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Family Worship 

Spirituality in the Home

If ever there was a time when every house should be a house of prayer, it is now. Infidelity and skepticism prevail. Iniquity abounds. Corruption flows in the vital currents of the soul, and rebellion against God breaks out in the life. Enslaved by sin, the moral powers are under the tyranny of Satan. The soul is made the sport of his temptation; and unless some mighty arm is stretched out to rescue him, man goes where the arch rebel leads the way. 

And yet in this time of fearful peril some who profess to be Christians have no family prayer. They do not honor God in the home; they do not teach their children to love and fear Him. There are many who, like unruly children, have separated themselves so far from God that they feel under condemnation in approaching Him. They can not “come boldly unto the throne of grace”, “lifting up holy hands, without wrath or doubting.” They have not a living connection with God. Theirs is a form of godliness without power. 

The idea that prayer is not essential is one of Satan’s most successful devices to ruin souls. Prayer is communion with God, the fountain of wisdom, the source of strength and peace and happiness. Jesus prayed to the Father “with strong crying and tears.” Paul exhorts believers to “pray without ceasing,” “in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” “Pray one for another,” James says; “the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” 

By sincere, earnest prayer, parents should make a hedge about their children. They should pray with full faith that God will abide with them, and that holy angels will guard them and their children from Satan’s cruel power

In the family, order should prevail. The members should be trained to regular habits. There should be a fixed time for rising, a time for breakfast, and a time for worship, either directly before or directly after the morning meal. How appropriate it is for parents to gather their children about them before the fast is broken, and point them to the heavenly Father, who so liberally gives them the bounties of His providence! How fitting for them to thank Him for His protection during the night, and to ask for His help and grace and the watchcare of His angels during the day! How fitting, also, when evening comes, to gather once more before Him, and praise Him for the mercies and blessings of the day that is past! 

The father and, in his absence, the mother should conduct the morning and evening worship, selecting a portion of Scripture that is interesting and easily understood. The service should be short. When a long chapter is read and a long prayer offered, the service becomes wearisome, and a sense of relief is felt at its close. God is dishonored when it is made dry and irksome, when it is so tedious, so lacking in interest, that the children dread it. 

There is no reason why the hour of worship should not be the most interesting and enjoyable hour of the day. Questions may be asked, and a few earnest, timely remarks made. A song of praise may be sung. The prayer offered should be short and pointed. In simple, earnest words let the one who leads in prayer praise God for His goodness and ask Him for help. From time to time let the service be varied. As circumstances permit, let the children unite in reading and in prayer. 

Fathers and mothers, make the hour of worship intensely interesting. A little thought given to preparation for this hour will enable you to make it both pleasant and profitable. Eternity alone will reveal the good results with which such seasons of worship are fraught. 

The life of Abraham, the friend of God, was a life of prayer. Wherever he pitched his tent, close beside it was built an altar, upon which was offered the morning and evening sacrifice. When his tent was removed, the altar remained. And the roving Canaanite, as he came to that altar, knew who had been there; and when he had pitched his tent, he repaired the altar, and worshiped the living God. 

So the homes of Christians should be lights in the world. From them, morning and evening, prayer should ascend to God as sweet incense. And as the morning dew His mercies and blessings will descend upon the suppliants. 

Fathers and mothers, each morning and evening gather your children round you, and in humble supplication lift your hearts to God for help. Your dear ones are exposed to temptation and trial. Daily annoyances beset the path of young and old. Those who would live patient, loving, cheerful lives must pray. Victory can be gained only by resolute and unwavering purpose, constant watchfulness, and continual help from God. 

Parents, each morning consecrate yourselves and your family to God for that day. Make no calculation for months or years; these are not yours. One brief day is given you. As if it were your last on earth, work during its hours for the Master. Lay all your plans before God, to be carried out or given up as His providence shall indicate. Accept His plans instead of your own, even though their acceptance requires the abandonment of cherished projects. Thus the life will be moulded more and more after the divine Example. And “the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

Ellen G. White, Pacific Union Recorder, May 22, 1902