S-P-R-E-A-D: A Family Worship Guide

“Our home doesn’t practice family devotions because we don’t have enough time.”

Well, God’s mighty hand has now given the whole world plenty of time. Corona will either expose this excuse as a lie or push Christian families into the godly habit of morning and evening Family Worship.

Start with one gathering a day. Assemble at a time when concentration is high. Aim for 15 minutes and see where it goes. Be sure all the readers in the family have access to a Bible. Get everyone involved. 

Use variety. Pray on your knees one day and while seated the next. Some families read the Old Testament in the AM and the New Testament in the PM. Sing Isaac Watts and Charles Wesley. Then sing Keith Getty and Chris Anderson. Keep it short, then take an hour. 

In an effort to spread the gospel in our home and society, our family keeps on track by following this simple mnemonic device: S-P-R-E-A-D

  1. Sing. Start by lifting your voices in praise to God. Use a piano if you have access or sing a cappella. Download some song sheets or hand out hymnbooks. Awaken those drowsy little heads with robust worship. Fathers, if you sing loudly, the family will follow.
  2. Pray. Ask God to open your eyes to spiritual truth in his Word. Pray Psalm 119:18. “Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of our law.” Other good prayers of illumination include Luke 24:25, Ephesians 1:17-18 and 1John 2:27.
  3. Read. Read through a portion of Scripture. Do a chapter if the family is able, or just a paragraph or two. Our family goes in a circle, with each person six-years-old and up reading two verses a piece. We also follow a reading program so that everyone knows where we’ll be each day.
  4. Explain. Take time to clarify what the words and verses mean. You can stop after each verse or wait until the end. Don’t prepare a sermon in advance. Just highlight those items that strike you. “Notice how Paul address the wives in v.22 first.”
  5. Apply. Lower the cookie jar. Isaiah was written thousands of years ago. What difference does it make today? “Nathan, the drunkards in Isaiah 28:9-10 were mocking God’s man. They weren’t teachable. Today, when you are corrected by your parents, receive it with grace.”
  6. Discuss. Get everyone involved. Use the Socratic method. Why did Samson keep toying with Delilah? Why did Jesus pray in such a common place? Who is the stone in v. 16? Why do you think Naomi was a good granny?

Then close in a prayer of praise and supplication. If you spend just two and a half minutes per item, you’ll already be past 15 minutes. If you do this consistently and aim for warm, lively worship, the family will clamor for more.

7 thoughts on “S-P-R-E-A-D: A Family Worship Guide

  1. Thanks for the encouragement in this Paul! Family worship is indeed a wonderful thing. Unfortunately I ha e definitely been one to easily make excuses. But I have definitely found that even a few minutes is better than no time at all. And you’re right, just get started and you never know how far it will go.

    We’ve been working through the New City Catechism, reading through the OT (narratives) one chapter each day, and memorizing one bible verse each month. We have found that reading during dinner is a good time for our family as we all sit around the table together.

    Thanks again for the reminder of how important and beautiful family worship can be!

  2. Thank you so much for this – very valuable and necessary. Just one question please – should the mother and girls cover their heads also like they (are suppose to) do in the congregational services?

    • Wolf, I take head coverings in 1 Cor 11 to be a cultural thing related to a woman’s submission to her husband. If submission to the husband is what it communicates in your culture, do it. If not, don’t.

  3. I like your blog and comments. Our nation would not be in this fix if Christian’s would do this. May I ask the name of the painting and the artist?

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