How would you answer the question, “How do we pass on the worship of God to our children?”? One can falsely assume that worship of God can be communicated and passed along once you begin to have regular family evenings. This is not so. You may pass along to your children a religious practice or a good habit, but this is a “shell,” not the essence.
Worship of God is subtle and evasive. It cannot be “copied” and then “pasted” into other people’s hearts. It comes only personally, as a person’s response to the revelation of God Himself. And that is why we can confidently say that regular family meetings serve only as a plate that holds the food, i.e., revelation of God taken from the Bible. When children hear their parents share stories about God, they will be impressed by Him, and it will be expressed in their worship.
Family gatherings can be accompanied by various forms of worship. Worshiping God at the table? Worshiping God in a fast-food restaurant? Worshiping God in the forest? You can come up with a lot of ideas! Which forms of worship are pleasing to God today?
In family worship evenings, some things are going to change, but there are certain things that need to remain unchanged. In our family we have identified several elements that should never be missed. This list can be called “the permanent values of family worship.”
Praising God. We will praise God every time regardless of who leads the evening or what form the evening takes.
A portion of God’s Word. Whether we go to McDonald’s, or to the forest, or anywhere else, it is important for me as a father and a priest in my family to take care of accompanying this time with a truth from the Bible.
Prayer for each other. As it was described in the previous chapter, we try to close our evenings with prayer, regardless of the evening’s agenda.
I hope that you have accepted this challenge: parents need special wisdom every time to be able to intertwine their fun time with a portion of the Scriptures and prayer. Remember this: “You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise” (Deut. 6:7). Praise, the Word of God, and prayer will make family worship evenings deeper and more meaningful.
It should be mentioned that parents need wisdom and creativity to make the family time of worshiping God vibrant and unique. It is uniqueness that makes this time desirable and anticipated. Use different forms of prayers and different ways of communicating the truth. For example, in our Bible study, we use the following creative approaches:
- Read the passage by characters or perform a skit.
- Draw Bible stories on paper. Recently we asked our children to draw how they imagine the world of Adam and Eve would be today had they not fallen. The children created wonderful drawings!
- Watch a video clip on the subject of the passage. YouTube.com can be helpful to find these. During one of the evenings, we watched a clip about the Ark of the Covenant (from a film about David. Prior to that, our younger son, whenever he heard of an ark, always asked, “Dad, is this the same ark where Noah had all those animals, or is it a different one?” After he saw the Ark of the Covenant with its poles, everything fell into place, and it helped us read the story from 2 Samuel 6 without any stress.
- Make a suitable origami or other craft to illustrate the point.
Summing up, we should note that in the practice of family worship evenings, it’s a good idea to adhere to the model that we call “permanent impermanence.” Make every family worship evening creative and special while keeping its main essence – worship of God.
Adapted from Kitchen Table Devotions: Worshiping God from A-Z as a Family by Sergey Sologub (© 2021). Published by Moody Publishers. Used by permission.