I love the 1828 Webster’s Dictionary definition of worship: To honor with extravagant love and extreme submission. It’s a verb! Worship comes from the Old Saxon word “worth ship,” meaning something we would assign worth or value to. To worship God is to assign the proper worth to God. Worship should be extravagant!
My mother had me memorize Psalm 100 when I was 4 years old as a basis for worship. Read Psalm 100 to your kids – or better yet, memorize it as a family. It explains why and how we worship.
1 Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
2 Worship the Lord with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.
3 Know that the Lord is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
5 For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.
God rules over all of creation and we worship as an expression of gratitude for His majesty. We worship God for this simple fact: HE IS GOD. God has done awesome things for us. We could worship Him in thanks and praise for eternity for those blessings alone. But there is an even better reason. Being the creator, the author, the Divine, He alone deserves all honor and praise. Everything comes from Him and through Him. What do you have that you can’t trace back to Him?
The Psalmist tells us that worship is a service to the Lord. I encourage you to make a list with your children, of ways we can worship God. They’ll probably lead the list with singing.
We can sing with or without music, with an orchestra, a band, or a single instrument. We can lift up our hands to God in praise, we can kneel down in reverence, we can jump and dance in joy, we can sing solemnly or loudly, or we can just listen and meditate on the lyrics. The important thing is that our hearts are in it.
God is in control of all things, He is our creator, and that we belong to Him. Worship is not just singing songs. Tithing is worship, too! So is serving God and others. Who could use some self-care? Rest is God’s idea. It’s called Sabbath. If you are feeling worn, trying taking your Sabbath (where we get word sabbatical) seriously. The Sabbath is about trusting God. Sabbath is about acknowledging a dependence on God, about ordering our life in obedience to Him and around Him.
We are to come into the Lord’s presence with gratitude and praise. Worship in church, together, as a family. Before the service begins, encourage your children to use the restroom and to get a drink of water. Do not let them get up and leave the sanctuary during the service. You know they are just bored. Start by sitting in the back, because you will need to take them out a few times at first. Don’t bribe them!
God is good, eternally loving, and continually faithful. Teach your children to prepare their hearts for worship! Set out everything the night before. Plan a grab-and-go breakfast or something very simple. I have paper plates on hand for things like this. In your evening family prayers, ask God to prepare all of your hearts. Watch what you listen to on the radio, on the way to church. That is not “Baby Shark” or Taylor Swift time. It is God’s time. The whole day is His, really. Listen to worship music on the way to church. Go over what to expect and how to behave before you get to church. If they can’t read the slides during worship songs, go over the songs ahead of time.
What will you teach your kids about worship?
From Rio Vista Community Church MoMs Magazine, January 2023.
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