The Family altar (1) (25)
The family altar is the first and the most important wall against Satan’s forces for individuals and families, but unfortunately, we are not used to hearing this term neither in our homes nor in our churches. Frankly, if the Church and Christian families don’t pay attention to the importance of the family altar, we will find the arrows of Satan killing our loved ones and his fangs preying on our children, whether by pornography or atheism or distrust of forgiveness and eternal.
This series (principles of the spiritual life of the family) is a complement to the basic principles of spiritual life. Those who don’t start in the basic curriculum it become heavy on them and although he may be convinced of the importance of speech, but may not be able to implement it and continue it regularly, so we strongly advise that you gradually in the basic curriculum from “how to start up” to the “indicators of the true Christian” so that you can start and continue in “the family altar”.
The Lord gives enlightenment and wisdom to the family and individuals with the intercession of our mother of the Virgin, the prayers of our Blessed Father, Pope Tawadros II, and our God of glory in his Church forever Amen.
On the way to the holy place where I meet my spiritual father, which is truly a holy place, any place where we speak of the Word of God sanctifies, prayer and the Word of God sanctify the people and places (1Tim 4:5) as my Father taught me. I was happy, and in my joy, I started singing a hymn I just learned. As I was singling, I heard a sound of someone’s feet coming; I suddenly kept quiet feeling shyness so that he doesn’t hear me. why was I so shyness? Before I came to my father, I could hear songs and sing them out loud and I wasn’t shy. What’s the reason? I don’t know, and while I was overwhelmed by my thinking; I reached the holy place; and my father was praying. When he saw me, he completed his prayers, and then he sat down and said hello to me.
And he said: How are you, son?
I said (joyfully): Thank God, Father; I got a new idea while comes today.
He said: And what is it, my son?
I said: To call this place “the holy place”, prayer and the Word of God sanctifies everything. We always speak about the Word of God and then pray; So, this place has certainly become sacred.
He said: Truly, my son, the Word of God and prayer sanctifies people, places and things. Today we will talk about a very important subject for the Church and Christian families as well as for individuals; The absence of this subject is a cause of weakness of the Church, the disintegration of families and the loss of individuals, and the devil attacks it severely because he knows its power, and we in the churches don’t give it enough attention.
I said (to myself, for the first time, Father speaks with great interest on a subject like this, especially for the church and the family. Sure, it’s a very important topic): And what is it, Father? I’ve longed to know it.
He said: It is the family altar. Since the collapse of the family altar in Christian families, the family disintegrated and family problems abounded, and the church began to become a social place for interviews or activities or just a place to perform duties and rituals, and formality became the dominant among us, and the spirit of evangelism died in us- He said emotionally – to whom we preach!! preach ourselves first, and there’s been a lot of addiction, and there’s a lot of moral decay(and here my father stopped) and said, You like to hear more?.
I said (with sadness and sorrow): I can see that practically, Father (and tears came out of my eyes unconsciously) and I saw many families with many problems, including the families of my relatives, people who have begun to be addicted or confused thoughts (Atheism), Some of them were my friends; These things, I guess everyone feeling it, but what’s the solution, Father?
He said: The family altar is the beginning.
If the children in the house don’t see their fathers and mothers pray, all education about prayer or God will be useless, either from the church or home. If the children are not used to standing before God with their families and asking and speaking to God, they will remain shyness for the rest of their lives to pray.
Frankly , my son, in the midst of the evil currents of
the world, if we don’t raise our children in the teachings of the Gospel and prayer until they get used to it and see the response and have a real relationship with God; Without that, it’s no wonder that the father sees his son as an addict and his daughter has relationships with non-believers. If he doesn’t talk.
Father and mother about God, their children will talk about atheism and fight with ideas of confusion and adhere to the habits, internet addictions, evil and sin.
I said: How can there be a family altar in Christian families? We want practical steps, Father, instead of all this fatigue and loss.
He said: To talk about how we operate a family altar, we will first talk about the obstacles of having a family altar in Christian families.
I said: What are the obstacles to the family altar in the Christian family?
He said: The first obstacle is
I said: The first obstacle is shyness, Father!!
He said: Yes. We do a lot of things, eat and drink, hear news, watch movies, listen songs, talk about anything and everything and wasn’t shy. Except for the Gospel and prayer. The Apostle Paul says to Timothy, “Don’t be shy, of the testimony of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Tim 1:8). Shyness is a very big obstacle to the existence of the family altar.
I said, “You’re right, Father. But why we do so many things and not be shyness, but shyness when reading the Gospel together or praying together at home?
He said: There are three reasons to be shyness:
The first is not getting used to it.
