Family Worship (Devotions)
Updated: May 6, 2021
Through the last decade, we have struggled, succeeded, failed, and restarted in this area numerous times. We've had seasons that felt inspired and seasons that felt like a drudgery. The health of our household is often reflected in what this time looks like for our family.
Family worship or devotion is the daily orienting of our hearts and minds to the truths and values that define us as a family, and an expression of our response to who God is and what he has done. We do this through elements of prayer, song, memory work, and Bible reading.
The form our time usually takes consists of:
Centering Prayer- A scripture or short collect that focuses our attention
Praise in Song- Hymns and praise that express truth & beauty and further direct our hearts
Catechism & Memory Work- Reciting and learning together God's word and key doctrines of the faith
Bible Reading & Discussion
Reflection- Reflecting on the Word, on our day. Remembering the struggles and needs of ourselves and others. Expressing joy and gratitude in thanksgiving.
There are several tools and resources we have found formative in our on-going pursuit of worship as a family that is full of truth, honor, and grace.
Although extemporaneous prayer (those not pre-written or rehearsed together) was more common for most of my childhood, I have found comfort and direction in the prayers new and old shared by believers around the world and throughout the centuries. Our family practices both. We spend time each evening reflecting and praying as we are led in the moment and echoing the prayers of others. Liturgical prayer is a shared response and participation that helps direct our hearts and minds toward Christ communally. Some of our favorite resources for this kind of prayer include:
Anglican Church in North America Book of Common Prayer- This beautiful book of prayers and services that date back centuries is rooted in the 1662 Book of Common Prayer. It has been revised with language more suited to modern usage. The layout is user friendly and well suited for families.
Every Moment Holy, Douglas McKelvey- A collection of prayers for daily life that remind us that even in the ordinary there is sacred purpose.
Valley of Vision- A classic collection of prayers from the Puritans
Bibles & Bible Story Books
While reading straight from the Bible is our primary source of encountering God's truth, Bible story books are helpful for children to grasp the overarching story and defining stories of our faith (they can be helpful to adults as well!)
ESV Family Bible, story excerpts from the ESV Bible with beautiful illustrations
The Big Picture Story Bible, David Helm- suitable for toddlers and young children
Jesus Storybook Bible, Sally Lloyd-Jones- for elementary age children
The Child's Story Bible, Catherine Vos- probably the best Bible story book for older elementary kids. The only drawback is the relatively few pictures. Excellent retellings and nice gentle ties into history and theology.
Catechisms help outline the key doctrines of our faith and provide basic teaching on things such as: salvation, the 10 commandments, the Lord's Prayer, and the Apostle's Creed. While each Christian tradition has differences on some theological points much of the content of those listed here would be shared by a wide range of denominations.
My 1st Book of Questions & Answers, Carine Mackenzie
The New City Catechism, The Gospel Coalition- 52 questions with answers for both children and adults, a phone app, and other helps, makes this highly accessible to families.
To Be A Christian: An Anglican Catechism, ACNA- One of theologian J.I. Packer's last projects, a superb and useful tool for study of the the faith both for students and adults.
For a more full description of what our family worship time looks like and how to implement these ideas see the below detail