In families, when you see that things are wrong, it is often well just to call the household together and say, “We must draw near to God with special earnestness, for we are going astray. We have not given up family prayer, but we must now make it special, and with double zeal draw near to God.”
I am afraid that some of you neglect family prayer. If you do, I am sure it will work evil in your households. The practice of family prayer is the castle of Protestantism. It is the grand defence against all attacks by a priestly caste who set up their temples and tell us to pray there, and pray by their mediation. No, our houses are temples, and every man is a priest in his own house. This is a brazen wall of defence against superstition and priestcraft. Family prayer is the nutriment of family piety, and woe to those who allow it to cease.
I read the other day of parents who said they could not have family prayer, and someone asked this question: “If you knew that your children would be sick through the neglect of family prayer, would you not have it? If one child was smitten down with fever each morning that you neglected prayer, how then?” O then they would have it.
“And if there was a law that you should be fined five shillings if you did not meet for prayer, would you find time for it?” Yes.
“And if five pounds were given to all who had family prayer, would you not by some means arrange to have it?” Yes.
And so the enquirer went on with many questions, and wound up with this: “Then it is but an idle excuse when you, who profess to be servants of God, say that you have no time or opportunity for family prayer?”
Should idle excuses rob God of His worship and our families of a blessing? Begin to pray in your families and, especially if things have gone wrong, get them right by drawing near to God more distinctly.
Did I hear you say, We do not want to be formalists? No, I am not afraid you would be. I am afraid of you neglecting anything that tends to the good of your household and your own spiritual growth. Therefore I beg you to labour at once to acquaint yourselves with God and be at peace. Draw near to the Lord again, more thoroughly than you have done before, for it is the only way by which the backslidings of persons and families are at all likely to be corrected. God grant a blessing with these words by the power of the
[Taken with editing from a sermon by C H Spurgeon on Genesis 35:1, entitled “Family Reformation”, in the Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, vol 24, and reprinted in the June 2014 issue of The Free Presbyterian Magazine.]