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Establishing Family Altars
What is a family altar, and why is it essential?
Children are a gift from the Lord and parents have the awesome responsibility to raise them in His ways. This can be done in part by establishing a family altar – regular times where the family comes together to learn and apply biblical values into everyday life.
"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up."
- Deuteronomy 6:5-7
So what have our pastors been doing to set up their family altars? Read on!
(Please note that ages of the children are as of 2018)
Why is it essential to set up a family altar?
To keep focus on God and allow Him to shape the minds and lives of your family, not the world.
As a reminder of the need for God
To demonstrate godly values and live out the faith
To grow in relationship with God through the practice of various spiritual disciplines
As an opportunity for you and your family to encounter God’s love and His goodness
How to (re)start your family altar
Make family altar time a joy to have, not a duty or chore. Adjust within your family’s ability in terms of frequency, duration, and activities
Model a posture of anticipation and excitement when coming before the Lord
Partner with your spouse in preparing and engaging the rest of the family
Demonstrate God’s love by being there for your family through every struggle, and celebrate victories together
Share testimonies and pray for one another
Guard your family altar time
Recommended family altar activities
Infants and toddlers
Simplify prayer language, repeat it, and make prayer part of the night time routine - Pastor Esther Lee, mother of Elkan (3)
Young children (ages 4-9)
Use the DiscoveryLand power word and tools like Discoveryland Pack available online - Pastor David Chng, father of Jared (9)
Help them see the God is interested and involved in their lives, share your life with them - Pastor Victor Toh, father of Raena (8)
Teach them how to manage disappointments with godly values (e.g. self-control, discipline) - Pastor Gary Chia, father of Gabriel (9)
Pre-teens and teens (ages 10-17)
Encourage them to read the Bible on their own and discuss how godly principles and values can apply in their issues and situations - Pastor Kenny Sng, father of Javan (14), Keagan (12), and Ian (10)
Maximize informal family altar time Be open to hearing their questions and perspectives and enable them to come to their own convictions through sharing your faith stories - Pastor Johnathan Lee, father of Hannah (25) and Odelia (24)
Cover them in prayer - Pastor Wendy Chang, mother of Charis (17) and Elise (11)
Transit from role of teaching and talking to learning and listening, and share regularly about what God is doing in your lives and ministries. Encourage them to live out the faith in all areas of their lives - Pastor Edward Lim, father of Chloe (26) and Inez (24)
If they are not staying in the same house, commit to keeping in touch via technology platforms such as Whatsapp, FaceTime, and other means. Arrange for regular electronic family altar time, making it a platform for accountability, prayer requests and testifying of God’s faithfulness - Pastor Leslie Lam, father of Nicholas (29), Pamela (26), Dominic (23)
A big thank you to the pastors who contributed to this article
Pastors Alan See and Melina Hee
Pastor Danny Leong
Pastor David Chng
Pastor David Sashi
Pastor Edward Lim
Pastor Esther Lee
Pastor Gary Chia
Pastor Johnathan Lee
Pastor Kenny Sng
Pastor Leslie Lam
Pastor Melvin Lim
Pastor Titus Thevathasan
Pastor Victor Toh
Pastor Wai Wai Chang
Pastor Wendy Chang
This article was adapted from Family Altars: Establishing God's Tent in the Home, Issue 02/2018,Trinitarian Magazine
Reflect & Respond
How can you intentionally incorporate time for a family altar for God in your household schedule?
How has focusing on God transformed your family life?
This article is part of our R.E.S.E.T. Toolkit Refresh. Encourage. Strengthen. Empower. Thrive.