I will thank the Lord with all my heart as I meet with his godly people. How amazing are the deeds of the Lord! All who delight in him should ponder them. Psalm 111:1-2 NLT

Friday, October 19, 2012

Family Worship Changes Hearts


 photo by Suzanne Sherwood
As Christian parents, we know we should have family devotions. But many of us don’t. In my home, family devotions could often be described with Paul’s words: “The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.” Though we wanted to raise our children as disciples of Christ, we found evening devotions difficult to fit into our busy schedule. With a broad range of ages, it was hard to find a one-fits-all approach. Sometimes, we opened the Word and discussed it. Other times, we’d plow through a devotional book. But gathering the children together for family worship in the evenings felt like pushing rope. It just wasn’t working.
Until now.
My friend, Ginger, a fellow Ponderer, told me to start with baby steps, then shared how her family is growing closer to God and one another by gathering each night for two worship songs. She encouraged us to do the same.
Psalm 22:3 says, “God inhabits the praises of His people.”
In fact, Psalms is a book of songs, and the Bible mentions trumpets, lyres, harps, and other instruments. God created music, so He must be a big fan of worship songs. (But if you’re a believer who worships through hymns, He’s a fan of those too.)
I’m pretty sure the heroes of the Bible praised God with simple instruments that didn’t require electricity. But that doesn’t mean we can’t use every advantage we have, and thanks to YouTube we’ve got hundreds, if not thousands, of worship songs with lyrics at our fingertips. If your family knows a lot of songs, you can sing a capella, use CD's or even showcase your child's piano talent. It doesn't matter as long as it works for you, but we really like having words. (You can literally go to YouTube and type “worship songs with lyrics.”)
In our family, we each take turns selecting songs. The song chooser also leads out in prayer that night, just to get our children to learn to lead. My husband reads a daily devotion from Jesus Calling by Sarah Young, we sing two praise songs, then we pray together. That’s it. It only takes 15 minutes, and we look forward to it. No more pushing rope, or lassoing stragglers and dragging them in. Sometimes, our six-year-old is already asleep, but when he’s awake, he sits watching the YouTube videos as the rest of us stand and worship. As he learns more songs, I imagine he’ll participate more too.
We’ve only been doing this for a few weeks, but we’ve already noticed a change in the hearts of our teenagers. One son said, “It’s not enough to worship once a week at church, I need to worship God daily.” When I was having a difficult time with my youngest son, this same teenager was quick to ask if he could do anything. Could he help in the kitchen? Normally, he would have just laid low. Now, he felt compassion for my struggle and wanted to help. The sincere prayers of our young teenagers are just blowing me away. Besides drawing closer to God, we’re drawing closer to one another. Because our format is so simple, we’re faithful to meet nearly every night. But it’s so simple, it hard to believe how much fruit it’s bearing. Yet, it is! Attitudes are changing. Walls are dropping. People are noticing differences. Imagine what God will do in us and through us when we’ve worshipped as a family for months and even years. Maybe our fruit will be a whole orchard for His glory!     
For those who aren’t in a family unit, I now use worship music to "prime the pump" during my private prayer time too.
Your turn. How do you worship God more effectively?

13 comments:

  1. Roxanne, what a beautiful post. I'm so glad you shared what you're doing and the fruit you're seeing. My husband and I both love worshiping, but we haven't tried it as a family. Hearing the changes you're seeing in your kids brought tears to my eyes. God is so amazing!

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  2. Thanks, Jeanne! I encourage you to begin worshiping with your kids now so it feels organic as they grow up. We began seeing changes in four days. And, yes, God is amazing!

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  3. Roxanne, just another way you amaze me. A beautiful post, and I love how God is working in your family. So thankful your teens are rising to the challenge. That's fabulous.

    If I could have a do-over in parenting, one of things I'd do differently is family devotions. I should've started them when the boys were little, but I didn't. Now they're practically out of the house.

    Thanks for sharing your heart!

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  4. Lisa, I'd like some "do-overs" too. Many people aren't in situations to have family devotions, so I mentioned I'm using music during personal quiet time too. If you try it, let me know if worship music draws you closer to God.

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  5. I love Jesus Calling. Somehow everyday it addresses an issue I'm dealing with. I'm so glad you're having a daily worship time. It's so important for that to be part of a child's routine. Great post, Roxanne.

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  6. Thanks, Pat. Yes, it's amazing how convicting, thoughtful and on-target Jesus Calling is.

    (So how did you make that italics here?)

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  7. Roxanne, I think as new christians and children, the thought of being bogged down in long prayer/praise times seems overwhelming. I like the idea of the short session of baby steps to remind them that God is listening all the time.

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    1. Jennie, You're right. In the past, we always got bogged down. This is the first time our kids are asking to worship with us.

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  8. Roxanne, great encouragement as we are raising Haley. It's so easy to fall into the trap of, "she's too little to get it." but it's about us making time and getting into a routine. Thanks!

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    1. If you and Gregg begin now and continue then you won't end up having regrets later. (And, boy, how kids grow quickly!)

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  9. Thanks for reminding us that worship isn't just for Sunday mornings!

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  10. Teri, It's always so great to see you here. Thanks!

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  11. Great job, Roxanne. Isn't it amazing how God chooses the simple thing to confound the wise. Salvation is simple too. Ask then receive. Worship is just another one of God's amazing simple things He gives us to draw us closer to Him. Thanks for making this sooo simple to understand :)

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