Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Book Review: Family Worship

Family Worship. Donald S. Whitney. 2016. Crossway. 64 pages. [Source: Review copy]

I have two quick questions for you. Did you grow up in a Christian family? And did your family have family worship? If the answer was 'yes' and 'no,' you're not alone. Whitney points out in his new book on family worship that most Christian families are not coming together daily--as a family--to praise and worship God. Several hundred years ago, family worship was the norm, it was something that was encouraged, preached about, taught about, written about. But now? Not so much. Whitney's book is all about restoring the tradition of family worship. Why? Well, one BIG reason is that God is worthy of our praise, our worship. And he's worthy seven days a week, and not just on Sunday. But also because it's spiritually healthy for families to come together and to learn and grow and worship together. (He actually lists about eight good reasons why you should come together as a family and worship.)

So what does family worship involve? It involves three things: praying, reading the Bible, and singing. Whitney is not on a crusade to get families to spend three hours a day in worship together. He's full aware that parents and children live busy, busy lives. But he is encouraging families to spend ten minutes together whether it is in the morning, during the day, after dinner, or before bedtime. He is encouraging men to take an active role in leading their families--even if they don't have children. Husbands should be leading wives in family worship, he argues. At one point, he tells women not to even consider marrying a guy unless he's willing to pray and read the Bible together. That's how important Whitney feels this responsibility to be.

At the same time, he's not making it impossible to accomplish. The book is NOT a guilt trip. He stresses the simplicity of it. You don't have to prepare a lesson--either formal or informal. You don't have to do study and research before you begin. You don't have to have all the answers to the questions your family might ask. You just have to be present in the situation with a Bible in hand. Open up the Bible, read a chapter or two to your family aloud, talk about what you've read, share prayer requests and pray, and sing one or possibly two songs together--with or without accompaniment. The hardest part may just be establishing the routine in the first place--creating a new habit and making it a priority. But family worship itself--it isn't that hard.

In the book Whitney talks about:

  • the current lack of family worship 
  • the biblical concept of family-led worship, tracing the practice through the Old and New Testaments
  • the traditional concept of family-led worship, as practiced through the centuries by the Christian church
  • what family worship is, what it involves (praying, reading, singing)
  • practical tips on how to do family worship; examples and also answering "what if" questions
  • the importance of keeping it brief
  • how it's important, but how it in no way replaces the gospel. We are not made right with God because we meet with him daily in family worship! 

Favorite quote:
God deserves to be worshiped daily in our homes by our families. This is how you do it. God made it doable. It's simple: just read, pray, and sing. You can do that!
© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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