Family Worship in 2009
Russell Moore is President of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. He formerly served as Dean of the School of Theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and executive director of the Carl F. H. Henry Institute for Evangelical Engagement. Dr. Moore is the author of The Kingdom of Christ: The New Evangelical Perspective (Crossway, 2004) and Adopted for Life: The Priority of Adoption for Christian Families and Churches (Crossway, May 2009).
- 2009 Jan 07
On our recent Chrismas drive from Kentucky to Texas, our family visited an elderly relative in a nursing home in Dallas, my wife’s 100 year old great aunt. The highlight of the visit, I think, consisted of our 5 year old and our 2 year old quoting Scripture to dear Aunt Esther. The boys quoted Luke 2:7-14, Psalm 121, and Psalm 23. The little guy quoted John 3:16, and then as a family we sang “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” and “How Firm a Foundation.” We prayed for her, and we were back on the road.
There’s nothing special about us as parents, and our kids are not geniuses (well, we’ll see–their mother is really sharp). They were able to quote those passages and sing those songs for the simple reason that kids are sponges, and that’s what we regularly do in family worship. It’s amazing how sticky their memories are. I don’t think we could have done anything else that would have blessed Aunt Esther more than show up with our kids and have them speak the word of God.
Family worship doesn’t have to be complicated, and it doesn’t take someone with a seminary degree to pull it off. In the morning at the breakfast table we work on a memory verse together. In the evenings right before we put the boys in bed we read a passage or two from the Bible, say the Apostles’ Creed, sometimes sing a hymn, then we pray and put them in bed. That’s it. That’s family worship. The boys have Psalm 23 memorized because it was the passage we read every night for several weeks. The boys had it memorized after about a week. We kept reading it for a couple more weeks until my wife and I had it! We didn’t set out to memorize it. We just read it every night until they were saying it along with us, and before long we could all say it without looking at the Bible. The same thing happened with Psalm 121 and Luke 2:7-14. Now we’re reading Psalm 67. The boys have it, but I keep messing up the order of the phrases, so we’re still reading it.
I pray that our family worship will not only pay dividends in the nursing home with an aged relative or friend from church. I pray that the seeds sown in the lives of our sons will bear fruit. That they will be oaks of righteousness, planted by the stream of living water, bearing fruit in season, filled with the fruit of righteousness to the glory and praise of God.
If you have a family, I commend this to you. If you want to read more on it, Denny Burk has a post on Don Whitney’s helpful book. May the Lord bless the reading and the hearing of his word, and may he save our little ones and do mighty things in their lives.