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Family Devotions and Worship

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In addition to teaching your children throughout the day, you must set aside specific, planned times to worship the Lord and learn His Word together. Conducting family devotions requires planning and diligence if this godly practice is to develop and be maintained in your home (based on Deuteronomy 4:9; Psalm 95:6-7, 145:1-7; Matthew 28:20; John 4:23-24; Ephesians 5:15-17; Colossians 3:16; 2 Timothy 2:1-2, 3:14-15).

Matters to Consider When Planning Family Devotions

Because age may vary widely among those at your family devotional times, ask the Lord to help you determine what will edify (build up) all involved (based on Deuteronomy 6:6-7; Psalm 111:1-2, 119:20; Proverbs 1:2-9; Romans 15:1-2; Ephesians 4:29; Colossians 4:6; 2 Timothy 3:14-15; James 1:5).
Your family devotions should be times where teaching, praise, prayer, thanksgiving, fellowship, and encouragement take place (based on Psalm 30:4, 33:1-3, 34:1-3; Colossians 3:16; 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18; Hebrews 10:24-25).
The family devotional times should teach your family to be devoted to the Lord and to one another (similar to what happened among Christians in their homes in Acts 2:42-47, 4:32, 5:42).

Family Devotions Should Contain All Aspect of Christian Development and Expression

Praise & Prayer (Psalm 63:3-4; Colossians 4:2)
Time should be designated for worship of the Lord by singing (based on Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16) and speaking of His works and goodness (based on Psalm 95:6-7; Psalms 103, 104, 147).
A portion of time is to be spent together in thanksgiving and intercession to the Lord for specific matters that affect individuals or the family as a whole (based on Psalm 9:1-2; 142; Ephesians 5:19-20; Philippians 4:6-7; Colossians 4:2; 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18; James 5:13).
Spend time in prayer for others (government leaders, friends and teachers at school, neighbors, co-workers, your church leaders, fellow-believers in your church and community, believers in other countries, missionaries, etc.) (based on Luke 10:2; Ephesians 6:18; Philippians 4:6-7; 1 Timothy 2:1-4; Hebrews 13:17-18).
Biblical Instruction (2 Timothy 3:14-17)
God’s Word should be studied in particular areas that are applicable to the entire family (based on Proverbs 1:2-5; 2 Timothy 2:15).
Scripture memory can be encouraged and demonstrated, with specific emphasis given to needful areas of personal or family spiritual development (based on Psalm 119:11, 16).
When necessary and appropriate, teaching and admonishing one another should occur (based on Matthew 7:1-5; Galatians 6:1-2; Colossians 3:16).
Fellowship & Ministry (1 John 1:7; 1 Peter 4:10)
As fellow-servants of Jesus Christ (Matthew 20:25-28; John 13:12-17), take time to encourage one another (Hebrews 10:23-25), build up one another (Romans 14:19; 15:1-2; Ephesians 4:29), confess any sins committed against one another (James 5:16), and forgive one another (Mark 11:25-26; Ephesians 4:32).
Develop plans and follow them to help those in need (based on 2 Corinthians 8:1-5, 12:15; James 1:27, 2:15-17).
Determine how your family can become personally involved in proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ both at home and abroad (based on Matthew 28:18-20; Luke 10:2; Acts 1:8; 1 Peter 3:15).
Take time to plan for each individual’s ministry and service to others as well as to plan for areas of family ministry together (based on Romans 12:3-6, 14:19; Ephesians 5:15-17; Hebrews 10:24-24; 1 Peter 4:10).

When Family Devotional Times Should Take Place

Decide upon a regular times so that all family members may plan their activities and responsibilities around this time (based on Luke 14:28-30; Ephesians 5:15-17). For help in planning family devotions and worship, several suggestions follow:
Plan family devotions to take place at the end of a meal when the maximum number of family members may be present (usually, the morning or evening is best).
Plan family devotions at a time when all family members are alert and when most are free from other conflicts in schedule (for example, you may want to avoid having family devotions when young children are ready for bed and sleepy).
Plan reasonable amounts of time for family devotions and worship, but leave enough time at the end to allow for extra participation as needed or desired (for example, times spent in singing, in giving testimony, or in prayer may last much longer than devotions centered around study, especially for families with young children).
Choose days and times that are not buried or rushed so that all may be given the opportunity to be diligent without distractions.
Have family devotions and worship while walking, hiking, or riding together outdoors, using God’s creation to teach of His glory and majesty.
Family devotional times are sometimes difficult to maintain and many not occur under some circumstances (i.e., illness, emergencies, other opportunities for service, unbelieving family member prohibit it, etc.) Remember that family devotional times are not to become a legalistic requirement for spiritual growth (based on 2 Corinthians 3:6). Family devotional times are simply to provide further opportunities for each believing family member to worship God in spirit and truth (based on John 4:23-24), to build up another in love (Ephesians 4:14-16) and to serve the Lord by serving one another (based on Romans 12:9-13).

