Family Worship FAQ
Here, we want to address those questions or objections that are often raised against family worship. We'll address best practices, and we'll talk about what makes family worship difficult to do and especially difficult to start! The page will grow as we interact with our parishioners and hear from them, about both their victories and their set backs. We hope this will be a resource that encourages and equips you to worship in your home!
- How often should we do family worship?
The goal is to gather as a family for 10-15 minutes, once a day.
- Does it matter what time of day we do it?
No, but it is helpful to try and do it at the same time each day. Some families find mornings to be easiest; others choose dinner or bedtime. The beginning or end of the day is usually best. Some families try incoporate family worship into both the beginning and end of the day.
- Does it matter where we do it?
No, but just as with the time, it is best to try and gather in the same place most days. This helps establish a habit and normalize the experience.
- What happens if we miss a day?
Nothing. Literally, nothing happens. You'll be okay. There is no reason to feel overwrought. You missed an opportunity to receive all the blessings that come with this practice, but you haven't failed, and you will not be struck by lightning. Try again tomorrow. It'll be fine. Especially in the early days of establishing a habit, you're going to stumble some. Don't give up.
- I'm frustrated, because it seems like we've missed more days than we've made!
Have you tried finding a time and place that works well every day? Have you tried setting reminders on your phone for that time? Is there someone in your family who is especially excited about family worship that you could put in charge of remembering? Avoid the temptation to feel frustrated. No matter what habit you try to start, there is always some trial-and-error finding the right place and time and getting into a routine.
- Why should I bother trying to do family worship?
There are so many benefits! First, there are the benefits of simply being in the Word and prayer. Fellowship with our Creator and Redeemer is transformative and a blessing! These benefits belong to everyone who is present in family worship. For parents, it is also a fulfilment of the command in Deuteronomy 6:7 to be raising our children up, teaching them the promises of God. Our children get to see and hear us praying and reading God's Word, and they get to practice doing those things, as well, as we encourage them to participate. Faith has been so over-individualized in our culture. This practice communicates to everyone in the household that our faith binds us together. By prioritizing this time over everything else, we reinforce in ourselves and our children that faith matters more than any other work or play that makes demands on our time. Parents, family worship that is patiently and lovingly led is a means by which our covenant children are anchored to their faith, so that when they are old, they will not depart from it (Proverbs 22:6). And it anchors each of us as well. Prayer and reading the Word of God are ordinary means by which God sanctifies his people.
- We usually just end up fighting with our kids. Are you sure this is a blessing?
It is! I know it doesn't always feel like it, though. Starting family worship as a habit in the home, especially with a willful child (or children!) can be especially difficult. I would encourage you to keep it simple in this case. Pray a brief prayer. Read a brief passage of Scripture. Then close with a brief prayer. Continue that pattern daily until it becomes a habit and expectation for everyone. Encourage your child(ren) to sit quietly and listen, but have age-appropriate expectations. Apply godly and loving discipline consistent with how you apply it in the rest of your family life. Whatever you do, pray, read, and pray. Do not avoid or abandon family worship because of a willful child. It also okay if your children aren't excited about family worship and sit and mope throughout. We don't want that, of course, but it's just a starting place. Above all things, be patient. In time, you will begin to see fruit.
- This is crazy-easy—isn't there more we can be doing?
Sure! A full example of family worship would include opening in prayer, reading God's Word, discussing what you've read, singing a song or hymn or Psalm together, reciting a catechism question and discussing that question and answer, and closing in prayer. Very slowly, over time, we will incorporate some of these elements into our own worship guide. But anyone can begin including them on their own whenever they're ready!
- I don't know how to do a devotion or lead a Bible study. Can I lead family worship?
Sure you can! At the very least, you only need to read the provided prayers and text of Scripture. As you get comfortable and feel ready to try more, there are excellent resources on our resources page that will provide brief readings about the Scripture you read and easy questions you can use to prompt discussion in your family.
- It's just two of us—do we do anything differently?
No. Two is just fine. One of you can do all the reading, or you can take turns. Emptynesters, those without children, a single parent with child—it all works the same.
- I live by myself—how do I fit in to this?
The same way we all do, really. Just take a few minutes each day to pray and read the Scriptures! You can read to yourself or read aloud. If you have roommates, invite them to join you!