Family Worship—Vital for Survival!
IMAGINE how fear-inspiring “the war of the great day of God the Almighty” will be! (Rev. 16:14) In vivid figures of speech, the prophet Micah wrote: “The mountains must melt . . . , and the low plains themselves will split apart, like wax because of the fire, like waters being poured down a steep place.” (Mic. 1:4) What will be the disastrous result for those not serving Jehovah? God’s Word states: “Those slain by Jehovah will certainly come to be in that day from one end of the earth clear to the other end of the earth.”—Jer. 25:33.
In view of such warnings, family heads—many of whom are single parents—would do well to ask themselves about their children who are old enough to reason, ‘Will they survive this climactic event?’ The Bible provides assurance that they will if they are spiritually alive and strong to the extent appropriate for their age.—Matt. 24:21.
The Importance of Having a Time for Family Worship
As a parent, make sure that you do all you can to bring up your children “in the discipline and mental-regulating of Jehovah.” (Eph. 6:4) The importance of studying the Bible with your children cannot be overemphasized. We want our young ones to be like the Christians in Philippi, whom Paul commended for their willing obedience to Jehovah. He wrote: “My beloved ones, in the way that you have always obeyed, not during my presence only, but now much more readily during my absence, keep working out your own salvation with fear and trembling.”—Phil. 2:12.
Do your children adhere to Jehovah’s laws during your absence? What about when they are at school? How can you help your children to be convinced of the wisdom of Jehovah’s laws so that they are guided by these even when you are not present?
Family worship can play a large role in building your child’s faith in this regard. Therefore, let us discuss three key elements to making your family Bible study a success.
The Bible indicates that God’s angelic sons are invited into his presence at appointed times. (Job 1:6) Do the same with your children. Set a definite day and time for your Family Worship evening, and then stick to it. In addition, have an alternate time set aside to allow for unforeseen circumstances.
As the months go by, do not allow a hit-or-miss attitude to creep in. Remember, your children are your most important Bible students. Yet, Satan would like to make them his prey. (1 Pet. 5:8) If you give up this valuable Family Worship evening for a night of television viewing or some other mundane activity, Satan will have gained a victory.—Eph. 5:15, 16; 6:12; Phil. 1:10.
Make It Practical
The Family Worship evening should be more than an academic exercise. Strive to make it practical. How? At times, choose topics that pertain to what your child will face in the days or weeks to come. For instance, why not incorporate practice sessions for the ministry? Young ones enjoy doing things that they do well. Rehearsing presentations and thinking of ways to handle objections will help them to become more confident as they engage in various forms of the Kingdom-preaching work.—2 Tim. 2:15.
You can also have practice sessions that will help your children deal with peer pressure. Chapter 15 of the book Questions Young People Ask—Answers That Work, Volume 2, can be used as a basis for family discussion. The “Peer-Pressure Planner” on pages 132 and 133 provides suggestions and also allows opportunities for your child to create responses that he or she feels comfortable with. A statement at the bottom of page 133 encourages youths: “Rehearse your responses with a parent or a mature friend.” From time to time, why not make such rehearsals part of your Family Worship evening?
Family worship provides opportunity for parents to emphasize the benefits of having spiritual goals. In this regard, Young People Ask, Volume 2, has excellent information in chapter 38, entitled “What Will I Do With My Life?” While discussing the chapter, help your child to appreciate that centering one’s life on serving Jehovah is the best course to follow. Cultivate in your child’s heart the desire to pioneer, serve at Bethel, attend the Ministerial Training School, or pursue some other form of full-time service.
A word of caution: Some well-intentioned parents focus so much on what they want their child to become that they neglect to acknowledge what he or she is already doing. Of course, it is good to encourage your children to set such fine goals as Bethel service and missionary work. In doing so, however, be careful not to exasperate your child with your expectations and cause him or her to become downhearted. (Col. 3:21) Always remember that your son or daughter must come to love Jehovah with his or her own heart—not yours. (Matt. 22:37) So find ways to commend your child for what he or she is doing well, and resist the urge to focus on what he or she is not doing. Build up appreciation for all that Jehovah has done. Then let your child’s heart respond to Jehovah’s goodness.
Make It Enjoyable
The third key element for a successful Family Worship evening is to make it enjoyable. How can you accomplish this? Perhaps on occasion you could listen to one of the audio dramas or watch and discuss one of the videos produced by Jehovah’s Witnesses. Or you could read a portion of the Bible together, assigning a part to each family member.
There are features in The Watchtower and Awake! that provide an excellent basis for family discussion. For example, you might use the feature on page 31 of each Awake! magazine, entitled “How Would You Answer?” In every other issue, the public edition of The Watchtower contains the study project “For Our Young People.” These projects alternate with a series for younger boys and girls entitled “Teach Your Children.”
Articles in the “Young People Ask” series in Awake! will be of particular interest to parents of adolescents, as will the book Young People Ask, Volume 2. When using that book, do not overlook the box “What Do You Think?” at the end of each chapter. That box is more than a review. The questions in that box can be used as an outline for family discussion.
Be careful, though, not to turn the family study into an interrogation session. For example, do not try to force your child to read aloud what he or she has written on the pages entitled “My Journal” or in any of the other interactive portions of the book. In “A Note to Parents,” the book states on page 3: “To encourage your adolescents to write in their book with candor, allow them a measure of privacy. Later they may well open up to you on the issues they have written about.”
If you keep your family worship consistent, practical, and enjoyable, Jehovah will richly bless your efforts. This special family time will contribute to keeping your loved ones spiritually alive and strong.
[Box on page 31]
“When studying with our young daughters, my husband and I went over the material to prepare for a congregation meeting and then we had our girls draw a picture that summarized the lesson. At times, we reenacted Bible scenes or had practice sessions for field service presentations. We kept the study appropriate for their age, interesting, positive, and fun.”—J.M., United States.
“To help the son of my Bible student appreciate what it was like to use a scroll in Bible times, we printed out the book of Isaiah after deleting the chapter and verse numbers. We joined the pages and attached each end to a tube. The boy then tried to do what Jesus did at the synagogue in Nazareth. The account at Luke 4:16-21 relates that Jesus ‘opened the scroll [of Isaiah] and found’ the passage for which he was looking. (Isa. 61:1, 2) However, when the boy tried to do the same, he found it hard to locate Isaiah 61 using that long scroll with no chapter and verse numbers. Impressed by Jesus’ skill in handling scrolls, the boy exclaimed: ‘Jesus was awesome!’”—Y.T., Japan.
[Picture on page 30]
Practice sessions can help your children deal with peer pressure
[Picture on page 31]
Strive to make the Family Worship evening enjoyable