Family Worship, as the name implies, is the joint worship rendered to God, by all the members of one household. Among the list of leadership responsibilities given to Christian men, husbands, fathers, and leaders-of-a-household, family worship ranks among the top. As a Christian, as a man, as a spiritual leader and example to others, the spiritual discipleship of those within our family and circle of influence is a large branch on our tree of personal spirituality. Obvious, right? I mean, it makes tremendous sense, it’s super logical, extremely practical, and a vital part of our personal leadership responsibilities, yet, how many of us are actively leading “family worship,” family devotions, family prayer times, or any variation of this theme.
No, I’m not perfect either, but let’s be real for a second. Let’s make a personal/family leadership list. Granted, this leadership list is an “ideal.” It may not match-up with your reality, or mine for that matter, but let’s lay it out anyway. If it doesn’t match your personal or familial reality, then you have a useable, ready-made list for self/family improvement.
Personal/Family Spiritual Leadership Priority List: (An Ideal – May not match reality)
1. Personal – Consistent and regular personal & private daily devotions.
2. Personal – Consistent and regular personal & private prayer time.
3. Personal/Family – Consistent and regular prayer and planning with a spouse or significant other.
4. Personal/Family – Consistent and regular attendance of local church service.
5. Personal/Family – Consistent and regular involvement in a local church group (life group/small group).
6. Personal/Family – Consistent and regular involvement in a local church ministry (reinvesting time & talent).
7. Personal/Family – Consistent and regular family worship/devotions.
8. Personal/Family – Current Events/Issues (secular & spiritual) discussion and debate.
9. Personal/Family – Christian/cutural (world-view development) required reading.
10. Personal/Family – Media content management (filtering of tv,music,electronic & print media).
Now, I know what some of you are thinking. ‘That is an impossible and inhuman list of achievement.’ On the other hand, some of you may be smiling smugly and patting yourself on the back. I have seperated a number of elements that often get grouped together. Devotions and prayer, prayer and planning with a spouse, and all church related activities often get lumped together. Yet, I don’t believe that they should be for a very good reason: each item on the list requires intentional commitment, energy, and effort to maintain on a consistent and regular basis. Satan, his minions, and all of his associated temptations and areas of influence will try to warp, twist, distract, rip-apart, and destroy our attempts to make each of these listed items a part of our personal/family spiritual leadership and formation journey. Do you agree with all of the items listed? Maybe not. That’s okay. If you don’t like my list, then make your own.
There are some duties so plain that they are assumed rather than commanded in the word of God. This is especially true of those duties which belong to the nuclear family. One doesn’t always find a command to pray when one preaches the word, or when a child wakes-up in the middle of the night from a bad dream, or when death has visited our dwellings. These are things which it is safe to leave to the spiritual sensibilities of Christian’s: and yet they are not less characteristic of good men, nor less universal in the church.
“The new-born soul must pray, even as the new-born child must breathe. Wherever the grace of prayer blossoms forth in the soul, it will flow out in certain acts. There is an irresistible impluse to pray for those who we love, and not only for them, but with them. There is a natural as well as a gracious prompting, to pray with those who are near to us. Prayer is a social exercise. There is no two ways about it. The prayer which Christ taught his disciples bears this stamp on every petition. It is this principle which leads to the united devotions of church communities, and which immediately manifests itself in Christian families.”
Prayer, both personal and familial, is a good (vital) starting point. No matter where you stand on the above listed leadership list, prayer and devotions are fundational. We all know this (in our heads). Yet, it is always a daily struggle because ‘His mercy/grace/strength, is new every morning.’
I realize that I am “poking the bear” as I throw down this gauntlet. I also realize that this gauntlet lies before me as well, since I am not perfect, and need to work on a few of the above listed leadership items as well. This is an important issue for men, and all household leaders to grapple with. As such, I will be returning to this theme in future posts. For now, I throw the gauntlet of rigorous and painful spiritual self-examination before you. Where are you at? Where do you think you need to be? What will you do to get there? Who’s going to hold you accountable for your improvement? I don’t recommend your spouse or significant other. Get a trusted third party involved. If you need a trusted, third party, accountability partner(s), contact us. We would love to pray with you, keep you accountable, challenge you and be challenged by you. You can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org.