Suggested Topics & Activities For Family Devotions and Worship

Family devotions that are centered around the study of God’s Word should be applicable to all family members and to areas where the Lord is currently working in your lives (based on Psalm 145:14; Philippians 1:6, 9-11, 2:12-13; Colossians 1:9-12; 1 Peter 3:15). Some examples follow:
Study how God dealt with different individuals in Scripture who faced problems (persecution, danger, temptation, etc.) and difficult decisions (whether to obey God or gain worldly prestige, whether to be faithful or follow sensual desires, whether to trust God or rely on natural wisdom and strength, etc.) This type of study is particularly useful when your family is dealing with similar problems.
Investigate the Biblical perspective on various subjects, such as salvation through God’s grace, baptism, communion, or heaven. Examine the birth, life, crucifixion, resurrection, and imminent return of the Lord Jesus Christ. You may also study the Biblical perspective on issues of the day (i.e., abortion, divorce, homosexuality, poverty, spiritual gifts, false religions) when it is appropriate for the age level and maturity of children. These topics are of tremendous benefit to the entire family, particularly when you study them in conjunction with upcoming or current events.
Scripture memory is a vital part of you family devotional and worship times (based on Psalm 119:11, 16), especially since you can encourage one another by reciting your verses to each other (based on Proverbs 27:17; Hebrews 10:24-25). In your Scripture memory times together, you may do a number of things. For example:
Have all family members memorize the same verses by learning and reciting them together. This is an effective tool in family devotional times, particularly when verses are chosen that deal with areas in which family members need instruction and growth.
As family members develop the habit of Scripture memory, have each one choose verses to memorize. Each member of the family, during the family devotional times, recites to the rest of the family what he has learned during the week. He also should explain how the portion of Scripture is applicable to his life.
Have each family member memorize verses from various training courses or activities in which each is involved (such as children’s programs, Bible studies, evangelism courses, etc.) Each family member then recites these verses to the other during family devotional times.
Praise, prayer, and thanksgiving are to be developed diligently within your family devotions and worship (based on Ephesians 5:19-20; Colossians 3:16). Suggestions to help you establish praise, prayer, and thanksgiving as a regular part of your family devotions are as follows:
Choose one day a week for praise items and prayer requests from each family member; then, spend time praying together. You may wish to begin a family praise and prayer log book.
Have one day set aside for giving thanks for what has happened or what the Lord has done in each family member’s life. To add variety, use creative and meaningful activities associated with your thanksgiving time. For example, you may determine a theme for the evening and sing songs of thanksgiving or write a psalm of praise together. If guests are with you, they can also participate in this family devotional and worship time.
Set aside a day for singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs together. You may select different members to lead, or you may choose one day for favorite songs and hymns. You may choose to read on of the Psalms in a responsive manner, with parents reading one verse, the children reading the next, etc. Once again, this is a particularly good activity in which guests may participate.
Missions and ministry times for family devotions and worship are often neglected, but are vital patterns for believers’ lives together (based on Matthew 28:18-20; Luke 10:2; Acts 1:8). Some suggestions follow:
Set aside one day a week for a missions emphasis during your family devotions. Read letters from missionaries that your family supports financially or through prayer. If your family does not currently have missionaries to support, spend time determining for whom you will pray and, if possible, financially support as a family. Pray for your missionaries and others who are ministering outside of your local church family, both at home and in other lands. Develop a missions prayer log for the missionaries that your family or church supports.
As a family, do a project for your missionaries. Write a letter, put together a “care” package of goodies, or begin a “gift” fund for a missionary.
As a family, list ways that you can minister to others such as providing meals for sick people, doing chores for people who are ill or restricted, sending notes of encouragement to others, visiting shut-ins, etc. Each week, add to your list and begin prayerfully to do them once a week as a family.
Worship services at home and with your local church family are beneficial for building up every member of your family (based on Hebrews 10:23-25). In addition to the benefit of being personally involved with other believers in worship, your worship time can be extended and enhanced on a regular basis.
Soon after participating in worship services as part of the local body of believers, set aside time for every member of your family to explain what they learned. Also, allow time for each to tell how he plans to respond to the Lord and others as a result of this time of worship.
Have different family members plan and conduct parts of at-home worship services. You can consider developing your own order of service. This should include Scripture reading, singing, giving toward a specific need, praying together, and even hearing a mini-sermon by a family member. Children particularly enjoy leading portions of services or serving as ushers. Home worship services are also ideal for other families to join with you, since every age group is welcomed and encouraged to participate.

Suggested Plans & Structures For Family Devotions and Worship

Suggestion One - Regular plan for each week:
Day 1 - Missions Emphasis Day
Day 2 - Scripture Memory Recital
Day 3 - Praise, Prayer, and Singing
Day 4 - Study in God’s Word
Day 5 - Giving Thanks and Testimonies
Day 6 - Ministry “Planning & Doing” Time
Day 7 - Worship Day
Suggestion Two - Set aside extended times to examine special needs or problems from a Biblical perspective. For example:
During the first week, investigate and study God’s Word together on your chosen topic.
During the second week, develop a plan to practice what your family has learned together and being faithfully to implement it.
During the third week, each person reports on his progress in following the plan. Each family member memorizes meaningful and applicable verses, recites them during family devotions, and tells how these verse are to be applied personally.
During the fourth week, return to your regular family devotions and worship schedule. On praise/prayer days emphasize what each family member has learned. Recite learned verses on Bible memory day.
Suggestion Three - Study God’s Word for a period of time (one or more weeks) as it relates to current issues and events. Record what you learned as a family.
Suggestion Four - Do a Biblical character study for a week, emphasizing a particular problem or example of godliness from this person’s life. The next week, rehears and act out a specific event in this Biblical character’s life, encouraging each person in your family to contribute and participate.
Suggestion Five - Develop your own family plan.


Family devotional and worship times can be a wonderful time of learning God’s truths and Biblical practice for all family members (based on Deuteronomy 6:6-7; Psalm 111:1-2; Hebrews 10:23-25).
Ministry and discipleship are not to be separated from times of family devotions and worship (based on Jesus’ work in the lives of His disciples).
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