A and N, age 2 years, with Daddy playing guitar for family worship time.

We began having a family worship time every evening about 2 years ago.  Essentially, every evening, with the exception of Sundays, we gather together after dinner, sing worship songs, Daddy reads some scripture, we discuss the topic, we learn and recite Bible verses, we take prayer requests, and conclude with prayer.  On Sundays, after much discussion and experimenting, we decided that, since we attend church and worship that day, we use our “worship” time on Sunday evenings as a family game night.  It is just another opportunity to gather together as a family, do something fun, and break up any possible monotony for the kiddos.

When we began our family worship times, it was quite an experiment, involving lots of trial and error, to figure out how to teach our children to behave during these times.  Because S leads, the brunt of the child-training responsibility during this time falls to me.  We quickly began to see rewards, however, as our children began behaving better in public places because of the extra instruction they were receiving at home.  Mind you, family worship time is about focusing on Christ, but a side-effect of that time is an opportunity to help young children learn proper reverance and behaviors that can be expected of them at other times.  Because they receive the daily practice, the concepts of self-discipline, sitting still and quietly, and being reverent become understandable concepts to even the youngest of children, rather than the foreign concept it often seems to be. 

One big issue we noticed early on was with our choice of songs.  Because we sang adult praise and worship songs and hymns in our Bible studies and at church, we wanted the children to learn the songs, but we didn’t want the family worship sessions to be times of teaching songs.  After some thought, we realized that we played music CD’s in their room for bedtime every night.  These CD’s usually contained soft lullabies, “child-friendly” preschooler songs, or other string music.  I decided to experiment, and instead switched out their music for the songs we sang during our worship times.  The idea was a HUGE success!  The children began learning the songs and tunes immediately, and it was not uncommon to hear even the youngest children walking around the house the next day softly singing a praise song they heard on their radio the night before. 

Now, 2 years later, this idea of teaching young children adult music has been such a tremendous blessing.  I cannot begin to tell you how rewarding it is to be standing in church, and look over at my 4 or 6 year old and see them singing “Amazing Grace” with the rest of the congregation.  Tonight, during family worship, my 2 year old boys were sitting on the couch as Daddy played guitar, and they made song requests for “What A Mighty God We Serve” and “Seek Ye First.”  Oh, that can warm a mother’s heart! 

“Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.”  Proverbs 22:6