As a young child, I can remember drifting off to sleep to the soothing sounds of hymns that my mother would play on the piano. To this day, the remembrance of that stirs fond memories in my mind. I grew up in a home that had an appreciation for all kinds of music, and yet I would have to say that it was the hymns that had the greatest impact on my life. Even during those young impressionable years, God used these great hymns of faith to touch my heart with assuring comfort. Little did I know how influential the place worship music would become in my life.
Through the years worship music continued to be a powerful tool that God used to draw me to Himself. In college I began to love the contemporary worship songs that I learned at Campus Crusade. It also became a significant part of mine and Chuck’s dating relationship not only as something that drew us to each other but also comprised much of our time together. We found that as our relationship with the Lord grew, our hearts were also responding with a growing desire to worship God through song. So much so, that it has become a defining part of our lives and our marriage. And naturally, since worship permeated life in our home, it then also extended into our parenting. It was such a joy and delight to bring sweet Rebekah, our first daughter home from the hospital. Although beautiful as she was, God deposited into our safe keeping an extremely colicky infant. Somehow I naively entered motherhood believing that my babies would love their cribs and automatically stop crying when placed in them for bed. So this new challenge caught me off-guard. After exhausting all we knew to calm Rebekah, the Lord led Chuck to what we had grown to love when we needed our own souls calmed. He stopped by the Christian bookstore and came home one evening with the lullaby tape “Sleep Sound in Jesus.” The wonderful soothing sounds helped calm Rebekah to sleep and we finally got some much needed rest too!
With each daughter the Lord placed into our care, our ultimate prayer was to lead them to a saving relationship with Christ so their heart would desire to know and worship Him. Whenever possible I would intentionally use Christian worship in our home as one of the means to direct their hearts to Jesus throughout the day. In fact it was always our choice of music to listen to whether on the radio or from CDs.
“From the rising of the sun to its setting, the name of the Lord is to be praised.” ~ Psalm 113:3
This verse captures what I hoped to build into our daughters’ lives and God led me to many practical ways to incorporate worship into our daily lives. It was so helpful to begin doing this while the girls were young. Whenever I had the girls have a quiet play time or when they were coloring, I would play a tape of children’s Bible songs. Or sometimes I’d have an impromptu praise time learning scripture to Steve Green’s “Hide em in your Heart” songs. To make raking pine straw in the backyard more fun I would lead them in singing their favorite Christian camp songs. Sometimes that meant the rakes would drop to the ground so we could add the hand motions. In the midst of these daily activities I loved helping them see God in all the little things around them and then help them understand why we are praising God. And, often, at the end of the day I had the joy and privilege of also playing hymns on the piano at bedtime.
During the early elementary school years I would send the girls off in the morning with a ‘song in their pocket’. They could pull it out of their pocket and sing it in their mind on their way to lunch. These were simple seeds planted in their heart in hopes that they would take root to develop an attitude of worship throughout the day.
Probably, some of our favorite family times were singing on our long 12 hour car rides to grandparents. Once on a trip to Texas to visit family, I brought the hymnal along knowing we would have plenty of time to memorize all the verses to a hymn. It was a wonderful way to redeem the time, helping to lay a foundation of truth while at the same time building great family memories worshiping together!
Through the years worship remained alive in our home as it was a way we continued to express our joy and trust in the Lord no matter the circumstance. It brings such delight to my heart now as a parent when I see our daughters’ choosing to listen to worship music while they study or to hear them spontaneously burst into singing a praise song. I know this is also because God has graciously allowed each of them to come into a genuine and beautiful relationship with their Lord and Savior.
I believe worship brings the presence of God into a home and can be one of the keys to open a child’s heart to see and know God. It may look different for each family. For us sometimes this meant playing it loud or dancing along. Whatever your style let your heart be filled with praise so that your children see your love of the Lord expressed through song.
My encouragement to all families is that you do not miss this vital part of spiritual development for your children within the home.