Family worship doesn’t have to be complex. This time can be as simple as reading a short Bible passage, singing, and praying together. Family worship doesn’t have to be long. For some families, five or 10 minutes will be an accomplishment of coordination. Family worship doesn’t have to be at a particular time. Some families find early morning (maybe around the breakfast table) to work best, while others use a worship time as part of their bedtime routine. Some families reserve a portion of Saturday nights for family worship and as preparation for gathering with their local church on the Lord’s day, while some strive for a practice each day.
In the end, you will know (or have to figure out through trial and do-over) what will work best for your family. This page is intended to point you to ideas and resources to aid you in constructing a regular time of family devotion. Some of the materials are designed to guide you from start to finish through a time of Bible reading and prayer, while others will provide ideas as you try and craft your own special time.
Family Devotional Guides
- Sojurn Kids Family Worship Guide. This guide, produced by the children’s ministry of Sojurn Church in Louisville, KY, contains suggestions on what to incorporate into your family worship along with recommended resources. The resources are divided by ages (newborn through age 10). [Free]
- Table Talk for Families. The books provide approximately 65 short devotionals that guide a family in their reading, discussing, and praying about a short passage of Scripture. The devotions can be adapted for families with children ages 4 to 12. The guides also include a “How to Use Table Talk” section with a variety of suggestions for using the devotionals as a launch pad for other family activities or outings. The passages and devotionals are coordinated with the readings in XTB (see discussion on “Personal Bible Reading”) for parents who would like to link family time with their elementary child’s personal reading. [$, samples are available to look through at RBC]
- Long Story Short (Old Testament). This book provides 78 sets of devotionals that walk families through the Old Testament and point to Jesus all along the way. Each set of devotionals focuses on a key story from the Old Testament over a 5-day span, and the devotional for each day is designed to be completed in only 10 minutes! The book includes suggestions for adapting the devotionals based on the age of your children and can be used with children from preschool through high school. From New Growth Press. [$, a sample copy is available to look through at RBC]
- Old Story New (New Testament). This volume follows the same layout as Long Story Short (see above) with the exception that the 78 sets of devotionals are drawn from key parts of the New Testament. Like Long Story Short, it also includes recommendations for adaptation based on children’s ages. Also from New Growth Press. [$, a sample copy is available to look through at RBC]
- One Year of Dinner Table Devotions and Discussion Starters. Instead of attempting to carve out additional time to get all of your family members together, this handy book contains 365 devotions for you to use at a time when your family is already together. Each devotional contains selected scripture passages, a brief reading, and discussion starters to get your family talking! [$]
Children’s Story Bibles
- The Big Picture Story Bible. This story Bible is great for younger and older preschoolers (and their parents too!). The book contains 26 readings (11 from the OT and 15 from the NT) and will help introduce children to some of the most prominent stories in the Bible in a way that’s accessible to children. In addition to introducing them to these important events, the stories are presented to show how these stories point forward to and demonstrate our need for Christ. [$, a sample copy is available to look through at RBC]
- The Jesus Storybook Bible. This book is similar to The Big Picture Story Bible (TBPSB) only longer: it contains 44 readings (21 from the OT and 23 from the OT), and each reading is longer than those in TBPSB. That’s not a drawback of The Jesus Storybook Bible book, it simply means that it’s geared toward an older audience: older preschool and elementary children. Like TBPSB, The Jesus Storybook Bible demonstrates throughout how Christ is the focal point of all Scripture. [$, a sample copy is available to look through at RBC]
- The Gospel Story Bible. This story Bible follows in the same pattern as the two above, it’s simply longer again with 156 readings (78 from both the OT and the NT). The stories are coordinated with the devotional sets from the devotional guides Long Story Short and Old Story New (see above). [$, a sample copy is available to look through at RBC]
- Simplify Family Worship. Read, pray, sing. Those three components in any combination make for a benefical time of worship for the whole family, according to Donald Whitney in this short article. The beginning of the article offers some additional thoughts on the biblical and historical background of family worship time. As he says, “So start family worship in your home today. It doesn’t matter when you have worship. For some, early morning is best. For others, it’s mealtime, and for still others, it’s bedtime. Just start. Whether you’ve been married fifty years or newly engaged, just start. Keep it simple, and keep it up.” [Free]
- Truth and Grace Books. These books are described in more detail over on the “Scripture Memorization” page. You could easily incorporate the Scripture memory or the catechism questions as part of the Bible time in a way that would involve your children in an active way in family worship. Moreover, you could sing one of the recommended hymns as a family. [$, a sample copy is available to look through at RBC]
- Seeds Family Worship. More is provided about this source of Scripture set to music over on the “Scripture Memorization” page. The songs from Seeds are another option for adding music to your family worship time. [Free streaming listening, $ to purchase the CDs or MP3s]