Worshiping God with our kids is one of the greatest privileges of parenting. While nothing replaces worshiping with our church family on Sunday mornings, we can also bring the worship into our homes throughout the week. From Don Whitney’s book Family Worship, here is a simple approach you can use to start off your morning or wrap up the day praising God with your family. 

Basically, there are three elements to family worship: read the Bible, pray, and sing. Only three syllables to remember—read, pray, sing. And you don’t need to prepare anything beforehand.

Read the Bible

Chapter by chapter, read through books of the Bible together. The younger the children, the more you will want to use narrative passages and read shorter sections. As the children get older, set a goal to read through the entire New Testament, and later through the entire Bible.

Read enthusiastically and interpretively. In other words, don’t be one of those people who reads the Bible as apathetically as if reading a phone directory out loud. It is the Word of God—read it to the best of your ability.

Also, explain any words the children may not understand. Clarify the meaning of key verses. To improve their understanding, perhaps ask the children to choose a verse or phrase to explain to you, and then have them pick one for you to explain to them.


Whether prayer is offered by the father only, or by someone he designates, or by each member of the family in turn, be sure to pray together. Some people keep a prayer list. Some simply ask for prayer requests from the family. Whatever your approach, pray about at least one thing suggested to you and your family by the Scripture passage you have read.

Some families, regardless of where they were reading in the Bible, always go to the book of Psalms when it’s time to pray and turn the words of a few verses there into a prayer. If praying through Psalm 23, for instance, after reading the first verse you might thank the Lord for being your Shepherd, ask him to shepherd your family through certain events or decisions, and so forth. As you have time, continue through the passage line by line, speaking to God about what comes to mind while reading the text.

By using this approach you will not only pray for your family (and in fresh and unique ways each time), but you’ll also teach them by example how to pray.


If possible, get songbooks for everyone. Your church may have some unused or older ones closeted away that you could acquire, perhaps at no cost. Your pastor or a worship leader at your church may be able to recommend other songbooks too. The lyrics of many older, public domain (that is, not copyrighted) songs are also available free on the Internet.

Some people sing a different song each time; some sing the same song for a week so they can learn it. As to music, some families sing along with recordings, while others use family musicians. My perception is that most families—even when it’s only a husband and wife—simply sing without accompaniment.

Why Read, Pray, and Sing?

Why not just read and pray and omit singing? Or why not read, pray, sing, and also take the Lord’s Supper together?

For starters, the earliest record of Christian family worship describes a pattern of reading Scripture, praying together, and singing praise to God.

Second, when you examine a list of the activities the Bible says to do in worship, only three things on that already short list are equally as appropriate in family worship or in private worship as in congregational worship. Those activities are reading the Bible, praying, and singing.

So, what should we do in family worship? It’s simple: read the Bible, pray together, and sing to the Lord.

Three Reminders


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. It is usually easy to lengthen the time if the occasion seems to be especially meaningful and family members are asking questions.


Try to have a regular time each day for family worship. For some people it works best early in the morning before the family scatters. For others, the most convenient time is at the close of the evening meal. If this is your choice, part of setting the table might include putting the Bible and songbooks close at hand. I would also recommend that you not allow anyone to get up from the table until family worship is finished. A third popular time for family worship is late in the evening or just before bedtime.


Whatever time you choose, consider the wisdom of adapting a time when the family is already accustomed to being together, rather than trying to create another routine gathering during the day. Of course, a set time for family worship each day does not fit the schedule of many families. So if you prefer to enjoy family worship at night but and that your family is often scattered in the evenings, you may have to plan for a morning or noontime gathering—or sometimes adapt family worship to a mobile experience while traveling.

Every family has to flex its worship time occasionally. Just be careful that your flexibility does not lead to inconsistency. Nevertheless, if developing an entirely new family routine is what it takes to begin your family worship, the benefits will be worth whatever it costs.

God deserves to be worshiped daily in our homes by our families. This is how you do it. God made it doable. It’s simple: just read, pray, and sing. You can do that!

This excerpt is taken from Family Worship by Donald Whitney, © 2016, pp. 45-52. Used by permission of Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.org. Pick up a copy for more strategies to practice worshiping God with your loved ones.