The foundation of every family is God, knowing, fearing and serving the almighty God. Today being the first Sunday of the new year is a good time to reflect on this focusing today on Christianity.
A family altar simply means family Bible study and worship time. Every Christian family should have such a time daily. It is really sad how few families really take this seriously and practice this routinely. It is the best guarantee to have Christian children with good moral standards that do not drift through the teen years, to have a family that has a witness for Christ in the community, and to have a family that takes the church seriously and enjoys going to all the services.
One of the most important things you can do to secure the spiritual atmosphere in your home is establish a place of corporate prayer. For many families this is a difficult thing to accomplish. Excuses range from Kids, to business trips, and extracurricular activities, hence they monopolize our time. Unfortunately, some homes go weeks and months without praying together. This isn’t a good habit at all. As 2017 starts today which happens to be a Sunday, try and cultivate the habit of having a family altar daily.
What Is the Purpose of the Family Altar?
There are so many reasons why having a family altar is important. The family needs to pray and intercede for others such as the pastor, missionaries, the sick, unsaved loved ones, the neighbors, fellow believers in need, the church, our president, the shut-ins, those who are in trial or going through persecutions. Children who can learn to pray openly at home will have no problem praying publicly in the church weekly prayer meetings as they grow.
While conducting a family altar, remember to vary the methods so as to keep family time from being boring and from being cold routine. Interest for all should be maintained so monotony does not kill it. Do not make it a time of forced listening to the Bible, of bitter participation, or unhappy endurance while you drone through whole chapters of the Bible beyond family comprehension and then drag the family through a long dry, routine prayer. If they participate in bitterness, they will abhor the family altar time.
Make it a delightful, happy, interesting time filled with enthusiasm so that the whole family looks forward to it with real expectancy. Never make it so long that the children despise the time it takes. Better have it short and sweet, vital and satisfying, so their appetites hunger for more. Let all participate and become involved. Those that can read should take turns in reading as well as in prayer.
Even the little children can say a few words in prayer even if they cannot read. They can be taught songs in which all can take part. Take time out for discussion, answering questions, solving problems, and for self-expression. All have some. Children especially are inquisitive and want to know.
Never spend time in criticizing or gossiping. This is not time to air church problems unless for a matter of prayer. Remember it is a worship time. Let the children that are old enough conduct the family worship time either in the whole or in part. Let them do it their way and express themselves.
It will create interest in it for them. This is also a good way to develop them spiritually and in self-confidence. They should be encouraged in what they do or say and not be belittled.
Praying together as a family should be a consistent and conscious effort. Inconsistency stumps our efforts and limits our growth.
Place this time together with your family as a top priority and stick to it. Do it until it becomes habitual in your schedule. We all struggle with making this happen on a frequent basis, but stay with it until it becomes a vital part of your daily activities.
During this time, talk with God and talk with one another. Share your burdens and your blessings. Keep a journal or notebook and record one another’s thoughts and concerns. To make it more lively, incorporate praise and worship at your family altar. Teach your children that worship is not confined to the walls of a church. Allow your home to become your sanctuary. Worship the Lord together and dedicate that special moment to the Lord as a family.
Remember, this is about building a family that functions in the body of Christ. The family that prays together, stays together as twenty years from now your children will cherish those small moments that you shared together.
Remember, you are not just building an altar, you are building a family. Children should learn to worship God in their early years that they might have respect for Him in the later years. They need to learn how to regard Him and to realize that He is the Creator, Holy, and to be honored in all that we say and do.