Daily Worship At Home Matters
Every day you and your family are being formed by the things you’re exposed to and the habits you practice. That could be the regular conversation of “what’s for dinner” and “what are we going to watch tonight”. That could be the (hopefully) strict sleep training routines that you plan your evenings around. That could be the long run you’re planning this weekend, the morning spin classes, or the mountain you’re considering after the work week finally ends. We all have habits in our lives, rhythms we follow, and things we regularly expose ourselves to. Whether we realize it or not, those things are forming who we are.
The question that the people of God need to ask is, 'How are we being formed by God?' What are my regular practices that expose me and my family to the presence of God? If part of our mission is to “be formed by God,” how is that happening Monday through Saturday?
There’s a book on my desk right now with seventy-five different “spiritual disciplines.” Seventy-five different ways to be formed by God. That’s a lot. I’ve enjoyed another book that includes practices to consider depending on which of twelve seasons of life you’re in. I’ve enjoyed two books recently that bucket our formation into neat little outlines of three. Habits of the Household is another great book that just helps you find ways to redeem or restore parts of your life so that you're being formed more by God and less by the attitude of just surviving. The question is maybe less about how we are formed by God and maybe more about where we start!
Where to Start
Sifting through Scripture, biographies, classics, and contemporaries, I’d like to propose a starting place that seems to be theme in the previously mentioned material: daily worship.
Let’s start with Scripture. We can’t talk about worship without starting with the pre-fall instruction to rest on the seventh day, but Genesis chapter three seems to indicate the daily appearance “of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day.” This is consistent with the special Sabbath sacrifices of temple (on the 7th day) in addition to the morning and evening offerings of Numbers 28. It was during this daily offering that Gabriel showed up to Zechariah to announce John the Baptist and his role with the coming Messiah. In Acts we’re told, again consistent with the rest of Scripture, that the new believers “devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers…and day by day, attending the temple together.” There is a special time of worship once every seven days, but consistent throughout Scripture, there is also a daily drawing near to the presence of God.
If we have any hope of being formed by the very presence of God, these daily, regular acts of worship are not just critical, but central to our Christian life.
It’s fascinating to me, reading biographical material of 17th century puritans, 19th century missionaries, or even 20th century heroes who ended up in concentration camps, think Bonhoeffer or Cori Ten Boom, every single one of those individuals explicitly stressed the importance of daily worship or casually mentioned it as part of their everyday life. Even in more contemporary discussions theologians like Joel Beeke have said, “Few seriously grapple with why many adolescents become nominal members with mere notional faith or abandon evangelical truth for unbiblical doctrine and modes of worship. I believe one major reason for this failure is the lack of stress upon family worship.” In sense, he places part of the blame of the generational decline in the Christian church at the feet of pastors and parents who don’t stress regular daily worship. Those are strong words, but they don’t seem to far from what’s presented in Scripture, seen in Church history, or even presented in large scale studies. In 2017, after surveying 2,000 Protestant and nondenominational church goers, lifeway research found that simple worship practices at home had a much larger impact on children continuing in the faith than the combined effects of having adult Christian mentors and other Christian friends.
Your daily practices at home, whether a family of one or Denver-large family of four, has an unbelievably outsized influence on your faith. Daily worship is where you start if you want to be formed by God.
In future blog posts, I might talk more in depth about what daily worship could look like but let me leave you with a handful of simple things to consider. It’s honestly not that complicated! I promise.
What is Worship?
Let’s start with a simple definition of Worship. Stephen Charnock, who literally wrote the book on God (it’s about 1100 pages) said “Worship is nothing else but a rendering to God the honor that is due to him.” I think that definition of worship is why, in all the books about how we’re formed by God, three practices show up very regularly. There are more, and they are good great. I’ve been a huge fan of journaling and silence & solitude lately, but let’s start with three that show up all over the place: reading the word, prayer, and singing.
Reading the Word
Daily reading says to God, “Lord your word is valuable for every part of my life. Not only is what you have to say is more important than anything else I could learn today, but it’s here to equip me for everything else I do.” Daily reading of God’s Word is giving His word the honor it’s due.
Prayer says to God, “Father, you’re dwelling in and with me. You’re powerful and you’ve given me access to you at any point in the day. I’m coming to you, humbling myself, and asking for your help to honor you today.” Daily prayer honors God by admitting we have needs and that we have a good Father who wants to fulfill those needs.
Daily singing to God.
This might be where I lose some of you. Ephesians five says we should be “filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God.” Regular signing of worship songs honors God by expressing our love and thankfulness to him. It might be the easiest practice for some of you because it stirs your emotions. It might be the hardest practice for some of you because it needs your emotions. Daily singing to the Lord honors him by expressing our love and thankfulness to the God who not only gave us His only Son, but continues to give us all good things.
One side note on signing. Of course, there is terrible Christian music out there, but we live in the age where YouTube or Spotify algorithms can easily find something you like. You can’t use that as an excuse.
Here's my advice. Start small. Read a section of Scripture, say a short prayer, sing a song. Commit to this daily. If your family is more than one, do it with the others. Don’t force it into a time of day where your life is scheduled to be chaotic. When is everyone together? What’s an activity where we can take advantage of us all being together? Is it in a car? At a dinner, breakfast, or lunch table? Maybe it’s part of the bedtime routine. Pray and ask God for wisdom to see where that can fit into your family life.
Daily worship may not seem like a big deal, but neither does starting early saving for retirement. How many of us wish we were putting a couple a hundred a month away in our teens? We’d be halfway to millionaires now (google it). The small act of daily worship is like the compound interest of being formed by God, it can pay off big. Or as Paul says in Galatians 5, “whatever one sows, that will he also reap…let us not grow weary in doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”