worship the One true God, but my wife and I also need to grow in this area. “Everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made” (Isa 43:7). This command is for me, and family worship allows me the opportunity to lead in my home with obedience to that command. It’s also just assumed that husbands and wives will be praying together: “Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered” (1 Pet 3:7).
Children Increase the Difficulty
Another thing that people underestimate when thinking about kids and family worship is how difficult children make it! My wife and I had our own hangups that we had to work through before family worship became enjoyable. Then when children came along, the problems only magnified. I can’t imagine trying to work through all of our issues AND keep a crying baby soothed, or a wandering toddler still, or a whiny 5 year old involved. By God’s grace we would have done it, but boy would it have been more difficult.
What if Children Never Come?
One last thing to consider is: what if children never come? I know friends who have tried to have children for a decade, and the Lord has not given them yet. And as I’ve grown older, I have realized that this is much more common than I’d ever thought. Some wait 5 or more years before the Lord gives them children. If family worship is only for children, then some families would miss out on the privilege of coming to God together around His word, prayer, and singing. And often, these families need that nearness of God together the most.
So what should you do? Maybe you’re newly married and wondering if you should start family worship. Maybe you’re expecting a child. Maybe you’ve got children and family worship isn’t a regular habit. Here’s my encouragement: Get started! Waiting won’t make it any easier. Once family rhythms are built, it’s really difficult to disrupt them and start something new. Work through those difficulties with one another, and, “talk of [God’s word] when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise” (Deut 6:7). Start family worship as soon as you can, and see the benefits of drawing near to God together.
© Jacob Crouch 2023