Family Devotions as a Way of Life
by Joseph Franks
It is true that there is something special about the Lord’s Day. According to the Westminster Confession of Faith, it is the “Christian Sabbath.” It is a special holiday of rest and worship to be enjoyed between the believer, his brothers and sisters, and his God. However, the Christian who only sabbaths on Sunday, misses the full intention of the Fourth Commandment. The worshiper of Jesus Christ is to enjoy Sabbath rest with God every day until the final day arrives when paradise is fully realized. So while Sunday is special, Sunday is not enough. Sabbathing should be a way of life.
The same is true regarding family worship and discipleship. While it is wonderful to have a stated time when the family gathers together around the table or on the sofa, such daily appointments are not enough. Consider the teaching of Moses:
Now this is the commandment – the statutes and the rules – that the LORD your God commanded me to teach you, that you may do them in the land to which you are going over, to possess it, that you may fear the LORD your God, you and your son and your son’s son, by keeping all his statutes and his commandments, which I command you, all the days of your life, and that your days may be long. Hear therefore, O Israel, and be careful to do them, that it may go well with you, and that you may multiply greatly, as the LORD, the God of your fathers, has promised you, in a land flowing with milk and honey. Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. (Deuteronomy 6:1-9)
Therefore friends, gather your wife and children and have family worship, family church, family devotions, or whatever else you call it. But do not be smugly self-righteous over your practice. Your family worship is not enough. Instead, do family worship and discipleship all the day long. From morning to evening, at home or abroad, whether seated or moving, in church, at school, or in business, disciple without ceasing. Such is the desire of God. Such is the practice of those who long for God’s grace and wish it to go well with them and their children.