Christian Service


The Importance of the Family Altar

You who profess to love God, take Jesus with you wherever you go; and, like the patriarchs of old, erect an altar to the Lord wherever you pitch your tent. A reformation in this respect is needed,—a reformation that shall be deep and broad.—Testimonies for the Church 5:320, 321. ChS 209.3

Satan makes every effort to lead people away from God; and he is successful in his purpose when the religious life is drowned in business cares, when he can so absorb their minds in business that they will not take time to read their Bibles, to pray in secret, and to keep the offering of praise and thanksgiving burning on the altar of sacrifice morning and evening.—Testimonies for the Church 5:426. ChS 209.4

Let the family worship be made pleasant and interesting.—Testimonies for the Church 5:335. ChS 209.5

They [children] should be taught to respect the hour of prayer; they should be required to rise in the morning so as to be present at family worship.—Testimonies for the Church 5:424. ChS 209.6

Children need to have religion made attractive, not repulsive. The hour of family worship should be made the happiest hour of the day. Let the reading of the Scriptures be well chosen and simple; let the children join in singing; and let the prayers be short, and right to the point.—The Southern Watchman, June 13, 1905 (The Review and Herald, March 18, 1902). ChS 210.1

At the family board and the family altar the guests are made welcome. The season of prayer makes its impression on those who receive entertainment, and even one visit may mean the saving of a soul from death. For this work the Lord makes a reckoning, saying, “I will repay.”—Testimonies for the Church 6:347. ChS 210.2

Children should be taught to respect and reverence the hour of prayer. Before leaving the house for labor, all the family should be called together, and the father, or the mother in the father's absence, should plead fervently with God to keep them through the day. Come in humility, with a heart full of tenderness, and with a sense of the temptations and dangers before yourselves and your children; by faith bind them upon the altar, entreating for them the care of the Lord. Ministering angels will guard children who are thus dedicated to God. It is the duty of Christian parents, morning and evening, by earnest prayer and persevering faith, to make a hedge about their children. They should patiently instruct them,—kindly and untiringly teach them how to live in order to please God.—Testimonies for the Church 1:397-398. ChS 210.3

Abraham, “the friend of God,” set us a worthy example. His was a life of prayer. Wherever he pitched his tent, close beside it was set up his altar, calling all within his encampment to the morning and the evening sacrifice. When his tent was removed, the altar remained. In following years, there were those among the roving Canaanites who received instruction from Abraham; and whenever one of these came to that altar, he knew who had been there before him; and when he had pitched his tent, he repaired the altar, and there worshiped the living God.—Patriarchs and Prophets, 128. ChS 210.4