In Defense of Systematic Family Worship
That we should conduct regular worship in our home, in a formal and systematic setting is clear from the scriptures as the servants of God have practiced it. You can scarcely name a Biblical patriarch, but he has set up an altar for his family, and offered spiritual sacrifices upon it. Joshua resolves upon this, Joshua 24:15, “But as for me, and my house, we will serve the Lord;” let others do as they dare answer it another day, I with my children and servants must and will worship the Lord.
Worshipping God is serving him, Psalm 72:11, “All kings shall fall down before him; all nations shall serve him,” that is, by calling on God in prayer; doubtless Joshua did this. David, a great king, in the midst of political and ecclesiastical responsibilities withdraws himself from all, and returns to bless his house, 2 Sam. 6:20, which could be no other way but by prayer, and praising God for and with his family.
The fact that we may participate (occasionally or regularly) in public church services does not preclude the importance of worship in the home. Job rose up early in the morning, offered burnt-offerings, sanctified (blessed by prayer) the members of his family. We should not think that this was occasional or accidental, because the text clearly says, “Thus did Job continually,” Job 1:5. When Daniel went into his house and his windows were open in dining-room, it is clear that this was his usual practice and when he knelt three times a day, and prayed; Reputable expositors judge this to be consistent with “family-prayer”, and it was conducted in a manner so obvious and with such regularity that it was clearly discernible by his enemies. The devout captain Cornelius, who feared God with all his house, prayed to God with his family. Acts 10:2, which he declares, saying, “I prayed in my house,” ver. 30.
John Calvin observed, ” That Cornelius instructs his family in the fear of God, contemnting the fear of danger ; for, the Jewish religion was then hateful, nor might a Roman espouse a strange religion ; wherefore, although the sincere profession of the gospel is much decayed in the world, yet that fearfulness is too criminal, if on account of such unjust hatred, any one should not dare to dedicate or present his family as a sacrifice to God, by his pious instructions.”