Family Worship Is a Matter of Prudence
"The prudent sees danger and hides himself,
but the simple go on and suffer for it."
– Proverbs 22:3
Our children are some of the first to grow up in what is indisputably a post-Christian American society. Their peers are overwhelmingly likely to indulge sexual immorality, and unlikely to succeed in forming godly marriages (this is true even if they attend a Christian school). They and their peers are also overwhelmingly influenced by social media and popular culture, much of which is highly corrosive to traditional Christianity. And they are far more likely than their parents to find their first entry-level jobs at workplaces that will pressure them to affirm LGBTQ+ identities and behaviors.
We can see these dangers coming. Will we be simple, doing nothing and suffering for it—or will we be prudent, and get to work?
The most important way to prepare spiritually for the future is to immediately begin leading family worship in our homes. Here are some reasons why I think family worship is a top strategic priority:
Daily reading is the only way to gain familiarity with the Bible. Maybe your children are already doing that on their own. The other 100% of us need to lead family worship.
Family prayer is the best way for your children to learn how to pray. They also learn in Church, of course. But Sunday worship services do not provide them an opportunity to pray. Nor do Lord’s Day services give them a glimpse of dailyprayer.
Family worship will give you crucial practice at spiritual conversations. There will come a time when you will absolutely have to speak with them about Jesus, repentance, faith, trust, sacrifice, courage, and humility. Will you be able to do that, in the heat of some conflict or the pain of some disappointment, if you have never once brought these subjects up before? Will they be able to engage in such conversation, if it is totally unfamiliar to them?
Family worship nourishes our identity and sense of belonging in Christ. Our families are our people. Our homes are where we belong. Shouldn’t these deep centers of identity be rooted in prayer, scriptural teaching, spiritual conversation, and worship?
To put it simply, if you want your children are to survive in their Christian faith, start leading them in family worship. Leaving your children aside for the moment: if you want to survive in your Christian faith, start leading family worship. Thinking a bit more broadly, if you want the Church to weather the storms that are about to break over us all, organize family worship in your home.
If you have never led family worship before, now is the time to start. If you do not know how to do it, then read Psalm 23 tonight with whoever’s present, and then lead everyone in saying the Lord’s Prayer. Do that every day until you come up with another plan.
And if you need help, go to your pastor or elder. If they are spiritual watchmen, they already see the danger coming, and will be happy to help you however they can.
Calvin Goligher is the pastor of First OPC in Sunnyvale, California. He and his wife Joanne have four young children.
"The Common Work of Christian Parenting" by Jason Helopoulos
"The Radical Society" by Zack Groff
"The Importance of Cultural Liturgies" by Arthur Hunt
A Neglected Grace: Family Worship in the Christian Home by Jason Helopoulos
Persistent Prayer by Guy Richard