Family Worship Question

Discussion in 'Family Forum' started by E.R. CROSS, May 12, 2018.

  1. Hold sons while doing family worship.

    8 vote(s)
  2. Do family worship while they are nearby.

    0 vote(s)
  3. Put boys to bed first, until they are older.

    1 vote(s)
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  1. E.R. CROSS

    E.R. CROSS Puritan Board Freshman

    Should I include my one year old sons in family worship (greatly reducing its length and breadth), or put them to bed first?

    Practical tips for this are welcome.

    I don't know how to do it with them present, as they can't participate, yet they impede us from doing anything.

    I know it isn't necessarily 'family' worship if they are not there.
  2. Beezer

    Beezer Puritan Board Freshman

    I would definitely include them in family worship.

    One practical suggestion perhaps would be to do a shorter condensed time of family worship with your boys before you put them down and once they are asleep you and your wife resume.

    If my children were that age again I think I would try something like this:

    A. Scripture reading
    B. Sing a Psalm/Hymn
    C. Prayer
    -- Put the kids to sleep --
    A. Scripture reading
    B. Sing a Psalm/Hymn
    C. Prayer
  3. Tom Hart

    Tom Hart Puritan Board Junior

    I have my son, now 24 months old, join us in family worship.

    He hasn't often been able to sit still very long (if he can sit still at all) so we keep it short: a Psalm, Bible reading, then a fairly short prayer. My wife and I have sometimes continued our worship afterwards.

    At this point, I'm more concerned about getting my son into the routine, morning and evening, of family worship and prayer. It seems to be having an effect. Lately he's been asking that we sing Psalms together! And he has been getting better at sitting still longer.

    Another tip is to have the kid calm down for a while before worship. Read a book about animals or something. It'll be easier for him to come to family worship if he's not been running around the living room and climbing all the furniture.
  4. Tom Hart

    Tom Hart Puritan Board Junior

    Regarding your poll, I am in the middle of two options. If my son is not eager to be held while we worship, then we worship with him nearby. He might play with his cars a few feet away from us. He'll grow out of that soon and he'll want more and more to join us.
  5. TylerRay

    TylerRay Puritan Board Senior

    Practical tip: put them in their highchairs for family worship in order to free up your hands.

    Keep it simple. These days, our family worship consists of a short prayer, a chapter of Scripture, a catechism question, and a metrical Psalm selection. I give a short explanation of the chapter of Scripture. We work our way straight through the Bible, the catechism, and the Psalter.
  6. timfost

    timfost Puritan Board Junior

    As much as possible, it is the whole family. Sometimes if one of the little ones is unusually tired or wired we may do devotions after they go to bed, but that is not the norm. I do think some flexibility is in order, which is why I cannot vote above, since it may be appropriate on some days to do any one of the three items in the list.

    Considering everyone that makes up the family composition, I think it's important to do devotions as a family, as a couple and as an individual. Our family devotions are fairly brief, but I would rather have time spent regularly and adapted to short attention spans than long ones with glassy eyes. Sometimes less is more.

  7. Ryan&Amber2013

    Ryan&Amber2013 Puritan Board Junior

    So, in the morning we do our worship at the table during breakfast. Our oldest is eating so he just sits and listens.

    At night before bed, when we worship we ask him to be respectful but we don't require him yet to sit completely still. In the evenings we try to make it pretty fun so he can really start to enjoy it rather than thinking of it as mere duty.
  8. Beezer

    Beezer Puritan Board Freshman

    What do you do to try and make family worship fun for your son? Just curious.
  9. Tom Hart

    Tom Hart Puritan Board Junior

    Just today, our toddler started singing the psalms with us. (Well, I say singing, but it was more of a repetitive "ah, ah, ah" whenever he opened the psalter to a random page.)
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  10. timfost

    timfost Puritan Board Junior

    I guess it was ah-capella psalmody.

    We'll go with joyful noise anyway. ;)
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  11. E.R. CROSS

    E.R. CROSS Puritan Board Freshman

    Thank you for the replies thus far. I'm still thinking about how to practically do these things. Your examples and tips should prove helpful.
  12. timfost

    timfost Puritan Board Junior

    When you get it all figured out, please enlighten all of us! :)
  13. brendanchatt

    brendanchatt Puritan Board Freshman

    Can you include them, put them to bed, and then do more if you want?
  14. Ryan&Amber2013

    Ryan&Amber2013 Puritan Board Junior

    At night we do the ABCs Bible verse book. So we get pretty interactive with dialogue and trying to memorize. Sometimes when we sing we clap and our son might dance around a bit and flop on the bed. He just has his mattress on the floor as his bed so sometimes we pray in different postures.
  15. Jack K

    Jack K Puritan Board Professor

    Don't create a rule for yourself that Scripture doesn't demand. Each family is a bit different, and each kid is a bit different, and you should feel free to do what works for your kids and wife at this time in your lives.

    Normally, it's good to have the whole family together. But if, at this season in your lives, it seems to work better to change it up a bit, that's okay too. For example, maybe you do something separately with your wife and then have a brief prayer or song with your boys when you put them to bed. That's a good practice if it's what you, their dad, has found to work at this stage in their lives. Don't fall into the trap of thinking it doesn't count as family worship if it doesn't follow the same pattern that works for someone else's one-year-old.

    When my kids were that age, I spent a lot more time singing with them as I held them at bedtime than I did trying to conduct a Bible discussion around the dinner table. A few years later, I had stopped bedtime singing altogether but we were doing more of everything else around the table.
  16. E.R. CROSS

    E.R. CROSS Puritan Board Freshman

    Not to lessen the responses of others, for there has been some good advice that I appreciate, but you in particular Jack always have a timely word to say.

    I am thankful for your wise approach to many of the family issues that you have addressed on this board, and how you do it with grace that reaches every person involved in the issue or circumstance. I praise God for you, brother.
    Last edited: May 14, 2018
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  17. R. Andrew Compton

    R. Andrew Compton Puritan Board Freshman

    What a wonderful thread! Thanks for the question, and I'm very appreciative of the wise counsel offered thus far!
  18. SavedSinner

    SavedSinner Puritan Board Freshman

    Tim Frost's and Jack's answers are very good as always. Why don't you just read the old historic Presbyterian Directory for Family Worship? I think that is the best resource after the Bible. And Beeke wrote a pamphlet on it too. Some parents think of it as education and get creative and I think that is a big mistake. The other big resource is Samuel Miller's book on that essential element of worship, prayer; his references to public worship you can then apply to your situation in the home.
  19. Hamalas

    Hamalas whippersnapper

  20. Jack K

    Jack K Puritan Board Professor

  21. Mason

    Mason Puritan Board Freshman

    Family worship doesn't need to be long to be edifying. Our eleven month old daughter will sit on the floor and play while we read scripture and sing a psalm or two. Often I catch her looking up and trying to focus on what's being said or sung out of curiosity. She's even begun lowering her head when we pray, which is at least a good sign that she's learning by example.

    Given their young age I wouldn't necessarily expect too much participation- but they do listen and they are paying attention to what's important to their parents.
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