In Old Testament times, people built altars to God to commemorate something He had done. Altars served as a memorial to teach succeeding generations about God and His character. Gathering for a family “altar” or a devotional time is a good way to teach your children about God and His ways.
As you establish your family altar, you will need to build it out of the unmovable rocks of resolution. The reason you have to be resolute is that it will be a battle. You will find that there are many excuses for not having devotions. “Circumstances” will constantly crop up. You may be pressed for time, feel tired, or simply want to catch up on the news of the world. Your kids will occasionally groan when you announce that it’s time for devotions. Perhaps you think you don’t have the ability to teach the Bible. As you face distractions of various kinds, keep in mind one very powerful reason for daily devotions: the eternal salvation of your children.
Here are some practical points to consider when establishing a family altar.
Open in Prayer
Begin devotions by thanking God for your family and then prayerfully asking Him, “Open my eyes, that I may see wondrous things from Your law” (Psalm 119:18). The Bible uses the phrase “the Law” to refer at different times to the entire Word of God, the Law of Moses, and the Ten Commandments. The Ten Commandments are the very backbone of Holy Scripture. We must seek the help of God’s Holy Spirit if we are to comprehend the incredible things God has in His Law. The apostle Paul said, “I delight in the law of God” (Romans 7:22). Why should we delight in God’s Law, even though we are not saved by our obedience to it? It is because the Law reveals God’s holiness, His righteousness, His justice and truth. It is the very instrument that the Holy Spirit uses to convert the soul (Psalm 19:7). It is the means by which the way to the sinner’s heart is prepared to receive the grace of God. If we want our children to be truly converted, we must first know the wondrous things from His Law, and that comes only by prayer and revelation of the Holy Spirit.
Read the Bible Out Loud
The Bible says, “A servant of the Lord must…be able to teach” (2 Timothy 2:24). So if you’re worried about a lack of teaching ability, don’t say, “I can’t teach”; say, “Success comes in cans.” Memorize this promise from Scripture: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).
Simply start by reading five verses from one of the Gospels. Then have each family member read five verses; this will not only help them become more confident in reading out loud but will help them remain attentive. Pause now and then to ask what they think a particular verse means. Be ready for (and don’t be discouraged by) a regular “I dunno.” Tell your children what you think the verse means, and continue with the reading, making use of any Bible cross-references.
If you have young children, start with a “picture” Bible. I did this many years ago when I found a Bible full of beautiful pictures of Adam and Eve, Noah’s ark, David and Goliath, etc. But when I turned to the New Testament, I found a picture of King Herod being presented with John the Baptist’s head on a plate! John’s eyes were vacantly staring into space, and his mouth was gaping open! It was horrible. So, I took some crayons, and (God forgive me) I changed John the Baptist’s head into a birthday cake. For years my kids must have been mystified about why King Herod’s guests were so horrified at the sight of a cake.
Forget Your Inhibitions
This is not a time to worry about your dignity. Role-play with your kids when they are small. Be Goliath, and give each of them a turn at being David. Have them throw a pillow or other object at you, then fall down when you get hit. Act out Daniel in the lion’s den. Be a lion and roar. Play out Bible stories with your children whenever you can. It will help them retain the principles behind the story.
If I remember correctly, when kids hear something, they retain 10 percent of what’s heard. If they hear and see something, they retain about 40 percent. But if they actually experience something (see, hear, and participate in), they retain approximately 80 percent. (I can’t remember the exact statistics, because I only heard them.)
Use the time when they are young and impressionable to impress upon them eternal biblical truths. I was deeply into role-playing until one memorable day: as I was rolling around on the floor doing something incredibly funny, I looked up and saw that none of my children were even cracking a smile. They were looking down at me as though I was some kind of nut. It was then that I realized they were no longer impressed. The “impressionable years” had gone.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Ray Comfort