How We Stumbled into Family Worship

Family worship doesn't have to be long or complicated. This is how it evolved for our family.

I’ve heard a few comments lately along the lines of, “Only super spiritual/awesome/got-it-all-together/etc parents manage to have a regular family worship time, and the rest of us are just lucky to get to bedtime with everyone still alive.”

Let me just clarify from the start: we most definitely fall into the “just lucky to get to bedtime with everyone still alive” category! Guys, this parenting thing is HARD. And EXHAUSTING. We are in NO way more spiritual or awesome than any other family, and the got-it-all-together part is just laughable. But we have kind of stumbled into a nightly family worship that we all really enjoy, so I thought I’d share a little bit about it in the hopes of encouraging someone else.

When Jude was about 4, we started having a regular bedtime routine with him that included a bedtime story (see, definitely not the got-it-all-together type if it took us 4 years to even have a regular bedtime routine with our only child). After getting him ready for bed, we all went in his room and read through a picture story Bible beside his bed each night, then prayed for him and kissed him goodnight. That’s pretty basic and easy, and I bet many of my friends already do this.

When JJ, Taylah, and Haylee joined our family, we folded them right into our bedtime routine. Everyone sat on Jude’s bed while one of us read, then everyone kissed each other and headed to bed, where Josh and I split up and one prayed for the girls and one prayed for the boys individually in their beds. (Or on nights when only one of us is home to do bedtime, we do one room and then the other.) And of course we later added another sweet little ball of love to the mix, who was usually happy to sit in my lap during this time until he got big enough to participate, too.

If you’re doing something along these lines with your kids already, I wouldn’t beat yourself up about not having some other kind of family worship. This IS family worship!

We kept this routine up for almost 2 years, the only real change being which story Bible we read (more on that in a bit), until Keith and Kristyn Getty came out with a new album, Facing a Task Unfinished. Josh was excited to learn the songs and teach them to the rest of us, so we started singing one or two after the story. But it was hard to do in the bedroom, so we moved to the living room where we could cast the lyrics to the TV as we sang along.

At the same time, some prayer needs for various missionary friends overseas came up, so after we read the Bible story and sang, we naturally moved over to our huge school map that hung in the living room (man I really miss that map) and pointed to our friends’ countries as we prayed for them. 
We’ve continued doing family worship in this way for quite a few years now, and it works really well for us. These days, with power outages a regular occurrence in Malawi, some nights we’re able to play songs on the TV and some nights we play ones we already know well from our phones or sing a capella.
And that is the story of how our family naturally stumbled into having something that really feels like family worship every evening. This will look different for each family, but I want to encourage you that it IS possible for normal people to do. If you take nothing else away from this post, remember that family worship is vitally important to do in some way, but looks different for every family, and doesn’t have to be long or complicated.
My number one recommendation for parents struggling to make family worship a regular part of your lives is to make it part of the bedtime routine. You put your kids to bed every night of your life, and you probably already have some kind of routine around that. Add just five or ten minutes to it each night by at least reading from a story Bible. It doesn’t have to be complicated, it just has to be consistent.
More Together in the Word
Stacy Leigh Hutchens

Stacy Leigh Hutchens

Stacy Leigh Hutchens is a missionary of Gospel Life Global Missions. She is a graduate of Murray State University and is married to Josh Hutchens. She worked for several years as a professional photographer, specializing in weddings. They have five children. Learn more.