Book Giveaway this week: Giveaway entries

Three syllables is all you have to remember, read, pray, sing. Read the Bible, pray together and sing together. Now, I think I can substantiate these from Scripture. We should do in worship what the Bible says to do in worship but there are three things the Bible says to do in worship you can do, whether it is congregational worship, whether it is private worship, or family worship. Some things in the Bible about worship are clearly for congregational worship only. Preaching, for example, requires a preacher, and hearers, a God called man. The Lord’s supper, we’re told, do this in remembrance of Me, by Jesus, that’s given to the church. We’re not to serve the Lord’s supper to ourselves in our private devotional life, we’re not to give that to the family. So, there are three things, though, the Bible says to do in worship we can do, whether it’s with the church, all alone or with the family, and that is read the Bible, to pray together, and to sing together. So, read the Bible. Just read through the Bible, book by book. The younger the children you have, the more you’re going to want to use narrative passages, and short sections, because young children can’t think conceptually like adults can. For that reason, a lot of Christians choose to use some sort of children’s Bible that focuses on the narratives. Then, as they get older, set a goal for a complete reading of the New Testament, then the entire Bible, but read the Bible together, first of all. Second, pray together, and there are so many ways this can be done. Whether one person prays, a different person each night, whether people take turns, or everyone prays, however you do that. But I would suggest at least one thing, and that is, when you pray, pray about at least one thing you read in the Bible that night. So, for example, if you read through John 3, you might say, who’s someone we know who needs to meet Jesus, like Nicodemus met Jesus in what we read tonight? The next night, John 4, you might say, who’s a woman we know we can pray will meet Jesus, like the woman at the well met Jesus? You know, this takes no preparation. I’ve come across a lot of men who think that somehow they have to gather some sort of devotional together and they think, I don’t have the time to do that, I don’t have the skill to do that. I’ve never prepared. Just pick up your Bible, open to where you left off the previous day, and just read, pray, sing. Ten minutes, maybe, I think is a good workable goal. If you have much younger children, then even a shorter time because their attention span is even smaller. One encouragement I really want to leave families with, and when I say families, by the way, this is not just for couples with young children in the home. That’s often our stereotype of family worship. This is for all couples, whether they are newly married and don’t have children, whether they are empty-nesters, and may be starting family worship for the first time. So, family worship is for couples, whether they have children or not. But, a final encouragement I would give to families with family worship is, don’t get the idea that if you do this rightly, all the family members, including the children, will sit with their hands reverently folded and cherubic looks on their faces. That won’t happen. This is a real family in the real family room, and real families do what real families do in a real family room. The three year olds are rolling on the floor, and the dog maybe is coming in and throwing up on the carpet, and all these kinds of things of real life happen in family worship. In my own experience, one of my favorite memories involves my daughter when she graduated from a Christian high school who’s custom it was for the parents to give the diploma to their graduate, and then say a few words of encouragement, and the graduate would say a few words of thanks to the parents. So, when my daughter received her diploma and then had some words of thanks to my wife and I, when she addressed me specifically, she began talking about how much family worship had meant to her but she didn’t get very far, for she collapsed on my shoulder. She began to sob, and I mean she sobbed harder, literally, than she had since she was a preschooler, and someone took a picture of that and it’s my favorite photograph of us together. But in the thousands of nights that preceded that photograph, not one time would I have walked away from family worship saying, oh, the Spirit of God came powerfully on our family tonight,” you know, the presence of God was atmospheric in our home tonight.” That never happened, not one time in the thousands of nights that led up to that. In fact, most often, I walked away from family worship thinking, I wonder if anything was accomplished tonight. And, in fact, to this day, when my daughter and her husband and our grandchild are in our home, we have family worship. You know what it looks like? It’s more like this, “hey, would you all put your phone down? Hey, I’m trying to read the Bible here, would you all listen? (chuckles) I mean, it’s what real families do in a real family room. But, you know, we’re growing oaks of righteousness, the Bible says, and you don’t grow an oak by an occasional, spectacular exposure to the elements. It’s an unspectacular, ongoing, daily exposure to the elements that produces an oak. So, if you do family worship rightly and consistently, you may not see the fruit of it for many, many years, but you consistently bring the Gospel before your family. How blessed is that family where what God has done through Christ is declared and discussed day after day, and you may discover, at the end of it all, that, indeed, the Word does its work.