At All Times-Psalm 34:1

January 9, 2010

“Family Worship”: Treasuring God in Our Traditions Part II

First, see Part I of this series.

When I think of traditions, it is usually the special yearly events that come to mind: getting pajamas and house slippers on Christmas Eve, decorating our Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving, and sitting together as a family at church on Easter Sunday.¬† In Piper’s book, she shows how we pass on our values (what we treasure most) through our “everyday” traditions as well. These are the day-in-day-out habits and customs we build our lives around. They provide stability and dependence for our children and teach them about God.

The two most important “everyday” categories in Piper’s book are traditions that teach our children about God’s Word and Prayer. The examples she includes are daily family Bible reading and prayer time, worshiping together on Sunday mornings, personal devotions, spontaneous prayer throughout the day, mealtime prayer, and praying together as a couple. What I loved about this section of her book was the encouragement it afforded me as a parent. I had been feeling like I had to have a deep theological message to communicate through some intricate, creative platform for special occasions if I wanted to impart meaningful traditions to my children. Now I’m learning that the little things matter! And they matter a lot!

I’d like to share our family’s story about¬† family Bible reading and prayer time, or what many would call “family worship” or “family devotions.”

When our first son arrived in our family during early 2008, we were a part of a small group at our church that really challenged us in this area. The leader of the small group and the other families were actively having times of family worship in their homes each day. They continued to press upon us the benefit, or rather the necessity, or this spiritual discipline. Although I grew up in a Christian home, this was a new idea to me. The closest thing we had to family worship growing up was a month long attempt to have weekly family devotions. It quickly flopped. I had known a lot of great Christian families, but I only knew of one in all my life that actually prayed and read the Bible together as a whole on any regular basis. Strangely enough, I was starting to see that in some Christian circles this was as normal and essential as daily individual reading and prayer.

If you have ever been exposed to this idea, perhaps you’ll find the same struggles our family had. We couldn’t find a consistent time, we forgot to do it, we were tired, our son was sleepy, we were out, we had company, we were on vacation, and on and on…

I’m not going to take the time to argue the benefits of family devotion, but I’d like to encourage you that it can be done! We finally established the habit as a family and rarely miss a day except Sunday and Wednesday nights when we’re at church. I am so glad we have established this habit and look forward to it growing into a special time of intimacy for our family.

If your family has been struggling with this, here are some things that helped us…

  • Have accountability from another family
  • Set a time and a place that works well and is flexible
  • Always include guests-it’s not as awkward as you’d think and if you wait until they leave, you’ll never do it!
  • Don’t expect your spouse to remember! Sometimes as women we can expect the man to be the spiritual leader to the extent that we refuse to be a help-meet. Wives, if your husband is committed to family worship, but he forgets to initiate it at the set time, don’t hesitate to say “Honey, can we begin family worship now?” You’re a team on this! Its not time to twiddle your thumbs and wonder “Will he remember this time?”
  • Keep it short at first
  • When you forget a couple of days, keep going instead of quitting
  • Don’t expect spectacular, deep moments every time, right away
  • Wives, pray for your husbands to have a deep commitment to leading spiritually in this way
  • Read about or talk to other Christian families that have regular family devotions to impress upon your heart the values and benefits

I hope you’ll find these suggestions helpful for your family. And if I could encourage young couples with one thing: START THIS DISCIPLINE BEFORE YOU HAVE KIDS. Perhaps the transition will be smoother for you.


1 Comment »

  1. […] God and the world. They give them a sense of belonging, stability, and routine in the world. In my last post we looked at family devotions as an important everyday tradition. Now I would like to share with you some one of our unique […]

    Pingback by Everyday Traditions: Treasuring God in our Traditions Part III « At All Times-Psalm 34:1 — January 21, 2010 @ 3:11 pm |Reply

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