Spiritual practices are inward and outward expressions of faith, rooted in Scripture and tradition, that draw us closer to God. They are disciplines, practices that require work and repetition, that we grow more comfortable with and better at the more we do them. And they are a critical part of the Christian life, helping us to mature in godliness.
1 Timothy 4 tells us this:
“Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance. For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe.”
But spiritual disciplines aren’t just for grown-ups! Kids can develop their spiritual muscles as well, practicing these helpful exercises alongside their parents or on their own. Childhood provides ample opportunities to develop other lifelong habits (like exercise, eating well, table manners, chores, etc), and many of the same concepts parents use to encourage their kids to develop those habits can be applied to teaching them spiritual practices!
Over the next few weeks, we’ll learn about 5 spiritual practices that you can help your kids cultivate. Today, we’ll discuss the practice of sabbath, where it comes from in Scripture, and ways to incorporate it into your family’s routine.
The Spiritual Practice of Worship
What is Worship?
Worship means showing reverence and awe to God, and God alone. In worship, we enter God’s presence and focus our attention only on him. We give thanks, we praise, we sing, we dance, we bring our whole selves (mind, body, and spirit) to spend time with God.
Verses about Worship
Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.’”
2 Chronicles 7:3
Then all the Israelites saw the fire coming down and the glory of the Lord above the temple, they knelt on the pavement with their faces to the ground, and they worshiped and gave thanks to the Lord, saying,
“He is good;
his love endures forever.”
Exalt the Lord our God
and worship at his holy mountain,
for the Lord our God is holy.
Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”
Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe.
Put it into practice: Read through these verses with your kids and spend time talking through what each one means. Ask your kids if there are any words they don’t know, or things they don’t understand. Learning about worship together as a family will increase your shared experience of worshiping God!
How to Practice Worship with Kids
Worship is a practice, which means it is something we do regularly. Your family may have a weekly rhythm of attending a worship service at church on Sundays, or you may have other daily or weekly ways of worshiping at home, school, or other church programs. Here are some ideas for helping your kids engage in the practice of worship:
1. Bring your body and mind to worship.
Help your kids engage in worship fully by going through a little routine before each time of worship, whether you are at home or in a church service. Point to different parts of your body and ask your kids what it should be doing during worship:
- Where do your eyes go? (Toward the screen, the musicians, or be closed!)
- What should your ears do? (Listen)
- Where do your hands stay? (Close to your body)
- What do you do with your mouth? (Worship and sing)
While worship does not mean just singing, singing praise is an important part of a life of worship. Music engages our brains (and especially kids’ brains!) in a beautiful and creative way, which is why it is such a significant part of worship services. For kids, singing may be the part of a worship service they are most engaged with. Dancing, singing, doing motions to songs, and hearing important truth sung all around them invite kids to worship God in a fun and meaningful way. Singing as worship can be practiced corporately and individually, making it a wonderful spiritual practice for kids to engage in on their own. And singing worship does not have to be formal! Perhaps it looks like having worship music playing while your kids play, or you make dinner. Maybe it’s what you sing together on the way to school in the morning. Everyday small moments of worship can be deeply effective in helping your kids understand how accessible God is and how we can be with him anytime and anywhere.
3. Confess and pray.
Confession and prayer are important parts of both corporate and individual worship. Confession brings our heart in line with God, by remembering how he loves and forgives us. Prayer draws us into communion with God, by inviting him into the moment with us. Teach your kids to confess their sins to God, either out loud or silently. Practice corporate confession through the line from the Lord’s Prayer, “forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” Then take a moment or two for kids to confess silently to God. A regular practice of confession reminds us of our brokenness and God’s mercy.
Learn More about Worship on Minno
Our new Minno Life Guide: Spiritual Practices shares more tips for cultivating a life of worship with your family.
Check out these fun shows and songs to learn more about worship on Minno: