Thursday, November 29, 2018

Children and Worship

Reading about Susannah Wesley and the way that she ran her home has always inspired me and challenged me. To be honest, it has awed me. I believe that the Lord at certain times in history places His hand upon parents in a special way. He does this when He is preparing to use their children in a great work of His hand. We see this in the lives of Moses' parents; we see it in the life of Susannah Wesley, the mother of the great evangelist John Wesley and his brother-hymnwriter Charles. 

The other day, I read a story about Susannah that pertained to the way that she raised her children. It really encouraged me and spurred me on to press on with my little ones. We all have to admit that though there are many joys in bringing children up, there are also challenges and discouragement that comes along with the territory. We are not raising robots; we are raising fellow sinners saved by grace with wills sometimes as strong as iron. We have need of perseverance and I love how this story involving Susannah and one of her children speaks to this aspect of parenting. She was teaching one of her young children a piece of information in one of their lessons and her husband was listening. She repeated the same lesson over and over again and her husband interrupted her to say, "I wonder at your patience. You have told that child the same thing twenty times." She answered him with these words: "If I had satisfied myself in mentioning it only 19 times, I should have lost all my labor. It was the twentieth time when the lesson was finally learned." 

We have an opportunity as parents to lovingly and patiently impress lessons upon our child's hearts. They are listening. God has given us authority over them--but only for a short time. We have an opportunity by the grace of God, to be "unusual" parents--the kind that teach the lesson twenty times. God will reward us for our diligence and give us the strength that we don't have in our own flesh. One of these areas is teaching our children to worship. 

I believe that this is an area that is vital in encouraging children toward having a heart that loves and reveres our great God. Teaching our children to worship at home and in church is a tremendous part of their understanding of who God is and of how He impacts and relates to them--and what response this should illicit from them. 

This week, I've compiled some idea for encouraging children to worship in the house of God. Next week, I'll share some ideas for encouraging children to worship God in our homes. I pray that these would be an encouragement and I would love to hear your ideas as well! 

Encouraging Children to Worship in the House of God

Ideas for involving children in worship:

Preparing children for church~

  • Talk to children about church during the week; encourage children to be excited about going to church. Talk about how wonderful it is to be able to go into God's house and to meet with God's people. 
  • Prepare clothing, bags, anything else that is needed beforehand so that the morning isn't chaotic and rushed.
  • Play hymns/quiet music in the morning before going to church. Encourage a quiet atmosphere in the home that will be helpful in encouraging young, active children to sit still in church.
  • "Play" church at home. My kids love this! They will "act out" the service and play the different roles of Pastor, song leader, etc. It prepares their little hearts for "real" worship and sets the stage for participating in "real" church.
  • Practice sitting still at home. For a while, I believed that the Lord laid upon my heart to teach my children to sit quietly in church through listening to sermons at home together while they were expected to sit quietly. This was helpful in going to "real" church where they are expected to sit through the service quietly (this does not always happen, of course, but it is a work in progress! :-))
  • Talk about people who attend your church in a positive way during the week. Talk about how we are excited to see them, etc., and how good it is to be able to worship with the people of God. 

Encouraging children toward a worshipful and reverent attitude in church:

  • Encourage children and set an example of wearing our "best" to church (something special, according to your convictions). Iron it and prepare it ahead of time. Let your children see you do this.
  • From when children are very small, teach them to regard the sanctuary of the church as a special place to meet with God in worship. Encourage children not to run or shout in the sanctuary. Speak quietly as you enter the sanctuary and demonstrate a quiet, reverent attitude for your children. 
  • Children should speak quietly in the sanctuary as the family sits down and settles into their pew; help children to practice this.
  • Talk quietly to a child about each aspect of the service (without distracting those around you). Direct them to focus on what is taking place in the service. 

Encouraging Children to be Involved in Church: 
  • Let children hold a hymnal; encourage them to follow along and to sing the hymns and if they are not able to read yet, to hum the tunes of the hymns!
  • Let children bring an offering or hold the family's offering and let them put it into the plate as it is passed around. 
  • Point out the different leaders in the church. 
  • Encourage children to listen to the speaker as they bring the Word. 
  • Demonstrate an attitude of serving/helping at various functions that the church holds. Encourage children to come alongside in helping at these functions rather than always allowing them to play while the adults work. 

Enjoying children in church:
  • At times we wish that we could listen to the sermon/be able to worship ourselves without distraction. Remember that children are only little once--for a very small window of time. Cherish this time of training your children in church while they are young--this season will soon pass, and you'll probably wish that you could have it back! 
  • Remember our Lord's admonition to Peter to "feed (His) sheep." What a blessing and a privilege it is for us as parents to train these little ones in the ways of the Lord! 
  • Be thankful for the little souls next to you in the pew and enjoy watching them worship as little children. They can actually teach us a lot about true worship. 

