We must rebuild the “Family Altar.”

I believe that family worship will prove a major asset in assisting us to getting our children off the Titanic, and into the Ark! Our culture may be sinking fast, but we can protect our families. Even if your children are all grown, every home should be a house of worship.

Note these inspired words…
Give ear, O my people, to my law: incline your ears to the words of my mouth. 
I will open my mouth in a parable: I will utter dark sayings of old: 
Which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us. 
We will not hide them from their children, shewing to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, and his strength, and his wonderful works that he hath done. 
For he established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children: 
That the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born; who should arise and declare them to their children: 
That they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments: 
And might not be as their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation; a generation that set not their heart aright, and whose spirit was not stedfast with God. (Ps. 78:1-8).

Three types of Worship:

  1. Private worship—relates to individuals
  2. Church worship—relates to a group of families and individuals in a corporate setting
  3. Family worship—relates to family units

I played baseball in high school. Ten years after graduation, I decided to join the church’s softball team. The coach invited me to practice, but I was busy. He said, “If you have not played in ten years, you had better go the batting cage.” After all I was an All-Star back in school, so I thought all was well. Eight players and I showed up for the first game. The coach asked me, “Where can you play?” I responded, “ANYWHERE!” He assigned me to first base. I missed a hard grounder. Then I fumbled an incoming pitch. Returning to the dugout the coach asked if I could play catcher. In slow pitch softball that’s where a person can do the least amount of damage. So when we took the field I squatted down behind the plate… and the crotch of my pants split from front to back. I learned a valuable lesson: Don’t attempt to play in public unless you have practiced in private! It proved embarrassing to attempt play apart from practice. Corporate worship is an extension of family and private worship. Meaningful Corporate worship must be preceded by private and family worship.


Family worship is commanded. “For he established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children… v. 5

Family worship is intergenerational. This is the means to pass the faith on to the next generation.

  • We will not hide them from their children, shewing to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, and his strength, and his wonderful works that he hath done (v. 4)
  • That the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born; who should arise and declare them to their children (v. 6)

The worship of God is a family affair. The Passover was a family event in Exodus. It was also an annual event. Whose job was it to make sure every family member was inside the house on that fateful night? Whose responsibility was it to choose a suitable lamb? Whose job was it to smear blood on the lintel and doorposts? Who was responsible to see to it that no leaven was in the house that night? It was the father’s responsibility. He was charged by God to act as the head of his home. Families are to receive biblical instruction from the head of the household. Joshua said, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua took charge and directed his family for God.

The Book of Proverbs is a model of a father communicating Truth of God to his children.

  • Proverbs 1:8 My son, hear the instruction of thy father.”
  • Proverbs 2:1 My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee.”
  • Proverbs 3:1 My son, forget not my law.”
  • Proverbs 4:1 Hear ye children, the instruction of a father.”

Ephesians 6:4 states, “Ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” We also have record of how Lois and Eunice, the mother and grandmother of Timothy, taught him the Word of God (2 Tim. 1:5). God requires it. Scripture demands it. And Jesus is worthy of it! Both Testaments command the worship of God in the home.


God established the family and deserves to be worshipped by families. Robert Murray McCheyne said, “Worship God in your family. If you do not worship God in your family you are living in positive sin. You may be quite sure you do not care for the souls of your family… Do it in a spiritual, lively manner… Sing the praise of God the way the Seraphim do, the way God deserves to be praised.” 

Family worship includes three things…

Instruction in God’s Word

You can simply read a passage. When God quickens a word to your heart, teach it to your family. Or you can read a Psalm and Proverb every day. You may elect to let every family member read a verse or two, and comment on how it spoke to them. Be creative.

Prayer at God’s Throne

God expects us to call upon His name. Jeremiah 10:25 says, “Pour out thy fury upon the heathen that know thee not, and upon the families that call not on thy name.” Families that don’t pray are “heathen” according to this verse. There are different types of praying: Thanking, Praising, Asking, Confession, and Intercession. Study through Bible prayers. Let different family members lead in your prayer times.

Praise of God’s Name

Psalm 118:15 speaks about “The voice of rejoicing and salvation is in the tabernacles of the righteous”. Phillip Henry, the father of Matthew Henry, believed this verse was Biblical basis for the singing of Psalms in the home. The whole family can be brought into arena of praise through joyful singing in the tents of the righteous. Every worship service is choir practice for heaven. So get in practice with your family.


Verse 4 states, “We will not hide them from their children.” The parents are the teachers. The curriculum is the Bible. The classroom is the home. And the students are the children. There is a time to let things happen and a time to make things happen. When it comes to worship—make it happen. Everything that has breath is to praise God.

Formal (structured) Family Worship. Every day is Lord’s Day. So set aside time every day to worship God as a family.

There are three requirements…

A Designated Time—Morning or night:

  • Some get up early before father leaves for work and have devotions
  • Some wait until evening

A Designated Place:

  • Living room / family room
  • Kitchen table

A Designated Plan:

  • Long range plan—topics to cover before your children leave home
  • Short range plan—topics to cover over several weeks / months
    • Be flexible / providence / special needs / sensitive to Holy Spirit
    • Include something for all ages and use variety

Casual Family Worship

You don’t need an overhead projector or a Greek New Testament for family altar. Discipleship is a way of life, so teach your family about God in the ordinary course of life. “And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up” (Deut. 6:6-7).


Why are we commanded to teach the Bible in our homes? Here are three reasons.

The Salvation of your Family. Verse 7 says, “That they should put their confidence in God.” To put one’s hope in God there must be exposure to sacred truth. Paul spoke of Timothy—“And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim. 3:15). Richard Baxter wrote, “If family religion were duly attended to and properly discharged, I think the preaching of the Word would not be the common instrument of conversion.” The way we communicate and practice Bible truth is foundational to the formation of faith in our homes.

The Sanctification of your Family. Your family is to be set apart for sacred purposes. Sanctification is a matter of separation—separation from sin and separation unto God. Robert Murray McCheyne said, “It is the look that saves, but it is the gaze that sanctifies.” By pointing your family to Christ every day in family worship you will help them focus on Christ, and be changed into His image. Paul taught that even our food is “sanctified by the word of God and prayer” (1 Tim. 4:4-5). And your family can be sanctified through the same means!

The Saturation of your Family. Duncan Campbell said, “Revival is a people saturated with God.” Do you remember Bounty paper towels—“The Quicker Picker-upper”? Bounty had the amazing ability to absorb spills. The human heart is also a “Quicker picker-upper.” It absorbs whatever is in the environment. Through Family worship we can develop a holy atmosphere in our homes. We can develop a spiritual climate in our homes. If you want your family to absorb the fragrance of Christ, you will have to eliminate evil influences from your home. One man went home from the Prayer Advance and smashed all his videos. He wanted a sanctified atmosphere in his home. He understood that media has tremendous influence.

Matthew Henry says, “Where we have a tent God must have an altar.” Every home should be a worshipping home. Family worship serves both to prepare your family for life and protect your family from evil.

Verse 7 says, “That they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments.”

We are not raising children, we are raising adults! Children are young for only a short while. Our job is to instill in them a thorough understanding of God, and how we are to relate to Him. And one of the primary ways of doing this is through family worship.

This is for every family. Empty nesters should worship God in the home as well. You don’t have to worship with your family—you get to! It’s not only an obligation, it’s a privilege. You can recover the lost art of family worship.

Harold Vaughan


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Harold Vaughan

View posts by Harold Vaughan
Evangelist Harold Vaughan is the founder of Christ Life Ministries, Inc. To date, his ministry has led him to preach in forty-eight states and many foreign countries. Click on "ABOUT" in the menu bar to learn more about Harold.
Scroll to top