The collective disposition around our family dinner table that night was one of deflated defeat. For hours, the kids had struggled with finishing their daily homework. My husband was recovering from a day filled with complications at the office, and I was exhausted from teaching all day. No one spoke much as we ate.
And then our youngest child, who was 6 at the time, excused herself and ran to the living room. I wondered what she was doing but felt too tired to investigate. She ran back to the table and delivered to my husband his Bible and reading glasses. She knew it was time to read God’s Word as a family.
I looked up at my husband. His eyes gazed wearily at the Bible and then at my daughter. I knew he was thinking he’d rather skip the reading for that night. But he took the Bible and thanked her, turning to where we’d left off the day before. Despite my slightly comatose state, a warmth spread over me as my daughter climbed onto my lap for family worship time. She knew that God’s Word is part of our daily life. It’s our family identity.
We Are Worshipers
My daughter knew that God’s Word is part of our daily life. It’s our family identity.
An identity is more than just a behavior. It’s something you are. In a society of darkness that targets the hearts and minds of our children, our role as parents is to anchor them in the light of Christ. We must boldly contend for the truth by teaching our children that their identity is in Christ and his Word rather than within themselves. One way to do this is through a family worship culture.
This is a way of life in the home. It’s an identity that acknowledges God’s Word as the sole authority, making its study and discussion a central part of daily family life and cultivating an attitude of worship in family activities (Deut. 6:6–7). It involves creating a space where Christ is always in our conversation. While we know we can’t save our children, we can steep them in the Word where the Holy Spirit can awaken faith (Rom. 10:17). With this daily diligence and through God’s merciful grace, it’s our prayer that our children be wooed by the love of Christ, coming to identify themselves in union with him.
7 Tips for Creating the Culture
Pray first that the Lord would mercifully open the hearts and minds of your children—that they may see the hope to which God has called them, the riches of his glorious inheritance, and the power that’s working in them (Eph. 1:18-19).
2. Use language of identity.
Speak words to your son or daughter like “You are a covenant child. We are a covenant family.” Let your conversation show evidence that your family takes the study of God’s Word seriously. Choose words of affirmation, reminding them that God has adopted them into his kingdom and loves them beyond measure.
3. Prioritize the time.
Decide the gathering time for family worship and stick to it. Show your children that God holds first priority in your home by the nonnegotiable time you give him. Be steadfast and unwavering in this commitment.
4. Protect the space.
Make the atmosphere of the home welcoming and inviting during family worship. Choose sights, smells, sounds, and tastes that bring security and warmth. Read Scripture at the table with a delicious dinner or with cups of hot chocolate. Gather on the couch with children snuggled next to you. Smile—a lot! Show your children that time with their heavenly Father is tangible and comforting.
5. Provide a feast.
Alternate texts to pique interest. Rotate readings between Old Testament and New Testament or work your way through the narratives of Scripture. Choose a hymn or catechism to learn or practice Scripture memory. Provide an array of tasty biblical choices and show your children that God’s Word is vast and endlessly delightful.
6. Invite conversation.
Take time to have each child participate. Don’t be afraid of their questions, even if you don’t know the answers. Show your children how to find answers in concordances, commentaries, and parallel Scriptures or through godly counsel. The goal is to help your children learn to study God’s Word every day and believe that at the core of all things, God’s Word is their life.
7. Be an example of joy and obedience.
Make every effort in your own life to personally study Scripture. Be joyful as you share with them what God is teaching you in his Word, and praise them for their small attempts at personal study.
Await the Harvest
Developing a family worship culture is difficult. Roadblocks will inevitably arise. Tight schedules can prohibit togetherness. Even when you find the time, there’ll be days when the children won’t sit still or the toddler won’t stop crying. Sometimes kids will come with bad attitudes, parents will come tired, or the Scripture text will be hard to understand.
Despite these frustrations, the rewards are incredibly significant—even if you can’t see them. You’re welcoming your children into an identity with Christ. They belong to God and to your family, and you’re living out the truth that your family is a God-fearing, Bible-believing, Scripture-searching family.
Despite these frustrations, the rewards are incredibly significant—even if you can’t see them.
God promises us that his Word will not return void (Isa. 55:11). As we strive to be faithful, we depend on him, trusting that his grace will finish the good work in our children.
May we be families who intentionally create an atmosphere where our identity in Christ is lived out each day. May we be families who boldly contend for the truth by instilling it deep into the hearts of our kids in daily servings, teaching them where they belong and to whom they belong.