Of course, many of these ideas will look different at different ages/stages of a child's life . . . the goal is not perfection, but purpose. Are we purposing in our hearts as parents to teach our children how to reverently worship the Lord? Or are we distracted or distanced from our children? It may also look different for different families--some families have one child; some have 7; obviously the dynamic in the pew might change according to the number of children a person has. Family situations are different. Some people face parenting alone as a single parent or as the partner of an unbelieving spouse. They are trying to parent alone. God gives grace in every situation. Lay hold of His promises and obey Him to the best of your ability and He will bless you. 

Above all, press on . . . some weeks may bring discouragement. Children misbehave. Parents get tired and frazzled, but press on. The Lord will reward your efforts with your children and give you fruit as you seek to honor Him in raising up your little ones to know and to love the Lord. He will bless you. Do you want children who love and serve the Lord as they grow older? Is that the desire of your heart? Press into His ways and He will bless you--we will never train our children perfectly, but the Lord knows the intent and desire of the heart. Do your best and don't quit. I was listening to a sermon from Pastor Charles Stanley the other day that really spoke to me in regards to my children. He was talking about prayer, but this applies to any aspect of our walk with the Lord. Stanley said, "Just beyond where we stop is God's very choice blessing. When you want to stop, DON'T STOP." 

Train your children to worship. Help them, guide them, direct them. Children need and crave direction. Enjoy them; enjoy this season in your life. And above all, don't stop

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Inspire Me MondayLiteracy Musing MondaysThe Modest MomRaising Homemakers, Classical HomemakingA Wise Woman Builds Her Home, Woman to Woman Ministries,  Testimony TuesdayTell His Story, Messy Marriage,  Imparting Grace, Thought Provoking ThursdaySoul SurvivalGood Morning MondaysThe Weekend BrewCounting My BlessingsThe HomeAcre Hop, Mommy Moments Link UpGrace and Truth LinkupFaith Filled FridaySHINE Blog HopRaRaLinkupWord of God SpeakBooknificent ThursdayLiving Proverbs 31Coffee For Your Heart Weekly LinkUpYou're the Star Blog HopHomesteader HopFresh Market FridayHeart Encouragement Thursday Sitting Among Friends Blog PartyFabulous Warm Heart PartyOh My Heartsie Girls Wonderful Wednesday LinkupWriter WednesdayTea and Word


  1. Hi Rebekah, This is SUCH good advice! I could have really used this when my boys were little. But, now I can pass this on to them for my grandchildren! I especially liked the idea to practice by listening to sermons at home. Genious!

    1. Yes; the "sermon sitting" :-) was really helpful! I'm glad that this post was an encouragement! The Lord bless you and your family.

  2. I love this post!
    Watching my own children (and now my grandchildren) sit in a pew, I know it's possible for little minds to connect with the Truth in this way. Sometimes they come out with some interesting (verbal and audible!!) responses that might gain a chuckle in the moment, but they reassure me that they really are listening.

    1. Yes; that is very true!! :-) It's amazing to me what little children retain.

  3. Lovely post full of encouraging truths, Rebekah. Shared it on Pinterest. Blessings to you!

  4. Hi Bekki, This post is beautiful!! I LOVE all the insights and ideas you shared for preparing little hearts to worship! I especially loved the "playing church at home" and the children acting out in the different roles. What a beautiful way to instill a love for worship. Truly everything you shared is just wonderful.

    Your diligence in teaching your children and raising them up in the Lord is so evident in the sweet, and sometimes funny ;-) anecdotal stories you share about them.

    Sending you much love dear friend.

    1. Oh, I'm glad that you enjoyed this post, Karen! :-) Sending much love to you as well!

  5. God has given me such a love for children. I'm thankful to be in a church where the children are encouraged to worship and are included. Thanks for sharing what you have learned. Blessings to you! I'm your neighbor at #InspireMeMonday.

    1. That is a wonderful gift, Gayl! Blessings to you as well!

  6. These are awesome ideas! I'm sharing this on my Hacks for Busy Mom's Pinterest board :).

    1. Thank you for sharing it, Anita! The Lord bless you--

  7. I love, love, love these ideas because I do not know how to get my youngest stepson to focus at church. He is super sweet but gets distracted or "bored" at church. I am going to definitely try some of these tips!

    1. Yes; I can understand that struggle, Angie! The Lord bless you as you raise your little stepson in His ways!

  8. Wonderful post! You gave so many great ideas. One thing my husband and I do, is after the sermon we ask the kids what they thought or if they have any questions. This encourages them to really listen and pay attention. Thank you for sharing this. I am sharing to my board "Raising Disciples" on Pinterest.

    1. That is a very good idea! Thank you for sharing that with me <3. The Lord bless you!