“We get so interested in discussions during the Family Worship evening that it often goes on till late at night if I don’t stop my family,” says a father in Brazil. A father in Japan says that his ten-year-old son does not seem to realize how long they have been studying and wants to continue. Why? The father explains that his son “is motivated, and that contributes to his joy.”
Of course, not all children are excited about family worship. Some do not even enjoy it. Why not? A father in Togo says from experience, “The worship of Jehovah should not be boring.” If family worship is boring, it could mean that changes need to be made to the way it is conducted. Many families have discovered that family worship can be “an exquisite delight,” just as the Sabbath was to some Israelites.
Christian fathers should make sure that their family feels relaxed during family worship. If fathers do this, then the family will enjoy it much more. Ralf, who has three daughters and one son, says that their family worship is more like a conversation than a study. How so? Everyone shares in the discussion. Yet, keeping everyone interested and involved in the study may be difficult at times. One mother admits, “I do not always have the energy to make family worship as enjoyable as I would like it to be.” Can you make your family worship more enjoyable?
FLEXIBILITY AND VARIETY
“We have to be flexible,” says a father of two in Germany. Natalia, a mother of two, says, “The most important thing for our family is variety, variety, variety.” Many families divide their family worship into different parts. Cleiton, a father of two teenagers in Brazil, explains that by doing this, the study becomes much more interesting “and gets all in the family involved.” If there is a big age difference between the children, parents can give attention to the needs of each child by dividing the study time. Also, the parents can be flexible when deciding what publications the family will study and how they will study them.
What are some families doing to have more variety in their family worship? Some start their family worship by singing songs to Jehovah. “It creates a good atmosphere and mentally prepares us for the material at hand,” says Juan in Mexico. His family picks songs that are related to the information that will be studied that evening.
Many families read a section of the Bible together. For variety, each family member reads the part of a different character. In the beginning, this did not feel natural for a father in Japan, who admits that for him it was “a bit unusual to read that way.” But his two boys were happy to see their parents enjoying family worship with them. Some families even act out Bible stories. Roger, a father of two sons in South Africa, says that children “often see things in a Bible account that we as parents have missed.”
Something else that families can do for variety is to work together on a project, such as building a model of Noah’s ark or of Solomon’s temple. Doing research for these projects can be exciting. For example, in Asia a five-year-old girl along with her parents and grandmother tried this. In their living room, they all worked together to make a board game based on the apostle Paul’s missionary tours. Other families have made board games based on stories from the book of Exodus. Variety “brought new life to our family worship and into our family itself,” says 19-year-old Donald in Togo. Can you think of a project that will make your family worship even more enjoyable?
PREPARATION IS NECESSARY
Even though variety and flexibility make family worship interesting, more is needed for all to benefit. Everyone needs to prepare. It may be difficult for children to sit and study for a long time, so a father must carefully select information that will be interesting to the children. Then he must take time to prepare well. One father says, “When I am prepared, everyone has a more meaningful study session.” A father in Germany tells his family what they will study during family worship for the next month. One family with six young children in Benin sometimes watches one of the organization’s DVDs as part of their family worship. How does the family prepare? The father gives them a list of questions ahead of time. Preparation certainly makes a difference in the quality of our family worship.
When the family know ahead of time what will be considered, they can talk about it during the week. Then they will look forward to the study with enthusiasm. And if everyone in the family has an assignment, each one will feel that it is his or her family worship.
Many families find it difficult to have their family worship regularly. Why?
Some parents have to work long hours just to feed their families. For example, one father in Mexico leaves home at six o’clock in the morning and does not return until eight o’clock in the evening. Or there may be times when some need to change the day of their family worship because of another spiritual event, such as the circuit overseer’s visit or a district convention.
Despite difficulties, we need to be determined to have family worship regularly. Eleven-year-old Loïs in Togo explains how important this is to her family. “Even though we sometimes have to start our family worship late because of something that has come up during the day, we always have our family worship.” So it is a good idea to schedule your family worship early in the week. Why? Because if something unexpected happens, you can reschedule family worship for later that week.
Why do we call it family worship? Because it is part of our worship to Jehovah. Together as a family, we can offer a sacrifice of “young bulls,” that is, praise to Jehovah. (Hosea 14:2, ftn.) May each one in the family enjoy family worship, because “the joy of Jehovah is your stronghold.”