I grew up in a home on the Swinomish Reservation, where my mother made family worship a priority. We always bought the latest devotional book for kids from the Adventist Book Center, took turns reading the day’s devotional and prayed together. I realize now, as an adult, how blessed I was to have a stay-at-home mom who made that a priority.
Now, as a mother myself, I realize carving out that time for family worship isn’t as easy as my mom made it look. I have to be intentional and committed. My husband and I value personal devotion time and want our kids to see us putting God first in all we do. Family worship is essential in the growth of their own personal devotion time and the spiritual growth of us as a family: “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” (Deut. 6:7).
Here are family worship ideas that will have a positive effect on your family:
Bible Reading Together
I encourage using an easy-to-read version so the kids can easily understand what’s being read. We own many children’s Bibles, including a storybook-style Bible, graphic-novel style Bible and even a Lego minifigure Bible. Both of my children love being chosen to read the Bible. When they get to be an active participant, family worship is much more exciting for them. Mix it up too — you can act out Bible stories, look at Bible maps to see where the story is taking place and give the kids incentives for learning Scripture.
Try devotional books especially made for kids. When I was a child, there were not as many options for devotional books for kids. Now, we have an overabundance of books that can be chosen based on your child’s interests. My son loves devotionals about science, and my daughter likes true-life stories. Let them read the devotional each day and really discuss what they’ve read. Kids love to share what they’ve learned and give their opinions. Let them feel valuable and heard.
Though we aren’t the most musically inclined family, we all do love to sing together and dance to praise music too! We enjoy upbeat Scripture songs that help us memorize great Bible passages. You can find so much great Christian music to fit your family’s tastes and preferences. Praising God through songs really does make family worship come alive.
My kids take turns starting the day with a family prayer. There are days they’ll even fight over whose turn it is. Praying together, asking each other for prayer requests and then hearing Mom ask God "to give me extra love and patience" is good for my kids. You can also turn prayer into an activity. Prayer chains, prayer boxes, candy prayers, prayer jars and prayer journals are all great activities kids love to do.
Extend family worship to other things too: nature walks, Bible games, community outreach and faith-based movies can all be relevant and current forms of worship. Do you see how with a bit of planning you can have an exciting fun family worship? The kids will love it, and they’ll remember loving it when they are adults. Pay attention to the kids: If they are getting bored, change it up. Don’t be afraid to ask for their input — they are part of the family too.
Remember these wise words: “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Prov. 22:6).