Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Influence of Family Worship on Children

The Episcopal Recorder, Saturday April 29, 1848.

Influence of Family Worship on Children

The simple fact that parents and offspring meet together every morning and evening for reading the word of God and prayer, is a great fact in household annals. It is the inscribing of God’s name over the lintel of the door. It is the setting up of God’s altar. The dwelling is marked as a house of prayer. Religion is thus made a substantive and prominent part of the domestic plan. The day is opened and closed in the name of the Lord. From the very dawn of reason, each little on grows up with a feeling that God must be honored in everything; that no business of life can proceed without him; and that the day’s work or study would be unsheltered, disorderly, and in a manner profane, but for this consecration. When such a child comes, in later years, to mingle with families where there is no worship, there is an unavoidable shudder, as if among heathen or infidel companions. In Greenland, when a stranger knocks at the door, he asks, “Is God in this House?” and if they answer “Yes,” he enters.

As prayer is the main part of all family worship, so the chief benefit to children is, that they are the subjects of such prayer. As the great topic of the parent’s heart is his offspring, so they will be his great burden at the throne of grace. And what is there which the father and mother can ever do for their beloved ones, that may be compared with their bearing them to God in daily supplication? And when are they so likely to do this with melting affection, as when kneeling amidst a group of sons and daughters? And what prayers are more likely to be answered, than those which are offered thus? The direct influence of family prayer is then to bring down the benediction of Almighty God upon the children of the house. Divine authority, the example of all the godly in every age, and the practical benefits which are ever accruing from it, commend it to the adoption of every Christian household."