Give Your Children a Family Altar

“He spake unto the children of Israel, saying, When your children shall ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What means these stones? Then ye shall let your children know, saying, Israel came over this Jordan on dry land. For the Lord your God dried up the waters of Jordan from before you, until ye were passed over…” Joshua 4:21-24.

Parents: Set up an Altar as a ‘memorial’ for your family.

The story is told about three adult children going back to the old homestead to settle the estate and to dispose of their parents’ clothes and possessions. The children had left many years before, scattered, and established themselves many miles apart. They had drifted away from their elderly parents and from their parents’ faith.

As they started to organize the stuff–most with little monetary value–they came upon an old bench that brought back so many memories. It was the bench that the whole family would kneel around each morning for family devotions. They gathered around it in silence. Finally one went and got the old family Bible out of a box they had just packed. She brought it back and opened it and placed it on the prayer bench. Without a word, all three knelt down and once again committed their lives to God–and to the faith of their parents.

I believe in memorials!

God commanded Joshua to choose a man from each tribe to pick up a boulder from the middle of dry Jordan and to take it up to the riverbank, there to make a pile of rocks. The reason given was that when the generations to come would ask their fathers, “What is the meaning of these stones?” the fathers were then to tell their children, “Son, we were a people wandering around in the wilderness…but God brought us across the Jordan on dry ground–with a mighty hand.”

I believe in memorial services.

God told Israel to kill a lamb, to roast and eat the lamb –but to also collect the blood in a basin and to gather the children around and paint the blood on the mantle and on the sides of the doorpost. So that when the generations to come would ask, “What does this service mean?” at the time of the Passover, the father was to reconstruct the service and retell the story of their deliverance from slavery.

The Outlet Campground in Ontario, Canada, still stands as a memorial in my mind–with it’s great tent, sawdust floors, dirt and flies–for there I met God. It also was the place my father wrestled with God and finally accepted his call to the Ministry.

At Sister Ruby Klemin’s Memorial the family gave out pine cones, bringing back memories of the pine cones thrown in the bonfires at the dedication services she held at Youth Camps around the country. It also brought back memories of the promises they made to God many years before.

I believe in a family altar.

I remember so well the Sunday that we came home from church and my daughter, Yvonne, looking me in the eye and saying, “Dad, why are we not having a family altar in our home?”

Yvonne was twelve years old at the time. Under conviction, I came up with excuses about being so busy and not having the time. I did believe strongly in breakfast–and eating breakfast together before we all went our separate ways.

God’s voice came to me that day so strongly; “You have time for breakfast, don’t you?”

“Yes, Lord we do take time for breakfast.”

God then said, “If you have time for breakfast, you have time to take down the Bible, read a passage and pray together.”

I said, “Yes Lord!”

That was over forty years ago, and for all these years we have set up a memorial of having family prayer at the breakfast table. It never was long–but it was so important. Yvonne is now my Pastor’s wife. [Not everybody can give the Pastor’s wife a hug and a kiss on Sunday morning.]

THE FATHER SHOULD BE RESPONSIBLE–if there is a father in the home.

  1. It must be a way of Life.
  2. It must be a Time and an Event.
  3. It should be a Place or a Piece of Furniture.
  4. The length should be determined by the age of youngest child.
  5. Do ask for Specific Things–so you can give Specific Praise.
  6. Do read the Bible as part of the Worship Service.
  7. Be Positive–make the service loving and warm.
  8. Make the service interesting.
  9. Make it a memorial–so that when your children ask…

Build an Altar!

  • Cain and Abel did it.
  • Noah did it–Genesis 8:21
  • Abraham did it–Genesis 12:7
  • Jacob did it–Genesis 28 & 32
  • Joshua did it–Exodus 17:15
  • Moses did it–Exodus 24 :4
  • Elijah repaired it–I Kings 18:30
  • Isaiah saw the Lord above it–Isaiah 6:6-7

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