Inside: Structuring family worship and Bible study to train up your children and glorify God
As Christian parents, we all should be vigilant in making sure our children truly know who the God of the Bible is and what we believe. There are a tremendous number of errors out there today centered around the Christian faith. How can we make sure our children know the truth?
The answer is discipleship. One of the ways that works out in everyday life is through family worship.
How to Structure Family Worship Time
You may be on board for family worship but are unsure of what to include or the best ways to spend that time. The following is what we normally do for family worship. After our kids have eaten breakfast and gotten ready for the day, we spend this time in the rod together before moving on to their school lessons.
We always open our time in the word together with prayer. Sometimes I pray first to get the kids started. Other times, one of the children will want to go first.
We keep things fairly simple. For prayer, we’ve always given our children the format of thanking God for blessings He’s given you and then praying for others. For example, before bed, after our children have thanked God, we pray for different missionaries around the world and the people who they’re serving. (Our oldest wants to be a missionary, so this is something very near and dear to our hearts.)
It’s also wise to study the prayer that Jesus taught His disciples when they asked Him how they should pray. Our children know the Lord’s prayer, and it can also be a helpful format for praying during family worship.
You can get the printable PDF version of the Lord’s prayer above by subscribing to our newsletter and downloading it from the FREE resource library.
2. Psalms and Hymns
We also often talk about the history of the hymn and what caused the person to write it.
Some of our children’s favorite hymns are:
- Holy, Holy, Holy
- A Mighty Fortress is Our God
- Amazing Grace
- It is Well
- Crown Him with Many Crowns
- To God Be the Glory, Great Things He Hath Done
Singing Psalms is also a blessing. If you’re able to get a Psalter hymnal, you should look into it! But there are other artists who also sing Psalms, so you could start there. Shane and Shane come to mind.
This time doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive. We just have folders that I put our lyric sheets into (all printed by me from our home computer). Each child gets a folder at the start of worship along with their Bible.
What even is a catechism? It’s a list of questions and answers that explain theological concepts and give our brains categories for the things we read in scripture. Some catechisms based on the historic confessions of faith are:
Most catechisms also give verse references for further understanding and study.
As a starter, we’ve been using First Catechism by Great Commission Publications. A few days a week, we sit down and do catechism together. I ask questions, and our children say the answers back to me.
Catechizing our children is a great way to help them understand sound doctrine and help safeguard their minds from serious errors that are prevalent in the world (and church) today.
Whether we like it or not, our children are being catechized by the world around them. The songs they listen to, the television shows they take in, what they see on YouTube– it’s all teaching them something. Limiting or cutting out certain entertainment is of course something we should do, but we also have a duty as parents to teach our children the truth that can only be found in God’s word.
And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.Deuteronomy 6:6-7 (ESV)
4. Scripture Memory
On the 3 days that we aren’t doing catechism, we go over our children’s memory verses. Memorizing scripture along with catechizing, gives our children a solid foundation to build from.
Focus on one verse at a time until they have it memorized, then add another. We do hand motions that go with what we’re saying to help the young ones remember. For the older ones, I write our new verse on the chalkboard. Every time we practice memory verses, I’ll erase a couple words while they look away. In a week or two, they have the entire verse memorized.
Some verses that we started with are:
- Genesis 1:1
- Psalm 145:17
- 1 Corinthians 10:31
- Romans 8:1
- Romans 5:6
- Philippians 2:3
- Psalm 127:3
- Psalm 63:1
5. Scripture Reading and Exposition
Finally we get to the meat of our family worship: the word. We read scripture together and talk about the meaning of each passage in context.
For example, we’ve been through Genesis and Exodus so far together and are currently going through the Gospels with the help of the Meeting with Jesus devotional. Then depending on the day (they alternate), our older daughter likes to read from Psalms or our oldest son reads from Proverbs.
Each of our children has their own Bible, and they’re learning where to find the different books. As we read together, they follow along.
Other Helpful Resources for Family Worship
First, it helps if we as the adults are well-versed in scripture and have understanding that we can pass down to our children. For sound biblical teaching, I highly recommend the articles, video courses, and other resources from Ligonier. A couple of my favorite books to recommend include The Holiness of God by RC Sproul and The Attributes of God by AW Pink.
A fantastic Bible to have is the Reformation Study Bible in the ESV (a translation that young children can also understand with short explanations here and there). The condensed version has less notes but is much more portable, less expensive, and perfectly fine to use for family worship.
Above all, remember why we do what we do. It’s not always easy to train up our little ones. But in it, we glorify our God and act with faithfulness to the work He has set before us. there are difficult days, but don’t lose heart.
And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.Galatians 6:9 (ESV)
Until next time,