On February 1, 2011 I attended my first Desiring God Pastor’s Conference. The theme of that conference was prayer, yet the first session was on leading family worship. The message was by Joel Beeke and it stuck in my soul like an annoying strand of meet that you can’t get out from between your teeth. Beeke helped lay out a case for a man to lead his family in daily family devotions.
“One generation shall commend your works to another and shall declare your mighty acts.” Psalm 145:4
The time invested in family worship since then has been sweet. There have been failures and setbacks. There have been times when I have given in to laziness and not lead well. There have been times when the kids have been small toddler hurricanes; not wanting to sit still for two seconds. Yet we keep at it and it has been worth it. I will never regret the time spent in prayer and reading the Word with my wife and two little children.
Here are some of the resources we have used that may be helpful for your family.
The Big Picture Story Bible by David Helm: My two children love these stories which have sprawling pictures. The pictures are big enough and stories short enough that it captures their attention for a long time. I read the entire book to Jack within the first three days we got it from Amazon. It also comes with a CD so that they can listen to it being read while turning through the pages.
The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones: This book is amazing and I have been edified by it as I have read it during family devotions. Each Bible story is beautifully and powerfully linked to the gospel and a coming Rescuer. The stories are not turned into moral teaching points for children to do good things. Rather, the stories give the children an encounter with God and how amazing his rescue plan was to save us from sin through the coming of Jesus Christ.
The Family Worship Book by Terry L. Johnson: This book provides a blueprint and built-in resources on how to lead family worship. It is an extremely practical resource choked full of hymns, Psalms, and catechisms for use. We use this mainly to teach our children the catechism which is a systematic and helpful way to build solid theology into their developing minds.
Operation World: I want my children to grow up with a grasp of the global cause of missions and the need for the gospel to penetrate unreached and unengaged people groups. One of the ways we do this is through Operation World’s website. Each day they have a country to pray for and through the course of an entire year one can get through every country on earth! They also include points of prayer for the specific countries. You will learn much about what God is doing on a global scale.
Prayercast.com: Your children will love these videos. They are 3-5 minute videos that profile different countries to pray for. These videos will put flesh on bone as you see the various cultures and their need for the gospel.
My pastor once told me that the greatest influence and impact that I will have in the course of my life will be on my family. That has stuck big time with me. Family devotions is the means by which I want to teach the next generation to extol God and taste and see that he is good. I want to declare to them God’s might acts each day so that they will encounter God and build a pattern for going hard after him on their own.