Gather Your Household At The Altar
Oh, how sweet are the moments of family worship, when parents and children come together and worship God! You can picture the presence of the angels and Jesus around the family, smiling and guiding their thoughts! Now, that God blessed me with children, I came to the realization that these moments of worship are one of the strongest spiritual influences and a special opportunity to learn about God for children.
Reading the Bible about the life of Abraham, I found this interesting passage that made me think. God says about Abraham; “For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him” (Genesis 18:19, NKJV, emphasis mine). God chose Abraham and trusted that he would guide his family in the way of the Lord. After reading this, I questioned myself: Can God say the same thing about me? Can He trust me that I will command and guide my family to walk in the path of the Lord?
God requires parents to raise their children “in the training and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4, NKJV, emphasis mine), and He says “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up” (Deuteronomy 6:6-7, NKJV, emphasis mine). Asaph in Psalm 78 says: “For He established a testimony in Jacob, And appointed a law in Israel, Which He commanded our fathers, That they should make them known to their children; That the generation to come might know them, The children who would be born, That they may arise and declare them to their children, That they may set their hope in God, And not forget the works of God, But keep His commandments;“ (Psalm 78:5-7, NKJV, emphasis mine). Also, as I read Ellen G. White’s writings on parenting, books like Child Guidance and Adventist Home, I could see how strongly she emphasizes the importance for parents to take time daily for family worship. Many of her words stood out to me. Here is one of them:
Charles Spurgeon, addressing this subject in 1800, spoke:
“Brethren, I wish it were more common, I wish it were universal, with all [Christians] to have family prayer. We sometimes hear of children of Christian parents who do not grow up in the fear of God, and we are asked how it is that they turn out so badly. In many, very many cases, I fear there is such a neglect of family worship that it’s not probable that the children are at all impressed by any piety supposed to be possessed by their parents.” (4)
There were times when I had a very busy day in front of me, and sometimes, we would skip the worship time, but I have come to realization that we should not sacrifice family worship for anything else. These are the most crucial moments for teaching children about the importance of the prayer and communion with God. I remember one day, we skipped the worship time because we had a busy day ahead of us, but later on in the day, I wasted one hour fixing my dryer because I had drop a pencil in it by mistake. So, my productivity that day was not great at all and I was also frustrated. On the other hand, I can testify from my experience that when we do have family worship, my productivity increases. When we start the day with God, we make better decisions with better outcomes. We are less frustrated and more positive. I realized that when we put God first in our lives, He will bless our efforts and we will be more productive and successful in our daily activities. The psalmist says the about the godly man that “whatever he does shall prosper” (Psalm 1:3, NKJV).
Family worship is the perfect time to teach children how to pray which is a very important lesson. Prayer should be frequent in the home and in any moment, we should be ready to gather and lift our petitions and praises to the Lord. “I know of nothing that causes me so great sadness as a prayerless home. I do not feel safe in such a house for a single night; … , (5)“ said Ellen G. White. Prayer should be always present in our home. We must make it a priority.
The other day, my older son, who is four years old, was teaching his two-year-old sister how to pray. She was repeating the words of his prayer after him. It was such a sweet moment! I can’t describe the feeling of joy, seeing him teaching her how to pray. The first prayer of my daughter, when she was just a year and a half, was “Jesus, Amen!” I will never forget that prayer! For me it was one of the most powerful prayers that I had ever heard that came out of my little lamb.
There are many times during the day when my children sing the songs that we sung in the morning for family worship or they recite the Bible verse that we have memorized. And that brings me tremendous joy! I remember one day, while working around the house, I saw my son with the ukulele playing and singing the worship song “Come, now is the time to worship.” I stopped from my work and watch him silently and glorified God for this. He was imitating me! I will never forget these kinds of moments! They will always remain in my mind, encouraging me and carrying a godly influence!
So, in my family we decided to never miss the worship time. We can miss anything else, but not this! And I pray and hope that God can say about me, the same words that He said about Abraham: “For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, …” . (Genesis 18:19, NKJV, emphasis mine).
I want to make an appeal to all Christian parents. No matter how busy your day or life might be, don’t forget to bring your family daily before the Lord! There is no greater success and achievement in this life that brings spiritual joy and peace than raising and seeing your household walking in the way of the Lord! It is worth all of our efforts. Make the commitment today, and say together with Joshua: “But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15, NKJV). May God bless our families and guide them! Maranatha!
(1) Ellen G. White, Testimonies for the Church, vol. 7, p. 42.
(2) Ellen G. White, Child Guidance, p. 519, 520.
(4) C. H. Spurgeon, “A Pastoral Visit,” Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, vol. 54 (London: Passmore and Alabaster, 1908; repr., Pasadena, TX: Pilgrim, 1978), 362–63.
(5) Ellen G. White, Child Guidance, p. 518.