(10) Family Worship Creates Good Habits

The Puritans said the benefits of family worship are so great they are “impossible to describe.” Nonetheless, in this series I’ll be attempting to highlight ten of its advantages.

The tenth benefit of homes gathering daily to read Scripture, sing and pray is that it builds good habits.


Last week we learned the father should always lead in family worship, even if he’s not regularly the primary teacher. This will create family customs worth keeping.

Though the truths from Fiddler on the Roof came from “tradition”, they ultimately come from the Bible. It’s OK if a child says: “This is just they way we do things.” Later he’ll connect it to the Scriptures.

Who, day and night, must scramble for a living,
Feed a wife and children, say his daily prayers?
And who has the right, as master of the house,
To have the final word at home?
The Papa, the Papa! Tradition.
The Papa, the Papa! Tradition.

Perhaps the greatest benefit of consistent family devotions is that it makes the worship of God normal. It’s not unusual or forced. Parents must raise their children to feel a kind of uneasy grief (but not surprise) when they visit a Christian home where family worship is not present.

Four habits of character from family worship

The habit of family worship builds other habits. First, it constructs the habit of self-examination in the family head. When the father (or mother) knows he’ll be leading family worship that morning and evening, he takes special attention to his spiritual walk. He’s quick to “examine himself” (2Cor. 13:5) and careful not to fall to pride (1Cor. 10:12). JW Alexander says, “Where the head of the family is lukewarm or worldly, he will send the chill through the whole house.” He’s also quick to confess, lest the family altar becomes a sham.

Second, it builds the habit of personal worship with God. Leaders in family worship soon discover what preachers have long ago learned: you can’t give what you do not have.

Third, it builds the habit of a joyful attitude. These kinds of homes are just plain happier. Again, Alexander says:

“Observation shows that families which have no household worship, are at a low ebb in spiritual things; that families where it is performed in a cold, sluggish, negligent or hurried way, are little affected by it, and little affected by means of grace; and that families where God is worshipped, every morning and evening, by all the [members] of the house in a solemn and affectionate service, are blessed with increase of piety and happiness. Every individual is blessed. Each one receives a portion of the heavenly food.”

Fourth, it builds the habit of personal responsibility. Each family member must be on time every AM and PM. He must have his Bible. He must learn to sit still. He must concentrate on the reading and be prepared to answer questions about it. He must learn to sing on pitch, in tune, and with zeal to the Lord Jesus. He must focus during the prayer and acquire the skill of praying himself. He must encourage those who do well and be teachable when rebuked by his parent.

All of these activities may seem somewhat minor. In truth, they are like the “filings of gold and the dust of diamonds,” as JW Alexander said, that must be saved and treasured for a life of character pleasing to God.

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