Let’s Have a Family Altar


By: Edward T. Barram

B-r-r-r-r. The phone was ringing, and we were in the midst of family prayers. Mother quietly rose from her knees and tiptoed to answer it. The call was for me, but Mother said that I was busy and asked if the person could give me a ring later. I well remember how, when my buddy did call again, he asked why I could not answer the phone and I was
ashamed to tell him. What a rebuke it has been to me down through the years to realize that I was ashamed of my Lord!

Indelibly written on my impressionable child mind, the memory of those evening-by-evening prayer sessions still clings. After supper my dear old saintly Dad would take down the Bible. He might read the Scripture passage himself, or pass the good Book on to Mother or one of us children to read. Then we would all kneel to pray.

At first it was our parents and six children, then five, then four, then two. Now we are all away. But that rendezvous with God still takes place. I know that every night Mother and Dad take us all before the Throne of Grace, asking that the Lord shall have His way in our lives.

Today four of us boys-including the one who came to live with us-are in the gospel ministry, proclaiming the riches of His grace. The other two boys are actively engaged in Christian work. My only sister is a living testimony to God’s saving grace. Thus all of us are serving the Lord.

Recently I visited the homes of my brothers. I found that each one has a family altar. The children in those homes openly confess Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord, and take part in audible prayer. What a reward my old Dad already has for his faithfulness.

In these days, modern Christian parents desire to give their children a godly heritage and see them dedicate their lives to Christian service. With this in mind, they take them to Sunday School, bring them up in the church, and prepare them to go to a Christian college. All of these institutions are commendable. But I believe that the great and primary institution is the home, and that the first Bible training should center around the Family Altar.

Each day the children should be brought into the presence of God by their parents. During those early, impressionable years let the Family Altar become an unfailing factor in the children’s daily lives. Let the little minds understand that their father and mother have faith in a God Who cares for even the small things in their lives.

For today young people are asking us how such a great God could care for them. That question has never troubled me. I learned in my childhood that God was concerned for our family, was interested in the cattle on our farm and the sick horse in the stable; and that He yearned over the soul of our unsaved neighbor.

Parents, teach your children by way of the Family Altar. Although we read, “Bring the child up in the Sunday School and he will not he brought up in the law courts,” yet I maintain that Christian parents should go one step beyond this and bring that child up around the Family Altar.

Dad, Mother, if you do not have family prayer and Bible reading, let the word of one who owes his Christian heritage to that institution speak to your heart. Let my experience remind you that you owe it to your children. Even greater than that responsibility is your obligation to God, Who said:

“These words. . . thou shalt teach. . . 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.” Deut. 6:6, 7.

Many are the helps published today to encourage the maintenance of the Family Altar. Secure a daily devotional magazine or a book of daily readings. Set aside a time each day for prayer and the reading of God’s Word with all who may be in your home. You’ll be blessed. God will be honored.

Let’s have a family Altar!

(The above material was a tract published by Gospel Publishing House, Springfield, MO.)

Christian Information Network