In the last few months we have been taking a look at a new publication of Crossway that I requested for review.
The book is Donald S. Whitney’s Family Worship (2016, 80 pp.), and after tracing the history of family worship (to inspire us to continue a long-standing tradition!), and then pointing us to the elements of family worship (“read, pray, and sing”), he treats in chapter four different situations in which we might find ourselves as families – situations that we might be tempted to see as road blocks to the regular practice of family worship or devotions.
The chapter is titled “No Family Worship Situation is Unique,” with the sub-title “But What If…?” In this chapter Whitney asks and answers five (5) questions:
- What if the father is not a Christian?
- What if there is no father at home?
- What if the children are very young?
- What if there is a wide range of ages among the children?
- What if there are no children at home?
It would be profitable to quote the author’s comments on any of these questions, but I give you his closing paragraphs, where he summarizes his main point in this chapter. I hope it is an encouragement to you to persevere in family worship, no matter what your situation may be.
In any case, realize there is no family worship situation that has not been addressed by Christians for centuries. You are not alone in the circumstances that make family worship difficult, nor are you alone in experiencing its delights. We tend to think that we have unique problems and our flesh wants to excuse us from family worship on the false grounds that our situation is an exception. I’ve known students who worked night shifts who were married to spouses who had daytime jobs. Even in that difficult situation, they managed to snatch a few moments – almost in passing at the front door – to worship together. Their discipline to worship together surely strengthened their union when so many other things seemed bent on weakening it.
We need to accept the fact that in this sinful world, challenges to family worship arise regularly in every home. The blessings of family worship are too dangerous for Satan to let pass unopposed. Nevertheless, we must stand on this bedrock truth; God deserves to be worshiped daily in our homes by our families. And for that reason, start today (pp.56-57).