4 Ways to Do (Bible-Centered) Family Worship

4 Ways to Do (Bible-Centered) Family Worship by JORDAN STONE for The Gospel Coalition

Psalm 127:4 likens children to arrows. Arrows begin as unformed wood, knotty and rugged. They need reforming and refining if they are to fly straight and hit their target. Children—spiritual arrows—need the sanctifying truth of God’s Word so their souls can soar toward the goal of the Christian life: conformity to Christ (Rom. 8:29).

How can parents mold their children after God’s character? Regular feeding on Christ in Lord’s Day worship is the proper starting point. Constant prayer is required. Instructing children along the way, through life’s typical joys and sorrows, is also most necessary.

But let’s not forget that other long-established exercise of godly parenting: family worship.

As a father of six young children, I’m always looking for family-worship tools and tips. Children’s Bibles are useful, catechisms are invaluable, and hymns are wonderful teachers. Yet nothing is better than the milk and meat of Scripture.

One friend for Scripture-focused family worship is Robert Murray M’Cheyne’s Daily Bread, which The Gospel Coalition is using as part of the 2020 Read the Bible initiative.

M’Cheyne’s Zeal for Family Worship

In the pantheon of Bible-reading plans, Robert Murray M’Cheyne’s scheme is an oddity: half of each day’s reading belongs to family worship. The priority is perhaps more notable when you discover M’Cheyne never married. What, then, did family worship look like for him?

While ministering at St. Peter’s Dundee, M’Cheyne’s older sister, Elizabeth, lived with him. Liza took care of his domestic affairs with such care that Robert called her “my own deaconess and helpmeet.” A few beloved servants were also constant companions. After rising at 6:30 a.m. and spending two hours in prayer and meditation, M’Cheyne sat for breakfast and led family worship. He read a passage, discussed its key points, and then guided a time of prayer. He aimed to lead similar devotions every evening as well.

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