Brethren, I wish it were more common, I wish it were universal, with all [Christians] to have family prayer. We sometimes hear of children of Christian parents who do not grow up in the fear of God, and we are asked how it is that they turn out so badly. In many, very many cases, I fear there is such a neglect of family worship that it's not probable that the children are at all impressed by any piety supposed to be possessed by their parents.[4]  

I am persuaded that so little family worship regularly exists in Christian homes, that even in most of our best churches, most of our best men do not lead their wives—and children if they have them—in family worship. Another recent survey by George Barna supports that claim. According to his research, 

Eighty-five percent of parents with children under age 13 believe they have primary responsibility for teaching their children about religious beliefs and spiritual matters. However, a majority of parents don't spend any time during a typical week discussing religious matters or studying religious materials with their children. . . . Parents generally rely upon their church to do all of the religious training their children will receive.[5] 

Having your family in a good, Bible-teaching local church is crucial to Christian parenting. But this is not enough for conveying to your children all you want to teach them about God and your beliefs. Moreover, it is unlikely that exposure to the church once or twice a week will impress your children enough with the greatness and glory of God that they will want to pursue Him once they leave home. 

This is why family worship is so important. But even more importantly, God deserves to be worshiped daily in our homes by our families.

Since 2005, Don Whitney has been Associate Professor of Biblical Spirituality at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, where he also serves as Senior Associate Dean. Before that, he held a similar position (the first such position in the six Southern Baptist seminaries) at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Missouri, for ten years. He is the founder and president of The Center for Biblical Spirituality.

Prior to his ministry as a seminary professor, Don was pastor of Glenfield Baptist Church in Glen Ellyn, Illinois (a suburb of Chicago), for almost fifteen years. Altogether, he has served local churches in pastoral ministry for twenty-four years.

He is the author of Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life (NavPress, 1991), which has a companion discussion guide. He has also written How Can I Be Sure I'm A Christian (NavPress, 1994), Spiritual Disciplines Within the Church (Moody Press, 1996), Ten Questions to Diagnose Your Spiritual Health (NavPress, 2001), Simplify Your Spiritual Life (NavPress, 2003), and Family Worship (Center for Biblical Spirituality, 2006). His hobby is restoring and using old fountain pens.

Don lives with his wife Caffy in their home near Louisville. She regularly teaches a class for seminary wives, works from their home as an artist, muralist, and illustrator and enjoys gardening and beekeeping. The Whitneys are parents of a daughter, Laurelen Christiana.



[1]
Joel Beeke, Family Worship (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Reformation Heritage Books, 2002), 3.