I recently received an email from a young man that thanked Men of Iron for our recent blog post Family Worship – It’s In You.
He stated, “It encouraged me, as God has been pressing that on my heart, even before you wrote it. I know for me, l responded to the initial conviction about being the priest of my home, but then I stopped and said, “Now what?” HOW do I lead? Do we do full-blown Bible study? What are realistic expectations with little kids? How long? When?”
I will admit there is no cookie-cutter answer for all men, however, I felt convicted to to address this issue. I will throw out suggestions from my own experience in this blog, as well as share ideas from other men I know in another blog. One of my prayers is that you would find what works for you and the season your family is in. My other prayer is that you would share your own practices and experiences by sending a description of what you do and a photo of your family to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will share these on Men of Iron’s Facebook page.
Family Worship – Tip #1 – Lead Your Family to Church
One of the most important things you can do when leading your family in worship is to consistently get them to church. This provides an opportunity for you, your wife and children to be poured into. As a husband, father and ministry leader, I find myself constantly pouring into others. In order to pour into others effectively I need to make sure I am being poured into, as well. Finding a good, Bible believing church is crucial to the spiritual development of your family. It builds a solid foundation for you to lead your family in worship in your home. It creates an opportunity for each member of your family to find spiritual mentors. It creates an atmosphere where the Holy Spirit can use other people to speak into you, your wife and your children.
There’s more to just finding a church. We have to actually make attending and serving the church as a family a top priority.
There are a lot of distractions in our culture. As the leaders of our homes, we need to assure sports, clubs and activities don’t take a precedence over leading our families to church. While these things are all good for the development of our children, nothing is more important than making sure they are establishing healthy relationships while developing spiritually in kids ministry, youth groups, etc.
Family Worship – Tip #2 – Lead Your Family in Prayer
Start the Day With Prayer
One of the greatest memories I have from growing up is my mom praying over me and my siblings before we left for school. My dad was typically out of the house and on his way to work by 5:30 am so mom took on the leadership of praying over her children before we started our day. The prayer was simple. It involved gratitude, thanking God for His provision, grace & favor. She would pray for protection over each of us. She would pray for each of us to make a difference in our schools. This had a profound impact on me. I remember it vividly.
It’s now something I do before I leave for work each morning. I grab my wife and 2 year-old daughter, wrap my arms around them and pray over them. The attention span of my daughter is fairly non-existent so my prayers are simple & short. I desire to instill an attitude of gratitude in my family, which is why I spend time thanking God for his provision and favor. I also pray protection over my wife and daughter while I’m gone, and I will spend time praying for the health and development of our baby that is due in a few months. These prayers have been so consistent and regular that my daughter now yells, “AMEN!” at the end.
End the Day With Prayer
I also take time to pray with my daughter before I put her to bed each night. She’s usually winding down at this point and willing to lay in my arms. This is when I pray more specifically and intentionally. I pray out loud so she can hear. I take time to thank God for everything he blesses us with — a home, cars, meals, etc. I pray for her future spouse, that he would be a young man who loves God with passion, treats Kendall like a princess and inspires me to be a better man of God. I pray for our family — grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, etc. I pray that Kendall would be sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s leading as she grows older. I also pray for God to instill a supernatural wisdom upon her. Finally, I end by asking Kendall if she wants to say anything to Jesus. She typically whispers a few things and then yells, “AMEN!” She’s become accustomed to it and looks forward to saying her own prayers.
Pray Randomly, Fervently, & Intentionally
I remember waking up several times as a kid in the middle of the night to my mom kneeling at my bedside. I specifically remember one particular moment when I was in high school. I never understood why she would pray by my bedside in the middle of the night. Now that I am a father, I get it!
There have been moments when I wake up in the middle of the night to feel the Holy Spirit leading me to pray over Eden or Kendall. The easy thing is to ignore this leading and go back to bed, however, I am learning to pray at random moments and to pray fervently and intentionally. This was modeled to me, and I believe it was instilled in me.
Don’t be afraid to do things that may seem awkward. Your children may not understand at a young age but when we model things consistently and regularly, it becomes something they learn to expect as they grow older. Additionally, we instill future habits into our children when we model things consistently and regularly. We’re not just impacting our children but our future grandchildren and generations to come. Family worship…it’s in you…you can do it.
In Part III of this blog, I will discuss leading your family in praise, reading, and scripture memorization.
Garret Barbush, Executive Director