A BIBLICAL GUIDE TO
CHRISTIAN FAMILY WORSHIP
As Christians it is
our privilege and responsibility to attend church regularly, just as
Christ did (Luke 4:16, Hebrews 10:25). However, as much as we would
like to be in church, there may be times when it is not possible. On
such occasions we fail to honor God, and set a bad example for our
children, if we simply skip worship or watch religious television.
Those are the occasions when a Christian father ought to lead his
family in worship, and this guide has been prepared with that object in
mind. [The words in italics may be read by the head of the house, as he
leads the family in worship.]
1 - THE OPENING
Because the Bible says, “Enter into
His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise” (Psalm
100:4), worship begins with a song of praise and thanksgiving to God.
The opening Hymn is #_____.
2 - THE INVOCATION
Because Christ said, “where two or
three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of
them” (Matthew 18:20), we invoke the name of God immediately after the
opening song. The head of the house might do this by saying, “Let us begin our
worship in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy
Ghost.” That statement should be followed by a prayer, which in
turn is followed by a second hymn.
We will now sing hymn. #_____ .
3 - THE CONFESSION OF SINS
Because the Bible says, “If I regard
sin in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.” (Psalm 66:18), the
invocation is followed by a confession of sins. The head of the house
might initiate that confession by saying:
At this time I would like everyone to
close their eyes, bow their head, and take a few moments to confess
their sins unto God. Just as the publican (in the parable of the
Pharisee and the publican) confessed his sins, saying, “God be merciful
to me a sinner.” (Luke 18:13)
4 - GOD'S WORD OF FORGIVENESS
Because God has said, “Comfort ye,
comfort ye my people,” (Isaiah 40:1), the confession of sins is
followed by God's Word of mercy and forgiveness. Here the head of the
house, acting as God's spokesman, assures those who have confessed
their sins that they have forgiveness in Christ. He might do that by
God's Word to David, when he repented, and
all who repent is, “The Lord hath put away thy sin”, for the Bible
tells us that “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to
forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. // And
the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin”
(1John 1:7,9, 2Samuel 12:13).
This word of forgiveness may be
followed by a hymn of praise and glory to God.
Let us now sing hymn
5 - THE GENERAL PRAYER
Since those present have received
God’s word of forgiveness, the head of the house leads in a general
prayer. It is here that all prayer requests are taken before the throne
of God. It is here that the worshipers pray for the rulers of the
nation, the conversion of the heathen, and for God's help in every
need. This prayer is made remembering that Jesus said, “If two of you
shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they ask, it shall be
done for them of my father which is in heaven” (Matthew 18:19).
At the conclusion of this prayer
all present should say, “Amen” for it is their prayer.
6 - THE READING OF GOD'S WORD
The reading of God's Word
follows the general prayer. This custom goes back to the time of Ezra
and was a regular part of worship at the time of Christ (Nehemiah
8:2-4, Luke 4:16-17). The readings may be read in unison, or read
responsively. Although every service does not include a reading from
the Old Testament, it is customary to have readings from the Old
Testament, the Psalms, the Gospels, and the Epistles.
The Old Testament
reading is found in __________.
Psalm # _________
will be read responsively.
The Gospel reading
is found in ____________.
reading is found in ____________.
7 - THE CONFESSION OF FAITH
Having heard the Word of God, the
worshipers respond with a confession of faith. This custom was part of
the worship services that Christ attended and it became a part of
Christian worship. The use of the Apostles' Creed can be traced back to
the time of the Apostles, and every part of it comes from the Bible. It
begins with the words, “I believe” because every person must believe
Having heard the Word
of God, let us confess our faith in the words of the Apostles’ Creed
I believe in God the
Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth.
The Creed is followed by a hymn of
faith, which is followed by the sermon.
We will now sing hymn
8 - THE SERMON
Like the Bible
readings, the sermon has its roots in the exposition of Scripture begun
by Ezra (Nehemiah 8:2-4). In a family setting it need not be long, but
it should point the worshipers to Christ as the source of all
righteousness, and it should present the Word of God, not the opinions
of the speaker (1Timothy 1: 7-9, Romans 10:4, Jeremiah 23:26).
If the sermon
consists of reading a verse of Scripture, commenting on it, and then
reading another verse, etc. make it clear where your comments begin,
where they end, and when you start to read the next verse; otherwise
you will lose your listeners.
Also avoid comments
that raise questions and doubts, such as conjecture about what a word
might mean or how a verse should be translated (Romans 14:1, Titus
3:9). Do not try to interpret God's Word, just call attention to what
it says, point out how it applies to our lives, and if appropriate cite
parallel passages. Remember, your purpose is to preach God's Word, not
your opinions or explanations.
The sermon may be closed with the
words, Now may the peace of God, which passeth
all understanding, keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. AMEN
The Lord's prayer, which all present
repeat in unison, follows the sermon. (The word “Our” indicates that it
was intended to be a group prayer.)
Let us all join in the
And in Jesus Christ
His only Son, our Lord; Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, Born of
the Virgin Mary; Suffered under Pontius Pilate, Was crucified, died for
our sins, and was buried; He descended into hell; The third day He rose
again from the dead; He ascended into heaven And sitteth on the right
hand of God the Father Almighty; From thence He shall come to judge the
quick and the dead.
I believe in the
Holy Ghost; The holy Christian Church, the communion of saints; The
forgiveness of sins; The resurrection of the body; And the life
Our Father who art in heaven,
The Lord's prayer is followed by the
benediction which is in turn followed by the closing hymn.
9 - THE BENEDICTION
The Benediction was instituted
by God and is one of the most ancient parts of the worship service
(Numbers 6:22-27). The head of the house closes the worship service by
speaking this blessing upon all present.
Hallowed be Thy name,
Thy kingdom come,
Thy will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive those who trespass
Lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom, and the
power, and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.
The Lord bless you, and
Let us now close with
The Lord make His
face to shine upon you, and be gracious unto you:
The Lord lift up
His countenance upon you, and give you peace. …AMEN
If there is no
gospel preaching church in your area, if dangerous driving conditions
prevent church attendance, or if worship services are not being offered
on holidays such as Thanksgiving or Christmas, you should conduct your
own family worship service. If you are in an area where there is no
church, you should invite someone to worship with you every week
(Hebrews 10:25). If you do not have hymnals, the head of the house can
sing one line of a song, the congregation can repeat it, and then he
can sing the next line etc.
In a video made
before the iron curtain came down, I saw an underground church service
in which two families worshiped while standing in a circle in a living
room. Maintaining regular worship is our service of love to Christ for
all He has done for us, and those families were taking a great risk in
order to do His will. Can we do less? Since God uses the worship
service to nourish us spiritually by bestowing His gifts of repentance,
faith, and forgiveness upon us, it is only as we stay close to the Word
that we stay strong in faith (1Corinthians 12:3, Romans 10:17, Romans
1:16, 1Peter 1:5, John 21:15-17). Gary Ray Branscome