I. WHY DO WE NEED FAMILY ALTARS?
Family Altars are needed to help each person to become a self-feeder in relation to spiritual growth. The responsibility of nurturing Christians continues to move toward weekly Church reliance. Although, we should not totally neglect meeting together, we should also not neglect God’s design for the family being the primary place for spiritual growth. As we move closer to Christ’s return we must expect continued attacks on churches and religious freedom as individuals. Therefore, we must prepare ourselves now so that we, our children, and our grandchildren have what it is going to take to remain victorious in the coming battles.
not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching. (Hebrews 10:25)
And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates. (Deuteronomy 6:5-9)
II. THE BIBLICAL MODEL
Abrahamic Family Altar: Genesis 12:7-8, 13:14-18, 22:9, 24:1
The Altar is a place for intimacy and communion with God. Abraham was called the friend of God because of the way he related with Him. What made the difference was his attitude to the altar. The above scriptures reveal the consistency of his “altar life”. The greatest need for any family is to build an altar for God. God is looking for altar builders to commune with. When a family builds an altar for God, He will bless them just like He blessed Abraham. Abraham built an altar for God and because of that he became so intimate with God and God blessed him in all things.
For many Christian families, spiritual growth is tied to the Church alone. Because of this tendency, Godly leadership, family worship, family prayers, evangelism, and discipleship have been left up to the corporate church. There is power to release genuine blessings into families from the Family Altar. The Family Altar releases blessings into the home and is “Church in the home”. It is only through the family altar that spiritual exercises like prayer, teaching, praise and worship can be introduced into our homes. Church in the home also means God in the home and when God is in our home, He will surely bless our home.
Now it was told King David, saying, “The Lord has blessed the house of Obed-Edom and all that belongs to him, because of the ark of God.” So David went and brought up the ark of God from the house of Obed-Edom to the City of David with gladness. 2 Sam 6:12
III. THE BENEFITS OF FAMILY ALTARS
- Fellowship: it makes the family come together to pray, study the word, and worship.
- Blessings: as a result of the Family Altar, children are brought up in the fear of God. They are blessed by the Lord and in turn become a blessing to their family.
- Victorious Living: it is at the Family Altar that children develop godly virtues and values to live a stable, peaceful, and victorious life in the future. Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6)
- Prayer: children will also learn how to communicate with God at the Family Altar. This allows all of the family members to be involved in praying through the battles of life.
- Witnessing Power: the power of God is released for the benefit of the family and each family member can witness victories and grow in faith.
- Healing: the Family Altar is a place for repentance, forgiveness and healing.
- Unity: the Family Altar fosters unity, harmony and love in the family. Behold, how good and how pleasant it is For brethren to dwell together in unity! (Psalm 133:1)
IV. HOW TO MAKE A FAMILY ALTAR
- Schedule It: each family member should be encouraged to choose their own personal time with God each day. Then sometime in the middle of the week, when everyone can attend, the family should have a scheduled time to meet for the Family Altar.
- Use Accurate Bible Translations: each family member should be using a “word for word” Bible translation and not a “thought for thought” or “paraphrased” translation. Some “word for word” Bibles include the New American Standard, King James Version, New King James Version, and the English Standard Version. Some “thought for thought” Bibles include the New International Version, Christian Standard Bible, and the New Living Translation. Some “paraphrased” Bibles include the Message, the Good News Translation, and the New International Reader’s Version. If a “thought for thought” or “paraphrased” translation is going to be used, make sure and also have a “word for word” translation available to get a better accuracy in the translation of God’s Word.
- Worship: include songs and Scriptures to have a time of worship during the weekly Family Altar time. Links to the Daily Readings, Weekly Lessons, and video recorded worship songs are all available on our church website under this Family Altars link.
- Prayer: prayer journals are used to keep up with the family’s prayer requests. Alternating in who prays, teaches children how to pray and builds confidence in their ability to pray.
- Leadership: the leading of the devotion can be rotated between the family members to enhance Spiritual development and growth of everyone.
- Discipleship: explain to and discuss with others the Weekly Lesson making sure to relate the lesson to practical application in everyone’s life.
- Scripture Memory: family members should be encouraged to memorize Scripture that is relevant to each family’s dynamics and issues.