The family worship (see parts #1, #2) that Oliver Heywood envisioned contained three basic elements: reading scripture, singing Psalms, and prayer. To this we might add reading from works of great theologians or famous sermons, but only as a means for explaining Scripture. They would not be the sole point and purpose of worship. Within the pages of The Family Altar, Heywood gave numerous other instructions on how family worship should take place. Here are some of his suggestions.
1. When should families pray?
“1) You must be sure to pray for a blessing at meals, 1 Tim. 4:4, 5. 2) Take your family at meal time to seek God, and read his scriptures, to sing God’s praise, and to perform family duty, morning and evening. 3) Let it be a stated time, if possible, known to the family, that none may plead excuse for their absence: but that the whole family may attend. 4) Yet if some extraordinary accident intervene, you must not think yourselves so precisely bound to a time, as to be perplexed in conscience for omission, but take another more convenient time, which may more directly suit your occasions.” (Works, 4:407)
To continue reading Amy Mantravadi’s article, click here.