The Reformation and Family Worship – Ray Rhodes

The Reformation era left a rich legacy of family worship. The goal of family worship is for you and your family to be exposed to the character of God so that you may know and worship HIm. Family worship involves regular family gatherings and will always include Scripture readings and prayer. However, you may also use other material that will help you to focus on the great work of God throughout history. Remember, as the Puritans taught, your home is a “little church” where Christ is to be worshipped. The little church does not replace the local church; however, faithfulness in family worship will greatly enhance the congregational worship of God.

Family worship is worthy of your attention. Though you may (and should) primarily think of men leading family worship one should not undervalue the role of godly women. Women were and are vital to family devotion.

The Puritan Thomas Manton, in the introduction to the Westminster Confession of Fatih, tells of the importance of women in family worship and management:

Especially women should be careful of this duty; because as they are most about their children, and have early and frequent opportunities to instruct them, so this is the principal service they can do to God in this world…And doubtless many an excellent magistrate hath been sent into the Common-wealth, and many an excellent pastor into the Church, and many a precious saint to heaven, though the happy preparations of a holy education, perhaps by a woman that thought herself useless and unservicable to the Church. Would parents but labor to affect the hearts of their children with the great matters of everlasting life, and to acquaint them with the substance of the doctrine of Christ, and, when they find in them the knowledge and love of Christ, would bring them then to the pastors of the Church to be tried, confirmed, and admitted to the further privileges of the Church, what happy, well-ordered Churches might we have!

Manton encouraged the usage of the Westminster Catechisms and Confession in the instruction of children. In this spiritual treasury we have a systematic diet of sound doctrine and instruction.

Truly our homes are to be “little churches,” schools and seminaries. Fill your shelves with good books and introduce them as friends to your family. Look for opportunities each day to point out the awesomeness of God displayed in all that He has created. Gather with your family regularly for more specific study of the Bible, the reading of biographies, prayer and singing.

Adapted from Family Worship For the Reformation Season, by Ray Rhodes, Jr. Order Ray’s books at and also visit Ray is the President of Nourished in the Word Ministries where he travels widely and speaks on Family Worship, Marriage and other subjects. He is the author of three family worship books, two books on marriage and two books directed to young people. You may contact him at

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