Family Worship – Part ll

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 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.  

No excuses.

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

Family Worship – It’s In You

“I am persuaded from my own ministry experience in hundreds of churches that so little family worship regularly exists in Christian homes today, that even in most of our best churches, most of our best men do not even pray with their wives (and children if they have them) much less lead them in ten minutes or so of worship as a family.”

Donald S. Whitney, Family Worship

How does my family worship? How am I modeling worship for my family? Is teaching my family how to worship a priority to me? These are questions I have been wrestling with over the last several months.

I believe it’s my job and responsibility to be the spiritual leader in my home, and I was wrestling with the idea of spiritually leading my 20-month old daughter. What does that even look like? How do I model worship and make that a priority at her age? I’m just trying to teach her how to keep crayons out of her mouth. How the heck am I supposed to worship and pray with her?

If you’re like the average, American church-going family, then this is probably what a Sunday morning looks like for you…

  • Wake up
  • Make sure all the kids are out of bed
  • Get kids dressed
  • Eat a quick breakfast
  • Rush out the door
  • Arrive to church
  • Sign the kids into kids ministry
  • Find your seat in the sanctuary
  • Take a few, deep breaths
  • Close eyes
  • Worship
  • Listen to sermon
  • Pick up kids
  • Go home

Here’s the problem – too many men are relying too heavily on the church to provide a worship experience for their families. Worship ends on a Sunday, and for many of us, that’s the last bit of worship we do for the week. The kids’ pastor may have led our children in worship (thank God for kids’ pastors), however, we rarely set time apart to lead our own families in worship.

Let me share a story with you.

Sunday Morning Worship

Several weeks ago, I was playing in a two-day golf tournament. I played a good round on Saturday, which led to a tee time on Sunday that did not allow me to get my family to church (go ahead…judge me). Rather than do nothing, I pulled up some worship songs on YouTube, put them up on our tv and we began to worship. As my wife and I were singing quietly, I felt my daughter tugging at my leg. I bent over, picked her up and continued to worship. My eyes were closed and my arm was raised. I was in the worship zone.

What happened next was a defining moment for me as a father. As I was holding my daughter in the middle of our living room, I felt her shift in my arm. I opened my eyes to see what she was doing. I saw a sweet, red-haired, diaper wearing, 20-month old with her eyes closed and her little arm in the air. She was doing what daddy was doing (my wife was able to snap a photo of the moment).

I stopped and tried to fight my emotions. I felt like the Holy Spirit was overwhelming me in that moment. My heart melted. I was so proud of her. God reminded me — “You’re my child, Garret. I’m proud of you, too.” No matter how young my children are, it is my responsibility to model worship and lead them in the journey. No matter how old I become, our Father still loves when we worship Him.

Donald S. Whitney says it perfectly at the end of his introduction in Family Worship

“Having your family in a Christ-exalting, gospel-centered, Bible-teaching local church is crucial to Christian parenting.  But it is not enough for conveying to your family all you want to teach them about God and your beliefs.  Moreover, it is unlikely that exposure  to the church once or twice a week will impress your children enough with the greatness and glory of God that they will want to pursue him once they leave your home.”

This is why family worship is so important.  But even more importantly, “God deserves to be worshiped daily in our homes by our families.

Men – let’s model worship and prayer for our families. Let’s lead and guide them in a spiritual journey. Our children are watching. They will imitate our every move. They will follow us into the unknown. They desperately desire your leadership and strength. It’s in you. Find it. Accept it. Embrace it.

Read – Family Worship by Donald S. Whitney

Garret Barbush, Executive Director