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How Conduct Family Worship? (2)

In answer to the question: “What form should family worship take?” we continue to make some more concrete suggestions about conducting family worship.  We remind our readers, however, that for the most part there are no specific rules about family worship given in Scripture other than that it ought to be done.  What we offer, therefore, are suggestions only, but we offer them with the prayer that God will use them to encourage His people in this important work.

Prayer is another necessary part of all worship of God.  Ordinarily in the family the father should lead in prayer (or the mother in his absence) especially if the children are very young.  Effort should be made, however, to teach the children to pray by having them recite a simple prayer as part of family worship and by asking the young men of the family to lead the family in prayer as they grow older.

This is particularly important for the young men of the family in that as they grow older they will be asked to pray publicly and for others, a very serious calling indeed (I Tim. 2:8)!  It is in the home that they are trained for this calling.

It is helpful also that the family take a few moments before bowing together in prayer to talk about the things that must be prayed for (prayer as part of family worship should be family prayer).  It is not unprofitable that a list of various needs be kept at hand so that these various needs are prayed for regularly.  This also encourages the members of the family to think of these needs in their private devotions. 

Nor ought prayer be made only for family needs.  The family ought to pray for the church and its members, for the preaching of the gospel, for missionaries, for the leaders of the church, for teachers, friends, and relatives, as well as for the nation and its rulers.  Nor ought we forget as families that there is more to prayer than petition and intercession.  Sins must be confessed, God must be praised and thanked also in family prayer.

We believe, too, that attention ought to be given to the manner in which the family members pray.  They should be reminded that they are praying to God and that they must be careful even about such things as their posture and outward conduct in praying out of reverence for the great God to whom they pray.  Certainly they should not be allowed to slouch and lie about when the family is praying.

Psalm Singing is another important part of all worship.  Not only is it one of the chief ways in which we praise God, but it is a way in which we “teach and admonish one another” (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16).   Without getting into the reasons why we believe these verses refer to the singing of Psalms only, we believe that they give good reason for including the singing of praise in our family worship.  Concerning the actual singing of Psalms, however, we have few suggestions other than that it ought to be done.

It does no good, though to speak of “how” if families are not interested in family worship.  The need for it is paramount and nicely summed up in the words of the Directory for Family Worship (part of the Westminster Standards): “Besides the public worship in congregations, mercifully established in this land in great purity (this was written 350 years ago) it is expedient and necessary that secret worship of each person alone, and private worship of families be pressed and set up; that, with national reformation, the profession and power of godliness, both personal and domestic be advanced.”

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Additional Info

  • Volume: 6
  • Issue: 23
Hanko, Ronald

Rev. Ronald Hanko (Wife: Nancy)

Ordained: November 1979

Pastorates: Wyckoff, NJ - 1979; Trinity, Houston, TX - 1986; Missionary to N.Ireland - 1993; Lynden, WA - 2002; Emeritus October 15, 2017

Website: www.lyndenprc.org/sermons/

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  • Address
    13823 Clear Lake Rd.
  • City
    Medical Lake
  • State or Province
    WA
  • Zip Code
    99022
  • Country
    United States
  • Mobile
    360-527-6633

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