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Pro Deo Gloria

Covenant Classical Christian School

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Children in Worship-Practical Tips

PRACTICAL TIPS FOR TRAINING VERY YOUNG CHILDREN TO STAY IN WORSHIP      

Mr. and Mrs. Sonny Anderson
Providence Reformed Presbyterian Church

Conyers, Ga.

“There was not a word of all that Moses commanded, which Joshua read not before all the congregation of Israel, with the women, and the little ones (toddlers) ....” Josh. 8:35.

“And all Judah stood before the Lord, with their little ones, their wives, and their children.” II Chron. 20:13.

“Also that day they offered great sacrifices, and rejoiced: for God had made them rejoice with great joy: the wives also and the children (infants) rejoiced ....” Neh. 12:43.[1]

“Gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children, and those that suck the breasts ....” Joel 2:16

“Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.” Mark 10:14. See also Matt. 19: 14; Luke 18:16.

 
 
I. BEFORE BIRTH:

1. Attend worship regularly, and sing, pray, and read Scripture at home, while they are still in the womb and can hear what is in their immediate environment just outside the womb.

2. Pray for your children before and from conception.

 
II. AT HOME
 

1. Pray with and for them from birth. Read regularly to them from their earliest days.

2. Begin consistent family worship at a very young age. Ideally, this should begin by the time they are 9-10 months old, but do not despair if your child is much older. Apply the same Biblical principles of discipline and prayer to the older child and, by God’s grace, they can make fast progress.

(a) Require them to sit in your lap and discipline them to be quiet, for only a minute or two at first, then gradually increasing the time.

(b) Teach (tell) them very plainly and repetitively what the words “be quiet” mean (i.e., no noises, crying or talking), but do not require quiet for too long in the beginning.

(c) Do not require them to be completely still at first, but only to sit in your lap.

(d) Give them spanks (age-appropriate pops, but they must have a sufficient “sting”) when they do not obey your direction to be quiet. “He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.” Prov. 13:24.

(e) Do not give them “second chances” to be quiet, as very young children do not understand and instead learn that they do not always have to be quiet when you say so.

III. IN WORSHIP
 

1. Keep them in worship (near the door) as much as possible, especially during the music. Most babies are much quieter when music is playing.

2. Apply the same rules you did at home during corporate church worship.

(a) Instruct them as to the reason for being quiet, i.e, to honor God in worship, and to not prevent other people from worshipping Him. “The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.” Prov. 29:15.

(b) Whenever they talk or cry out, immediately remove them from worship and spank them, unless they are in a condition of physical sickness or recovering from an injury. “Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying.” Prov. 19:18.

 

(c ) Use your church’s cry room, or ask your church to begin providing one.

(d) Try to make sure they have had a good sleep the previous night, but do not prevent them from going to sleep during worship until they are much older. The emotion of discipline may make them sleepy, and they can still hear the worship and realize that they were in worship.

(e) Do not require them to be quiet and completely still through both Lord’s Day services for a while. You may want to let them stand up, have a snack, or play with a silent toy in the cry room during the second service, but they should still be quiet.

Remember that your children, although sinful and foolish in their hearts (Prov. 22:15), are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psa. 139:14-15), are in God’s covenant (I Cor. 7:14), and, with a steady and loving hand of discipline, can usually quickly learn much more than they are given credit for. And they were made for worship, the most important activity they will ever undertake.

“Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell.” Prov. 23:13,14.

 


[1]Neh. 8:2-3 (10:28-29), “all who could hear with understanding” does not contradict the verses which indicate that covenant children were ordinarily present in worship, 10:35-36, 12:43. Neh. 13.23-24 explains the context of “understanding.” The problem was that many of the Israelites who had been in captivity no longer knew or spoke Hebrew, thus they needed interpreters. “All who could understand” refers to the interpreters, Neh. 8:7-8, 12. Derek Kidner, in his commentary on Ezra – Nehemiah, says that the law of God had always envisioned a wise and understanding people taught from childhood not only the words of God but what the words and rituals meant (Ex. 12:26ff, Dt. 4:6, 6:6ff, 31:12f.) and present in the worship of God, (Joshua 8:35, 2 Chron. 23:13. Joel 2:16).   Wayne Rogers

 

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