"For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven. (Eccl. 3:1)"
The word that could best describe life these days is “pressure.” We all try to overcome this modern-day problem of running against the clock in an attempt to accomplish all our tasks. And what we hear so often today is, “I don’t have time!” Lack of time ends up being an excuse for everything. King Solomon was right when he wrote, “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven” (Eccl. 3:1).
Many parents today suffer from “Weekend Parenting Syndrome.” They spend so much time at work and on necessary tasks that they rarely look after their children except on weekends. We make a big mistake when we do not invest enough time in our families, because time is everything in a relationship—with your spouse, with your children, or with God.
We need to remember this important principle: Give time to whom time is due. The problem today is that we face a chronic problem when it comes to our priorities. We establish so many objectives and goals that often we fail in what is essential.
It is important to manage our time. We can satisfy significant needs within our families when we spend time praying together, developing faith, and having family worship.
Studies have shown that only 20 percent of Christian families make a consistent time for worship in their homes. This research reflects a crisis of spiritual leadership in the home. If we do not take the responsibility for the spiritual condition of our children, who will?
Today more than ever, we should take the initiative to redirect our priorities to what is essential—raising our children “in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Eph. 6:4).
One of the best things we can give our children is a solid spiritual heritage. Family worship is one way to provide that. Therefore, restoring the family altar needs to be a priority at the beginning of each new year. However, investing in family worship and making this practice meaningful requires some consideration.
The first element of family worship is prayer. Teach your children how to pray spontaneously. Get a notebook and write down prayer requests and answered prayers. This educational tool will make worship time interesting and awaken the interest of your children.
The second element of family worship is the Bible. When praying, we talk to God, but as we read the Bible, we allow God to talk to us. In my family, we developed a habit of reading the Bible, memorizing texts, and marking the verses we liked most. We also varied our readings through the use of different Bible versions. This allowed us to study the Bible using a vocabulary my sons understood.
Another element of family worship is music. A great tragedy these days is that in some places, children no longer sing. Take time to learn hymns and choruses. Sing them together. Singing and praising transforms worship into a happy and interactive time.
Devotional time is the fourth element in family worship. Many books, hymnals, CDs, and illustrations are excellent tools. Most of these resources are easy to find and will help in the learning process.
A meaningful family worship should also include the following characteristics:
Regularity. When you choose to have worship is not the most important aspect; regularity is. I know families who have worship in the morning, while others have it in the evening. The important thing is to find a time when the entire family can be together at a scheduled, regular time.
Be brief, but don’t hurry. Some people think that family worship should last an hour and a half. This is not true. A few minutes well-used will have a powerful impact. Also, it is important to remember that children—and even adults— have short attention spans.
Informality. Everyone participates, and everyone’s needs are met.
Variety. Avoid dull routine. For many children and teenagers, worship is boring because it is always the same. Plan for variety, perhaps a different program for worship each day. For instance:
• Sunday: Discuss what you learned on Sabbath.
• Monday: Plan for the new week and put your trust in God.
• Tuesday: Share a missionary story or a current fact that makes everyone think about the time they are living in.
• Wednesday: Prayer day.
• Thursday: Talk about family members and pray for them.
• Friday: Use a Promise Box. Include preparation for Sabbath.
Ask God to revive your family. When it happens, this revival will surely affect the church. And believe me, this starts when you and I establish a value system, a system of priorities with the clear objective of meeting Jesus soon with our families.
General Conference Associate Women’s Ministries Director