I was first introduced to Donald Whitney during my time at Southern Seminary.  When I began my doctoral project on family evangelism and discipleship, I picked up a copy of Family Worship.  The concepts were so simple and revolutionary in my life as I read books during the night watching over my six-week-old son in the seminary hotel while my wife got some much-needed sleep.

I picked it up again recently, and this small volume still convicts, inspires, and simplifies the process of family worship.

Favorite Quotes

  1. It is unlikely that exposure to the church once or twice a week will impress your children enough with the greatness and glory of God that they will want to pursue him once they leave your home (14).
  2. The only way Abraham could have commanded his children to keep the way of the Lord was to teach the things of God at home…The key element of this story in support of family worship actually happens before that dramatic climax.  Isaac knew they were going to the mountain to offer a sacrifice and worship God (17).
  3. …the best time for parents to teach the things of God to their children on a consistent basis when all their children are present would be during a time of family worship (19).
  4. If he [an elder] cannot lead family worship, how can he lead church worship (26)?
  5. Consistent with The Directory of Family Worship, the Puritans, according to J. I. Packer, believed “It was the husband’s responsibility to channel the family into religion,…to lead the family in worship daily, ideally twice a day; and to set an example of sober godliness at all times and in all matters (33).
  6. But apart from these exceptions, no preparation for family worship is needed other than choosing a song and deciding your method for prayer.  Beyond that, just open the Bible to the place where you stopped last time and read, pray, and sing (48).
  7. Be brief, otherwise the experience can become tedious.  A good average time to read the Bible, pray, and sing is roughly ten minutes, perhaps less if you have very small children (50).
  8. Every family has to flex its worship time occasionally.  Just be careful that your flexibility does not lead to inconsistency (51).
  9. For if he will not lead you spiritually in this way before you wed, it is very unlikely that he will do so after (66).

Book Description

Gathering together for worship is an indispensable part of your family’s spiritual life. It is a means for God to reveal himself to you and your loved ones in a powerful way.

This practical guide by Donald S. Whitney will prove invaluable to families—with or without children in the home—as they practice God-glorifying, Christ-exalting worship through Bible reading, prayer, and singing. Includes a discussion guide in the back for small groups.

Travis Agnew is a Christian, husband, father, pastor, author, blogger, and religion instructor.