1. What are altars? Place of sacrifice. A place dedicated for worship. It is a head place of worship.
2. No defilement. You do not desecrate altars for people can kill you for doing so. Judges 6:27-32. One of the Jos crises, which triggered off riots in Northern Nigeria, started because a Christian pregnant woman allegedly urinated on a land only marked out with stones and she was stabbed to death with her 8 months pregnancy.
3. Position of Altar. No more sacrifices. Jesus is our sacrifices and High Priest. Heb. 4:14; 9:11.
B. Why Family Altar?
1. What are the differences between Quiet Time and Family Altar? Quiet time is a personal relationship with God. It is an individual matter with God. Family altar is where you connect your family and them that sojourn with you to God. (Please refer to the teaching on Quiet Time.)
2. Who are the sojourners and how do I deal with them? They are relations, friends, associates or workers who either permanently or temporarily stays with you. People who come for holiday or just to spend some time even if a night. You should make it compulsory for them to join you while holding the family altar or tell them to go and stay in a hotel. If the person is a Moslem and special to you let (compulsory) the person worship in the room where you made him/her sleep and not where you normally hold your family altar.
3. It is God’s plan. God deals with the family. He started by calling out by families. Sociologists even said the society is built on families.
4. Where is family altar held? A place that is common to everybody in the family or where the authority in the family has designated for that purpose. Your sitting room or family hall. You may use the parent’s room if you do not have an advantage of room and parlor as said in Nigeria.
5. Who leads the family altar? The family as head of the family. Where the family is not available; not ‘born again’; admitting inability to lead because of knowledge of spiritual things; not responsible enough to attend to attend or lead or indisposed, the wife, (not his parents) can act or take over. If the first child is matured enough to handle spiritual matters he/she may lead in the absence of the parents. Authority flows from the head. I always call every Christian man, no matter their positions in the Church but lead the family altar SUPER PASTOR. You are divinely ordained as Senior Pastor of your family and your wife is the Associate Senior Pastor. Your children are Pastors in your family if you so make them to be. That is why you as a father/mummy must be knowledgeable in the things of God. You perhaps preach two times a day = 62 meetings per month.
6. When should family altar hold? It depends on the agreement or the authority of the family, mostly dad and mum. Most families create time to meet in the mornings for 30 minutes. Check this option A. 5:30 opening prayer/worship; 5:40 word; 5:55-6:00 Prayer/Announcement/closing. Option B of 45 minutes (usually Saturday and Sunday) 5:30 opening prayer; 5:35 worship; 5:45 Word; 6:00-6:10 prayers; 6:10-6:15 Announcements/closing. Everything depends on your time. Most families have more time on Saturday morning alone. Work, School and some other interests disturb. We will discuss hindrances later. Most families hold their evening altars at 9pm or 10pm.
C. Reasons for Family Altar.
1. Worship Centre. It is a venue of joint praise to God. Ps. 150:6 Heb. 13: 15.
2. Speak God. It is an avenue to hear God speak to you as a family retreat. Eli probably never ran a family altar but supervised a national altar. That was why his family collapsed. Samuel would have heard God speak at the family altar.
3. Dedication. It is an avenue to rededicate your family to God. Samuel said, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord”. Ps. 48: 14; Joshua 24:15.
4. Argue your case. You present your family requests to God. A family that prays together stays together. Many quarrels vanish at family altar.
5. Intercession ground. You stand in the gap for immediate family members and the extended family, friends, relations, associates, community, state or nation, organizations, church or your Pastor, etc. Job interceded for his children at the family altar. Job 1:4-5; Isa. 53:12; 62:1 and 1 Tim. 2:1-4.
6. Study. It is advantageous to study the word together. The Bible says, “Iron sharpeneth iron, so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend” (Prov. 27:17). Paul admonished us to study. 2 Tim. 2:15 NIV.
7. History. It is a forum to tell your children about landmarks or acts of God in your family. Israel used to pass such information wherever they had family or national altar. They used to call their large gathering, ‘Tabernacle of the in-gathering’.
8. Surrender. You daily commit yourself, family and your ways to the Lord. The Bible says we should not lean upon our own understanding. The steps of the righteous are ordered by the Lord.
9. Warfare. It is a veritable ground to ‘fight the good fight of faith’. The Bible says, “Since the days of John the Baptist, the Kingdom of Heaven suffers violence and only the violent can take it by force. The family altar is a good place to initiate spiritual battles. It is written: “One shall put a thousand to flight and two tens of thousands”. Mt. 18:18.
10. It is a ground for winning souls. Salvation is preached and altar calls are also made here. This is where you can spread the net of salvation especially when you have guests around.
11. Establish an agreement. You get your agreement to be divinely stamped. Mt 18:19-20.
12. Identify and encourage gifts. Some persons have gifts to be established. When you see a child that has a gift, send him/her to the appropriate team of the church. My son, Titobiloluwa used to beat the chairs and make rhythm whenever we had family altar. He was then four years old. We took him to the drummer in the church and today, he handles the drum well. We discovered the prophetic and leadership qualities of his senior brother earlier at the family altar.
13. Secret Pavilion. Your family altar is the secret place of God. It is where God dwells. Ps. 27:5. God is where His name is called. He does not operate by population but even where three or more people are gathered.
1. What are the things that would not let your family altar hold?
2. How do you overcome the suggested reasons above?
3. How can we ensure the fire in the altar is not put out?
4. What happens when the parents are old and the children have gone to establish their own families and altars?
5. Do you have your own family altar?
6. How many families run a family altar around you?
7. How do we help ourselves to ensure the family altar is not canceled or be of no consequence?
E. Prayer Points.
1. God, come upon every family altar as You did on Mt. Carmel and destroy every power of Baal contesting with Your Lordship in my family.
2. Every power that seeks to cancel my family altar, I nullify your power on my family and destroy your influence in Jesus’ name.
3. You fire eaters and prayer consumers milling around my family altar, catch fire now in Jesus’ name.
4. Lord Jesus, make my family altar a place of your habitation and a place that I myself will long to be, there in Your presence.
God bless you.