My husband and I have been married 7 years; our older daughter is almost five. Until recently, we’d never consistently practiced family worship time. 

Like many young families, we’ve wanted to raise our children up in the Lord. We’ve wanted to show them how precious Jesus is. We’ve wanted to teach them about the things of God. But we weren’t really sure how to do that.

Sound familiar?

I can confidently say that practicing family worship time has revolutionized our home— it’s given us purpose and hope. We’re exposing our kids to the Word, modeling prayer for them, and inviting them to worship God with song daily. And it’s honestly been easier and more fun than we expected!

In this post, I want to demystify family worship. I want to explain why we started doing this and what exactly we do. Check out my next post for ways— expected and unexpected— this practice has blessed us.

Why we started family worship time

A few months back, I read a tiny book by Donald Whitney entitled Family Worship. It’s really no thicker than an over-zealous pamphlet. But— oof! — it sure packs a punch!

I loved these words from Whitney: 

Isn’t this what you really want to do? … What better way to speak the gospel into your children’s lives every day? What better way to provide a regular time for your children to learn the things of God from you? What better way to provide your children with an ongoing opportunity to ask about the things of God in a comfortable context? … Isn’t this what you really want to do? (58-59)

Our answer was a resounding, “Yes, of course!” 

Discipleship happens in a lot of unplanned, unscripted moments throughout our days. But we should also plan rhythms into our lives to display God’s supreme worth so our kids can learn to treasure Him— that’s where family worship time can come in. 

Whitney’s plan is simple: read, pray, sing together. Every day.

Whitney’s practical, simple approach really demystified family worship for us. It made the whole thing approachable—  something every family (even non-traditional ones) can do to shepherd their children’s souls to God.

So that’s why and how we got started. If you’ve felt the desire to do something more than what you’re currently doing in this area, I highly recommend this book as an accessible way to start.

What we do during family worship time

Huge disclaimer: family worship is something that will look a bit different for each family! I want to share what we do to help you see it’s super simple to incorporate— but it’s by no means prescriptive!

Whitney describes family worship as having three basic parts: read, pray, sing.

We generally do family worship time after dinner. My daughter is usually first to mention it; “Hey, you know what we should do?! FAMILY WORSHIP TIME!!” And then— I kid you not— we all erupt in screaming, chanting, hysterically laughing. Not mentioned in Whitney’s book, but that’s apparently how we roll.

We leave the dirty dishes in the sink, my husband grabs his guitar, and we settle into the living room.

My kids are almost-5 and almost-2. Their attention and participation varies widely. Sometimes they chase each other around the house with cars. Sometimes they dance while we sing songs. We just pray that these seeds planted in faith will grow under the care of the Good Gardener.

We just pray that these seeds planted in faith will grow under the care of the Good Gardener.


We start with reading aloud from the Bible. I’m the resident read-aloud-er in our house so this part of family worship time naturally fell to me.

First we did the Gospel of John, then Barbara Reaoch’s excellent A Jesus Christmas. Now we’re reading through Luke. If you’re a bit wary of reading undiluted Scripture to your young kids, you’re not alone! It’s gone way better than I expected. My daughter will beg me for “One more!” when I finish. 

Are you worried about how to explain Scripture to your kids? Same. My husband and I simply wrestle through the more confusing passages out loud, asking each other good questions (not always having the answers!) and asking God to help us understand. Sometimes I think this modeling is the most important thing we can do to help our kids love the Bible.


When I’m done reading, I like to pray the passage. For example, yesterday’s passage was Luke 8:22-25, where Jesus calms a storm. So I prayed aloud, thanking Jesus for His power, for His sovereignty, for His creation. I asked Jesus to help us trust Him. I asked Him to help us understand that we never have to be afraid because He’s in control of all things at all times and He loves us.


Next we sing. We’re super blessed in that one of us (my husband) is gifted musically. So he plays his guitar and leads us in a few worship songs together. I particularly like the call-and-response kind so that our kids can learn and participate (Is He Worthy, Nothing but the Blood are some of our favs). 

In case you’re tone-deaf like me, be encouraged: God loves to hear you sing. Worship is all about Him, not us— and your singing glorifies Him, even if it’s “bad.” 

So even if you’re not musical, don’t let that keep you from the joy of worshiping the God of glory with your family. Use some of that ubiquitous technology that’s taking over the world to pull up some worship music and jam out together.

Pray (again)

When we get done singing, we all take turns praying aloud. My 5-year-old usually thanks Jesus for her healthy body and her family. She sometimes asks for help with her “crazy baby brother.” I love that she’s learned to start her prayers with, “Lord…” and end them with, “In Jesus’s name— Amen.” 

The two year old? Not so much. But he’s started grabbing all of our hands to get us to pray— and that’s beautiful to me. To answer Whitney: It’s exactly what I really want to be doing.

Faithful parenting

Family worship time usually lasts 15-45 minutes in our family. It’s been a beautiful instrument of God’s grace to our family— check out my next post for more on that. Here, I’ll suffice to say that— because of this practice— my kids are hearing God’s Word every day. They’re learning how to pray. And they’re joining us in worshiping God through song. 

It hasn’t been magical— but we’ve been faithful by the grace of God. And that’s what God asks of us as parents. I’ll let Donald Whitney close us out:

Not once did we finish family worship where I would have said afterward, ‘The Lord evidently moved in great power among us tonight.’… Strive for faithfulness in family worship, not immediate results. I fully understand that what you may see night-after-night, week-after-week, month-after-month, year-after-year in family worship may be uneventful. Just realize that the effects are rarely immediate. Usually they’re cumulative… Give your family years of faithful (if unspectacular) leadership in family worship, and you’ll agree it’s worth it all someday. (69-70)

Isn’t this what you really want to be doing? Check out our Simple Family Worship guide for more— and then start your own rhythm of family worship! Be faithful, friends, and trust God to make your efforts fruitful.