The Puritans said the benefits of family worship are so great they are “impossible to describe.” In this series I’ll be attempting to highlight ten of its advantages.
The seventh benefit of homes gathering daily to read Scripture, sing and pray is that it strengthens the church.
Five ways family worship strengthens the church
First, she’ll receive countless prayers to God on her behalf. J.W. Alexander wrote: “It is not a small thing for any congregation to have daily cries for God’s blessing on it ascending from a hundred firesides.” Matthew Henry encouraged his flock to turn their homes into little churches. This was not to replace the church but rather to fortify it.
Second, interested congregants will fill her pews. Daily family worship has whet their appetite for the main course of public worship. They say: “I open my mouth and pant, because I long for your commandments” (Ps. 119:131). Daily home worship is the appetizer for the main course of Sunday corporate worship.
Third, the preaching will improve. If the congregation prays daily in their homes for the preaching event at public worship, will there not be a great work of the Spirit upon the proclamation of God’s Word from the pulpit? When families ask God for understanding to hear the sermon (Ps. 119:18) and help to put the sermon into practice (Jms. 1:22, 25; Mt. 7:24-27), will He not be happy to answer?
Fourth, giving will increase. “Out of sight out of mind” the saying goes. But all week Dad and Mom have placed the needs of the church before the family. Consider the donations that came flooding in for John Paton’s missions ship. These offerings often followed this pattern: (1) Family worship, then (2) prayer, then (3) giving. One note enclosed with money said: “From a working man who prays for God’s blessing on you and work like yours every day in Family Worship.”
Fifth, public worship will be more hallowed. Youth today grow up in a banal, superficial, trite and flashy world. They must see that family worship is a sacred event where their parents approach it with awe and dignity. Here, God is adored. Scripture is revered. Prayer is sacrosanct. The children mustn’t think: “Surely the fear of God is not in this place” (Gn. 20:11) but instead see their home as Bethel—the house of God. If this holy vibe permeates the home each evening, reverencing the Sunday worship service will be normal and expected.
A practical application
Don’t teach at Sunday worship. Someone asked a legendary basketball coach why he didn’t run around and shout at his players during the game. “I do my coaching in practice,” he said. Teach your children diligently during the week in family worship how to sit, pray, read, sing, and write. Don’t do all your coaching when the whistle blows Sunday morning.