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Leading a simple time of worship in your home

February 20, 2010 1 comment

Some of the most meaningful times of worship I experience happen in our living room with my wife and children.  And its not hard to lead a simple time of worship in your home.  I want to walk you through the simple order we followed tonight as we ended our Saturday with praying, singing and Scripture.

  1. Prayer for others.
  2. Worship with singing.
  3. A brief Scripture reading.
  4. A brief prayer.

1) Prayer for others. During this time I instructed our children to think of one person who needed prayer because they were a) isolated/lonely  b) because they were dealing with challenging physical problems  c) because they do not yet follow Jesus.  I also asked them to pray according to their faith.  This means they were to pray for what they believed God would actually do–not merely what sounded good or what God “could” do.  For instance–my 83 year old grandma fell and fractured her hip and broke her arm last week.  I told them that unless they believed God was nudging them to pray for her miraculous healing, they should instead focus their prayers asking God to give her a heart of trust through a painful trial and that she’d be able to sleep and get enough rest.

After instructing, I invited them to pray in whatever posture they wished.  Two of them stood and moved around, two sat down. (I encourage them to experiment in their prayer posture so that they realize prayer is not a religious thing but a life thing.)  Then we prayed.  It was good to hear the kids praying from the heart.  I’ve noticed that a little instruction before prayer helps them pray with more confidence and understanding.

2)  Worship with singing. Our singing tonight really ministered to my heart and moved me toward God.  We used two songs with lyrics from youtube.  Yes, youtube.  Here are the links from tonight’s songs:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8welVgKX8Qo and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6g6uUelCtUE. Tonight we stood as we worshiped but we often sit while singing too.  The youtube songs with lyrics are so valuable because the words are right there for you.

3)  A brief Scripture reading. I read from the same passage I had read earlier today:  Isaiah 12.  I chose this passage because it moved my heart this morning.  I didn’t preach.  I just read it and told my family how it encouraged me because it reminded me how grateful I am for Jesus.  I actually got a bit choked up.

4)  A brief prayer. I finished our time by praying that my children would encounter God in a way that they would know Him for themselves–I often pray this in front of them and in secret.  Then we sent them to bed.

We have times of worship like this on an infrequent/semi-regular basis.  Every time we do it I’m grateful we did.  Take one small step: take a risk and lead your home in a time of worship.

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It follows you

December 3, 2009 2 comments

Dallas Willard, in his book The Great Omission, repeatedly points to bible memorization as the most important spiritual discipline a follower of Jesus can engage in.  His words have motivated me to climb a mountain in memorization.  With my son as my coach, I have begun memorizing the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7). It has really put a log on the gospel fire in my heart.

Here are some reasons why I think memorizing the Bible is so powerful:

  • It passively supplies biblical language to your prayers.
  • It causes many life situations to bring specific Scripture to your mind.
  • It empowers the Holy Spirit to nudge you back toward Jesus.
  • It excites your heart–you know that you have locked up treasure when you can repeat Scripture without a Bible.
  • It gives you a tangible spiritual reality when so many spiritual realities are intangible.
  • It brings joy, all by itself.
  • It treasures what God treasures–His words to people.
  • It breeds faith and courage.
  • It follows you (even when you aren’t feeling up for following Jesus.)

Here are some reasons why I believe we don’t memorize the Bible:

  • No one challenges us to.
  • It seems like it will be too hard.
  • We’re not sure it’s any more valuable than merely reading the Bible.
  • We’ve believed lies about what our memory is capable of and so we give excuses: “I’m too old”, “I’m not a good rememberizer”, “I don’t have time to memorize things”.
  • We lack tools or methods that would help us.
  • We’re apathetic or at least haphazard in our commitment to spiritual growth.
  • We’re pretty content with far less than God’s best.
  • We’re intimidated by the scope of the whole Bible so we fail to take a small first step in memorizing it.

So please, let me give you this simple, bite-sized challenge:

  1. read a chapter of the bible today
  2. pick one verse from your reading
  3. write it down on a piece of paper
  4. put it in your pocket
  5. memorize it before you go to bed tonight

(And no, John 11:35 does not qualify for this exercise.)