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.
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?