During the pandemic, a pastor should supervise the believers’ personal worship (personal devotion), public worship (church’s online worship in the pandemic) and urge believers to establish family worship at home, so that they can continue to grow spiritually and stop the spread of the pandemic.
"The altar of family prayer is like a wall, which brings peace to our lives and protects the order of our public worship."
A few days ago, Pastor Liu Guanxiong shared a sermon entitled "Three Kinds of Worship are Promoted or Established by the Church in these Special Times", focused on sharing how to build family worship on the basis of the previous family prayer altar.
He mentioned the two rural churches he served, and he shared in these two churches how they supervised the believers' personal devotions through telephone and web during the pandemic, and regularly carried out public worship, also referred to as joint family worship.
Pastor Liu said: "Family worship is an important link between personal devotions and public worship in the church." He gave an example in the Old Testament: When the Israelites returned after the captivity, the first thing the returnees did was to rebuild the altar. But the enemy repeatedly destroyed the temple and prevented it from being rebuilt. So when Nehemiah returned to the country, the most important thing he did was to rebuild the wall to protect public worship and keep order in the temple.
Pastor Liu explained that family worship was built on the family prayer altar. When a person accepts Jesus and has spiritual life, he wants to live a holy life. He repents and is comforted in the Lord. After repentance, good behavior is first shown in the family. The family is the best and most direct place to practise the Christian life and demonstrate good behavior. Only when there is you practice well in the family, and you can have better behavior in the church. So family worship is also an important and effective guarantee for public worship.
Regarding the important influence of family worship, he quoted the teachings of the Bible: take good care of his family and make his children obedient in all things. How to take care your family? Educate your children according to the teachings of the Old Testament and the New Testament, and rebuild the family according to the principles: the husband loves the wife, the wife submits to the husband, the children submit to the parents in all things and honor the parents.
"Family worship is led by the head of the family who is under Christ, who is mainly the husband. He leads other family members to carry out daily worship in the home, once or twice a day. "
At the same time, Pastor Liu shared three main differences between family worship, personal devotions and church public worship.
1) Family worship cannot replace personal devotions. Personal devotions include learning, singing and praise practiced in private, and in family worship all family members gather together, reading scriptures and singing hymns.
2) You should not completely imitate the form of a Sunday church service in family worship. Otherwise, individuals and family members will feel warmth in family worship, but gradually indifferent to the church's public worship;
3): The sacraments cannot be performed during family worship. You can also obtain the consent of the local church’s pastor to let the wife lead family worship temporarily if the husband is ill or he doesn’t believe in the Lord. But she personally must pray urgently so that her husband believes in the Lord and be the suitable family leader. It is in accordance with the principles of the Bible.
So, how should family worship be practiced? Pastor Liu proposed 4 steps.
1. Worship should be led by the patriarch. The family should pray for the church and the country, especially for Wuhan in the current pandemic, for the compatriots, for the godliness of each family. Pray to God for these things one by one. The most important thing is to pray for that everyone is able to keep watch for the soul. The second thing to pray for is personal matters;
2. Sing hymns after prayer. Choose hymns that praise God with a grateful heart;
3. Read the Bible according to the plan led by the family patriarch, or take turns reading the Bible aloud;
4. Study and recite.
-Translated by Abigail Wu