In the winter of 1679, the colonial settlements in New England were facing difficult days. This was almost six decades after the Pilgrims had landed on what would become the Massachusetts coastline and had established the Plymouth Colony. The American Revolution was 100 years into the future.
That winter, the settlers were facing outbreaks of disease and significant crop failures. And they found themselves wondering aloud if the hardships they were experiencing were a result of Divine judgment (This was a day, unlike the present, when men were wise enough to see both the hand of Providence and the hand of Judgment present in the affairs of men).
The Synod of New England, made up of Pastors and Elders from churches throughout the area, met to determine a course of action. Together, they prayed, debated and pondered why the hand of God seemed to be chastening His people. In the end, they drew up a public declaration listing 14 reasons for why they believed God’s hand of judgment was upon them.
One of the reasons they listed was a breakdown in the practice of family worship. “There are many families,” the Synod wrote, “that do not pray to God constantly, morning and evening, and many more where the Scriptures are not daily read so that the Word of Christ might richly dwell in them. There are too many houses that are full of ignorance and profaneness and that are not duly examined and for this cause wrath may come upon others around themselves (see Joshua 22:20; Jeremiah 5:7; 10:25). Many householders who profess religion do not cause all that are within their gates to become subject unto good order as they ought (Exodus 20:10).... Most of the evils that abound among us proceed from defects in family government.”
Imagine what the Synod of New England would say about the spiritual condition of families in our country in our day!
We live in a different day. The “evils that abound among us” are different than the hardships these men and women were facing in 1679. Our 24-hour news cycle brings us ongoing reports of modern evils that are plaguing us as a nation. But it is not hard to imagine that if we lived in a nation of people who feared God and who opened their Bibles to read and pray together as a family each day, many of our modern evils would be arrested or abated by the spiritual power that is part of the practice of family worship.
If I could do one thing over as a parent, it would be to have been more diligent and more regular than I was in taking 10-15 minutes a day as a family to read a paragraph from the Bible, ask a question or two, spend a few minutes praying together and maybe end by singing a hymn or a worship song together. I believe that regular practice builds a healthy spiritual rhythm that can’t help but yield spiritual fruit.
When I worked on the Art of Parenting video series, I asked different people to talk about their experience of regular family worship. Here’s what they said.
Learning About God Together from the Art of Parenting
I hope many of you are using the Cornerstones book each week as a way to spark some conversations about spiritual matters as a family. If you’ve been sporadic with it, that’s okay. Just pick the book up and start again!
The enemy of our souls wants us to neglect this spiritual practice in our homes. I believe we have no idea the impact that regular times of family worship could have on our lives – and on our world – if we would simply spend a few minutes of our day with Him.
Get your Sharpies ready! A week from this Sunday, , March 3, we’ll be heading down to our new church home right after our worship service. We’ll write prayers and scripture verses on the exposed wooden studs before the sheetrock gets hung. And we’ll get a look at what is about to be our new church home.
And don’t forget, the following Sunday, March 10, we’ll be getting together as a church after our worship service for an all church meal, followed by our annual church business meeting and an update on our transition plans. Here’s the info:
Okay guys. It’s sign up time. The Men’s Retreat is just five weeks away. You can reserve your spot and let us know you’re planning to attend by clicking here.
Here are all the details.
Thanks for praying for Tom Arnold. He is still in the hospital but recovering well from his triple bypass surgery last week. I hear he’s even made a few phone calls to check on our construction project!
And congrats this week to Chris and Karen Lee on the arrival of their daughter Noelle. She was born Tuesday night at 7:04, weighing 6 lbs. and 10 oz.
Look for lots more baby news coming soon!
What is the Kingdom of God like? Jesus gives us word pictures to describe the Kingdom for us in a series of parables found in Matthew 13. We’ll look at those parables this Sunday.
See you in church.
Soli Deo Gloria!