I’m just curious what you all use for family worship. So far, we all just talk around the table about what we’ve been studying in the bible and sing a song or two, but do you all do something more structured?
We just sing some hymns, read some scripture (with some sort explanation or application) and then pray together. Sometimes someone will share a scripture from memory. Or my six year old daughter will share an impromptu song - those are always great.
EDIT: We’ve only been doing it for a few months. And I’ve been thinking about adding catechism, but haven’t yet.
At any rate, it’s easy and beneficial. And I wish we’d started sooner.
We read Scripture together before bedtime. Usually myself reading, and pausing to “give the sense” and discuss where it seems relevant. No strict schedule as to how far we read each night. The goal of acquainting my wife and children with all of Scripture, and how it all folds together, and culminates in the Lord Jesus.
We’ve spent the last few years really just going through the Old Testament narrative. This was basically a straight read from Genesis onward. Once we got to Kings and Chronicles, we jumped around a bit, often reading the accounts from both books pertaining to a particular king, discussing differences. Also would pause from the narrative and read one of the prophets who were contemporary to whichever king we were just reading about.
After reading a book or two from the Old Testament, we would then go read through one of the gospels, or the book of Acts, and a couple of the epistles. Always weaving them all together to see how all of Scripture integrates to form a whole.
We’re in Esther right now. After this, I am considering starting over again with Genesis, as it occurs to me that some of my children were toddlers the last time we read Genesis, and they have aged significantly.
We use either/both Order for Morning/Evening Prayer from the 1928 American Book of Common Prayer. The OT, Epistle, Gospel, Psalms and Canticles are from the Revised Common Lectionary (a three-year lectionary).
This Order of Service is NOT the literal, nor hereditary legacy of the English Church. Cranmer consulted a wide variety of historical liturgical sources ranging back to the Fourth Century in both Eastern and Western Churches. This form of worship and the contents of its liturgy are the common heritage of Western English-speaking Protestant Christians. It can/should be used by any variety of American evangelical Protestant.
Here is the format I generally use to lead my family.
- Open with prayer; confess sin; ask for illumination.
- Read next section of WCF. Read/explain Scripture proofs with discretion.
- Work on memorizing the Shorter Catechism.
- Read next section/chapter of Bible book.
- Consult Family Worship Bible Guide & discuss.
- Sing a psalm from the Scottish Psalter.
- Close with prayer; ask God to impress truth learned; pray for our and others’ needs.
My goal with 2 is to give us a broad exposure to systematic doctrine, not to go in-depth. 3 is chiefly for memory, although it has other benefits. With 4 we have gone back and forth between just reading individual chapters, i.e. Genesis 1, or reading smaller sections/verses of chapters, i.e. working through each pericope of the sermon on the mount. Both approaches have their uses. The FWBG is supplemental. Discussions vary. Other times it is late and I’m so tired we don’t discuss much. For 6, we try to focus on learning the lyrics, assisted by melody as we sing, one psalm per month. We have learned at least a half dozen since this time last year. I use Westminster Covenanter and Jason Coghill on YouTube to learn songs/tunes.
On the Lord’s Day we review all the questions we have each learned of the Shorter Catechism, instead of just focusing on one or two. We also work through a different Bible book each Lord’s Day than we do in the week. Time varies. Sometimes we are done in 15 minutes. Other times we are at it for over an hour with a longer discussion, or if I am taking time to explain something not well understood. We have worked through a number of books: Titus, 1 John, Genesis, Exodus, Matthew, Galatians, 1 Thessalonians, Romans, Proverbs.
Three short, profitable resources which have all been of good use to me.