…from the Jesus Storybook Bible…
In singing, we ought to have a few goals, I think. On one level, we want to try and sing songs that are related to the truths we are discussing. With my children right now, we studied a story about worshiping God over idols, so we sang My God Is So Big. On Monday night in family worship, we talked about God punishing sin and looked to Jesus. Jesus Loves Me seemed appropriate. So, we want to let God’s Word dictate our singing.
Having said that, though, there ought to be some further goals. We should help our children know deep, rich, God-honoring hymns. I think the story is told of Spurgeon. The story goes something like this: His father offered him a nickel for every Isaac Watts hymn he could memorize. This nearly broke his father, but years later, Spurgeon would confess that he learned his theology from Watts. We ought to make it our aim to expose our children to the amazing hymns that are available to us. Cyberhymnal is an amazing resource to this end.
There are also some contemporary music possibilities like Seeds Family Worship, which seeks to help children remember God’s Word in musical formats. Sovereign Grace Ministries has done 2 kids projects: To Be Like Jesus and Awesome God. Our church usually does a VBS that has music as well. These are all possibilities for training children to make a joyful noise to the Lord.
Let’s worship God in our families by reading God’s Word, praying and SINGING!
Today, I want to encourage you in prayer. Hopefully, you were here for Friday night’s sessions as Dr. Whitney gave an overview on praying through Scripture. Here’s an article entitled “Don’t Always Pray the Same Prayer.” The simple outline, you remember, for family worship is the read a portion of the Bible, pray and sing. As we seek to pray, simple grab a truth from your time in the Word with your family and use that as new language in prayer.
Some families have prayer lists. In Disciplines of a Godly Family by Kent and Barbara Hughes, they say,
“Experience has taught us that a prayer list is indispensable. Our own tendency to mental laziness in times of prayer, especially when we were tired, necessitated a list. A prayer list helps concentrate the mind and helps us recall the little things as well as the big. We found that when we did not have our lists, we would forget to pray for needs that we had presumed were impossible to forget. Likewise, prayer lists aid you in being more systematic in prayer, and they help monitor intercessory progress as requests are scratched off and added. (p.75).
A prayer list could easily become, to quote Whitney, saying the same old things about the same old things, but it could also be a means to journal, as a family, about how God is answering the prayers you are consistently bringing before him. It is merely another tool to use.
But above all, use your time together as a family to PRAY!
Yesterday, at our church’s 2010 Bible Conference, Don Whitney called us to reforming our families by instituting family worship. I thought I would drop a few posts this week with resources we use and some others Whitney mentioned.
One resource he asked me if I had, but I didn’t was Catherine Vos’ Child’s Story Bible. He recommended this for older, elementary school aged children.
Two resources I typically recommend for really young children are The Big Picture Story Bible and The Jesus Storybook Bible. Both of these help orient younger children to the big storyline of the Bible. I used the Jesus Storybook Bible in my personal devotions a while back to reacquaint myself with the big picture. The Big Picture Story Bible will have more of an emphasis on pictures with a few words on the page. My one year old is able to keep looking at the pics then. My older child (turning 4 tomorrow) likes looking at the Jesus Storybook Bible and even brings it to church.
As children get older, though, reading a chapter here or there and working through books of the Bible and asking meaningful questions about passages is where we want to go. During the teenage years especially, Proverbs helps lead them to the walk in the way of wisdom. God’s Word is where our families need to center a good portion of our time.