Tuesday, October 26, 2010

the family altar

... or How We Do Family Worship

Last January we made the decision to make Family Worship a priority. Up until that point, we didn't even realize it should be a priority. We thought going to church, and making sure we taught the subject of Bible during our homeschool day was enough. Then we read Family Driven Faith. And we knew some things had to change. Baucham dedicated an entire chapter of his book to this subject. It's that important. He calls it a multi-sensory experience, somewhat like what I have written before on Marking Our Homes for God.
This is how we have done it...almost every night now for 10 months. It will look different for your family. I just want to give an example, because I have been asked about it a few times.

Family Worship is the last thing we do before we tuck our children into bed.

We start with prayer. One of the boys will usually pray. We have taught them to ask for the Holy Spirit's guidance as we study the Bible. They will usually add a few things of their own.
Then we go over our Scripture Memory Box. The kids take turns...a lot of times, we end up saying some together...or Brian will give the first word, or two, or five.

We just recently started Catechizing the kids. It's very odd to me, but it is important to Brian, and after a few months, I can see why. This is a very good post on this subject.

Then we sing. A Hymn or two, and usually Wesley will request 'Zacchaeus Was A Wee Little Man' or Ben will request 'Jesus Loves Me' (Hymnals are on our Christmas List)

Then we read from the Bible. Right now we are working through Acts. But we are about half way through this plan (yes, we're aware the year is almost over). We will usually go around the room, as Brian, myself, and each reading child reads a chapter. For the children that don't read, we will say a single verse, and they will repeat it (with a big smile). This is somewhat painful and slow, but worth it.

Then we will discuss what we have read. The girls and Connor (and me) usually have a few questions, Wesley will usually ask if there was a Zebra in the story or if the Romans killed Jesus. Kylie sometimes answers Brian's questions with Veggie Tales lyrics. And then Brian will remind everyone that this is Family Worship, and we are to take it seriously. And we do.

Then we will pray again. Brian always prays this time. He will include any requests we are currently praying for. Our list is very long right now.

I will admit, that at first this all seemed unnatural. It was odd to sing, and pray, and read the Bible aloud as a family. But now, it feels unnatural to tuck the kids in bed at night without it. It's a very special part of our day. It shows the kids what is really important to us, and it lays the groundwork for them to do the same thing with their families when they are grown.