No aspect of the faith is so unequivocally needed and yet so universally neglected as family worship. Most good church going, bible believing men and women never take prayer together and never review the scriptures with their kids. Thankfully, Donald Whitney is attempting to change that dynamic. He just released his latest book, Family Worship, to show Christians why family worship is important and how easily it can be done.
Looking at Abraham, Joshua, and many other biblical giants, Don Whitney quickly and concisely shows his readers that the gospel was first and foremost passed down from generation to generation through family worship. Even with the creation of the New Testament church, the primary role of the family remained as seen in I Peter 3:7. And the practice should continue on. Taking a rapid-fire approach, Dr. Whitney covers over a thousand years of church history in a span of 15 little pages to reveal that Christians of every age have valued family worship. As Jonathan Edward says, “The Christian family ought to be as it were a little church.”
After blowing his readers away with the scriptural and historical need for family worship, Whitney gets practical. Realizing that most of us have never experienced family worship, the seminary professor and father discusses how to do it and do it well. He says that a good family worship session needs to last only around 10 minutes (maybe less if smaller children are involved.) and cover three things: read, pray, and sing. Read the Bible, pray together as a family, and then sing. Outside of choosing a song, little other preparation is needed except a commitment to have a family worship time.
Lastly, Whitney shifts to answer some common questions that surround family worship. The two biggest questions he tackles were, How do women help with family worship; and how do men start leading? He encourages women to practice family worship in the absence of men. And then he calls men to overcome their past failures by repenting and beginning to lead today.
He also provides a helpful distinction between the church and the family. The family supports the church but is not the church because baptism, the Lord’s Super, and preaching extend past the family.
Family Worship is a great read for parents, grandparents, and married couples. As Whitney writes, “Family worship is for couples, not just parents.” If you are one of the many Christians who sees the need for family worship but doesn’t know much about the subject or where to begin, grab a copy of this book. It’s direct, easy to read, and rather short. As a friend of mines once said of a similar small sized book, “if we can’t read this book, we are really in trouble.” If you can read, you can find the time to read this book. I encourage you to set aside the eight dollars and an hour or so of your time to learn about family worship. And now I’ll let Whitney have the last word:
We need to accept the fact that in this sinful world, challenges to family worship arise regularly in every home. The blessings of family worship are too dangerous for Satan to let pass unopposed. Nevertheless, we must stand on the bedrock truth: God deserves to be worshiped daily in our homes by our families. And for that reason, start today.”