The Hausvater Project

Hausvater: /HAUS-fah-ter/
noun (German)
1. Housefather.
2. Spiritually responsible head of household, including the housefather as assisted by the housemother.
>> Example: "As the Hausvater should teach it [Christian doctrine] to the entire family ..."
(Martin Luther, Small Catechism, 1529)

Feature Articles

Family Worship: Biblical Suggestions for Your Home


Family worship should be a time set aside each day for the family to come together to worship their Lord and Savior. This can be a chance for the children to see that their parents believe that the Christian faith is important every day of the week, not just Sunday morning. Singing, praying, and reading God’s Word are all important parts of family worship.

 

Teaching God’s Word in Our Home

“Fathers, ... bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). The father should try to make God’s Word understandable for children of all ages:

  • Read a few passages from Scripture.
  • Explain what they mean.
  • Show how they apply to our daily lives.
  • Let the children ask questions so that you can tell whether they understand.

 

Singing God’s Praises in Our Home

Teaching children favorite hymns also is part of family worship. “I will praise the LORD according to His righteousness, and will sing praise to the name of the LORD Most High.” (Psalm 7:17). Consider these suggestions:

  • First, learn hymns that are repeated often throughout the church year so that the children will be ready to participate in the church service.
  • As the children learn more songs, you can give them turns choosing which song they want sung.
  • Discuss the words behind the hymn so that your children are not just singing words without understanding their meaning.

 

Praying to God in Our Home

Family worship provides a wonderful opportunity for parents to teach their children to pray—both by memorizing standard prayers and by learning to pray from the heart. 

Praying with your children is very important. “Many were gathered together praying,” writes Luke cocerning the early church (Acts 12:12). Sometimes Christians feel comfortable praying only memorized or prepared prayers when praying aloud with other people. Christians might default to a standard mealtime prayer, whether in their home alone or at a church potluck with others. While these prayers, which have stood the test of time, have value, so do other prayers that flow spontaneously from the Scriptures. Family worship provides a wonderful opportunity for parents to teach their children to pray—both by memorizing standard prayers and by learning to pray from the heart, as the Holy Spirit moves their hearts through the Word of God.

  • Initially, the father should pray at the end of family worship to set an example of the types of things we pray for. (The Lord’s Prayer provides a helpful outline, as do other model prayers in Scripture: 1 Kings 8:22-53, Luke 2:29-32, and of course the Psalms.)
  • Then, after the children have had their father’s example for a while, let each of them pray each night, starting with the oldest so that the youngest can copy some of the ideas from the older kids and not feel left out.
  • For very small children you might simply have to suggest: “Say, ‘sorry for my sins, Jesus. Thank you for forgiving me.’”

 

Home Preparation for the Sunday Church Service

Family worship is a good time to prepare the children for the upcoming Sunday service. God’s people rejoice to visit His sanctuary together. “I was glad when they said to me, ‘Let us go into the house of the LORD’” (Psalm 122:1). Jesus welcomes all ages, “Let the children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God” (Mark 10:14).

  • Ask your pastor to provide a list of the upcoming Scripture readings and preview those readings in family worship.
  • Explain those Scripture passages so that the children will understand them when they hear them again on Sunday.
  • Similarly, ask your pastor to provide a list of the hymns for the coming weeks, so you can learn the first verse (or more if your children are older) of a hymn for Sunday service.
  • On the way to church, remind the children that they will hear and sing what you have been studying all week, so they should be listening for it

 

Setting Aside Time for Family Worship

Think ... of fitting your routine around family worship—making God’s Word the priority in your home.

It can at first be difficult to fit family worship into your routine. Think instead of fitting your routine around family worship—making God’s Word the priority in your home. After a month or so, family worship will become a habit. Everyone will look forward to it. When travel disrupts your ordinary routine, make the necessary adjustment to keep family worship a priority. For example, you can sing some of your favorite hymns on the car ride home. Family worship will bring your family closer together, but not just to each other. The Word of God that serves as the basis of your times together will also bring you closer to your Savior Jesus. “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching, and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord” (Colossians 3:16).

 

Jeremie and Molly Schultz live in rural Tennesee, where they homeschool their seven children.

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TAGS: Home Devotions, Homeschooling

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