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  • Rev. Annie McMillan

Spiritual Practices: Household Worship

W-5.0104 Household Worship

We respond to God’s grace in the context of personal relationships, particularly when Christians who live together worship together. Household worship is a central and important practice within the Reformed tradition, an important means of faith formation. Opportunities for household or family worship include: sabbath-keeping and rhythms of daily prayer; Bible reading, study, or memorization; prayers before meals; singing hymns, psalms, and spiritual songs; and expressions of giving, sharing, and service to others. Congregations are encouraged to nurture and equip households and families for these practices.


Household worship offers a valuable opportunity to remember and anticipate the Lord’s Day, studying appointed Scriptures and reflecting on and preparing for the Sacraments of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. The seasons of the Christian year, such as Advent, Christmas, Lent, and Easter, provide further shape and meaning for household worship. Worship in the household setting may include recognitions of birthdays, baptismal days, and other significant anniversaries, and may reflect the cycles of nature, civic observances, and events in the local, national, and global spheres.

Prayers of thanks and blessing, and lament at the household table draw upon ancient Jewish practice and the examples of Jesus, his disciples, and the early Christian community. Mealtime prayers provide opportunities to give thanks to God’s works of creation and redemption by which we are sustained for Christ’s service. We respond with heartfelt thanks and praise in the sharing of our daily bread.

Children come to know, trust, and worship God by worshiping and praying with their parents and others who care for them. Children may lead and participate in household worship by singing and praying, listening to and telling Bible stories, learning catechisms, and serving and sharing with others. Household worship provides an excellent opportunity to teach children the shape and elements of the Service for the Lord’s Day, so that they may be full and active participants in the church’s worship.

 

Corresponding Scriptures

●       Deuteronomy 6:4–9

○       Hear, O Israel: The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. 5 Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your being, and all your strength. 6 These words that I am commanding you today must always be on your minds. 7 Recite them to your children. Talk about them when you are sitting around your house and when you are out and about, when you are lying down and when you are getting up. 8 Tie them on your hand as a sign. They should be on your forehead as a symbol. 9 Write them on your house’s doorframes and on your city’s gates.

●       Joshua 24:15

○       But if it seems wrong in your opinion to serve the Lord, then choose today whom you will serve. …But my family and I will serve the Lord.”

 

Westminster Confession 6.117

Of Religious Worship and the Sabbath Day

Neither prayer, nor any other part of religious worship, is now, under the gospel, either tied unto, or made more acceptable by, any place in which it is performed, or towards which it is directed: but God is to be worshiped everywhere in spirit and in truth; as in private families daily, and in secret each one by himself, so more solemnly in the public assemblies, which are not carelessly or willfully to be neglected or forsaken, when God, by his Word or providence, calleth thereunto.

 

Larger Catechism 7.228

Q. 118. Why is the charge of keeping the Sabbath more specially directed to governors of families and other superiors?

A. The charge of keeping the Sabbath is more specially directed to governors of families and other superiors, because they are bound not only to keep it themselves, but to see that it be observed by all those that are under their charge; and because they are prone ofttimes to hinder them by employments of their own.

 

Other Possible Scriptures

●       John 4:21

●       Mal. 1:11; I Tim. 2:8

●       John 4:23, 24

●       Deut. 6:7; Job 1:5; Acts 10:2

●       Matt. 6:11

●       Matt. 6:6; Eph. 6:18

●       Isa. 56:7; Heb. 10:25; Acts 2:42; Luke 4:16; Acts 13:42

 

How have you practiced Household Worship and how might you live into it this Lenten season?

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