A couple of weeks ago in our parenting class we spent time discussing the topic of family worship. It was a great discussion and I wanted to share a few key points.
Family worship is an important part of family life. It is natural that people who worship God individually and corporately would also do so as a family. Of course all of life is worship when you belong to Christ. And biblical instruction takes place in many areas outside of formal times together (e.g., in the milieu of life, in your personal example and testimony, and in times of questions and answers).
When we think of spiritual leadership, we must start by recognizing that the primary responsibility for family worship falls to the father. Fathers leading spiritually is the biblical pattern in the Old Testament (cf., Genesis 18:19; 35:2-3) and the New Testament (Ephesians 5:25-27; 6:4).
This means that a father can't be passive or expect his wife or children to lead spiritually, it is the job God has given him to do. And even if you are a single parent with a child, or a married couple without children, you can still set aside time for worshiping God together.
So for those of us convinced that we should do family worship there can be a challenge in figuring out how to do it. Especially if you weren't raised in a home that family worship was a regular part of life it can feel intimidating or difficult.
My advice - keep it simple: read, pray and sing. That's it :)
Enjoy seeking God together as a family and make it a delight and not a burden. Read the Bible together. Pray together. And sing together. Of course, you can add catechism and Bible memorization and the reading of other books.
But the essentials are to read, pray and sing.
I would encourage you to make it interesting. From time to time change things up so it doesn't become rote. Prayer time ought to be dynamic based upon what is taking place in life and biblical patterns of prayer (dad alone can pray, or everyone in the family can pray, each personal can pray for the person sitting next to them... use one devotional time to simply express gratitude and praise to God, or spend the whole time lifting one need together). Whatever you do, be engaged in demonstrating the value of these things.
Oftentimes a lackluster time of family worship is indicative of a lackluster walk with the Lord. I love that Deuteronomy 6:7 is preceded by vv. 5-6. There the Lord tells us before instructing us to teach our children:
You shall love the LORD your god with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart.
Family worship flows out of our own worship of Christ and our own engagement with him through his Word. If you need specific encouragement in this area, talk to someone in the body who has done the well and can help you. If you want a resource, I'd recommend Don Whitney's small book Family Worship. A fun part of the book is where he recounts the testimonies of many giants of the faith who were profoundly shaped by their father's leadership in times of family worship.