There comes a time when everyone goes mad, and who doesn’t look like them, they say he’s the madman.
We were raised from a young age to be shyness of spiritual things; It becomes a bad thing to pass from generation to generation, from father to son. The father prays alone, the mother too, and so are the children (that’s if they pray). And they’re shyness to see them as if they’re doing something shameful. It’s sad, my son.
We shyness to read the Gospel or pray together, but to watch films where there may be things that don’t glorify God, will not be shyness. as if the picture was reversed; it became “We glory in our shame” (Phil 3:19). The things we should be shyness of are done shamelessly; And the things that are supposed to be of our nature as Christians and children of Christ;
Christ is present in the midst of the family, and he is our father to whom we turn in our hardships and troubles, we shyness of them!!
Do you imagine that those who are shyness to pray with their family can testify to Christ, preach and talk to others about Christ?!
I said: of course not. Those who don’t make it to primary school will not be able to go to university.
He said: Not getting used to praying in our homes made us shyness to pray when we are in exile or when we join the army; so our lives become weak, and over time we drift in the ways of evil or at least die spiritually and God remains mere memories, and the relationship with him is just crusts on the surface.
I said: You’re right, Father. When I went to college and lived in the university city. We were four Christians in one room. When I liked to pray; I was waiting for them to go down to eat or go out for any reason and then stand up to pray; if one of them came; I would go quickly and open the door; and pretend I was studying or busy with something else; I was shyness to see someone praying. One day one of us dared to pray before he fell asleep; of course, we were surprised. And when one of our friends came and ask Where is he? We timidly say that he prays. Day after day, each of us started praying before they slept; sometimes we prayed together. We knew after this that each one of us was praying when the others came out so that no one would see him.
During the examinations, two were going home; This brother and I prayed early, the third and sixth. So, whenever we are tired of studying; We pray; Once, someone knocked on the door and was praying the six o’clock pray; the brother opened the door; and a non-Christian friend wanted paper for a particular item. He said, “Wait, we pray”. Indeed, he entered and we completed the prayer as if we were completely alone “Oh, who’s on the sixth day…”
“Kyrie eleison…” We continued to pray and sat down. The brother began to ask about our prayers and what they meant and what Coptic words meant. This was a living testimony to Christ.
Don’t do good work for people and don’t invalidate good work for people.
St. Pope kyrillos VI
He said: These are the examples we need today, my son. We need people to start this path.
The remedy for not getting used is to start no matter what the reasons.
It is natural at the outset that there must be shy, but if we give in to it, we will lose something very precious, namely our relationship with God, with prayer and the Gospel, and we will lose and perish for shyness.
At any beginning shyness is normal; For example, when the deacon wears his Tonya for the first time, they tell him to read the Paul, and hold the microphone to read; His heart beats quickly, sweats, blushed, and trembles. This is a natural thing that we all go through at first. This is a natural of human being. The second time these things are less, and less at third, until the time comes when this is completely gone.
When a deacon stands on a sickle to read, it is natural to be responding in the service of the altar. If a person doesn’t accept to go through the first experience of shyness, fear and sweats, he will never learn anything.
I said: I’m really afraid to read something in the church.
He said: This is an opportunity to try for the first time. You will find that for the first time you will be shy, trembling and your face will be reddened, but with time you get used to it. And so on in all things in your life. In an oral exam in the classroom with the teacher or university doctor.
This is how in the family altar, who begins with the idea, whether the father, the mother or one of the children. At first, it’s going to be very embarrassing. Because we are not used to it, this must be difficult at first. Don’t expect ease and acceptance for the first time, but who is not desperate and, potentially, going to lose and never start. This can lead to spiritual death and family loss, and we live a life that is not a life as the Bible says, “You have a name that you are alive and you are dead” (Revel 3:1).
My advice now is for every person, whether father, mother, son, daughter, who reads these words and the Lord stirs his heart (Acts 16:14) to begin, not to postpone, nor to be shyness; You are accountable to God for your family; Responsible for the salvation of your home and the salvation of every soul in it; Don’t let your shyness kill them and make them deprived of Christ and be very close to doom because of your shyness and those who have begun; They must continue in the grace of Christ, They also feel responsible for their relatives; brothers, uncles and aunts, and everyone who knows to spread among all Christian families.
Don’t be shy to talk to them about the importance of the family altar (after attending it for at least a year so that the words have meaning).
I said: the first reason to be shy is not to get used to it; The solution is to start whatever the circumstances. What’s the second reason for shyness?
He said: The second reason is
I said: Fear of what?!
He said: Fear of mockery and understatement. The person is afraid to start praying in his or her family; So, they say to him, “Take us on your wing” “Ok, Saint, Sheikh”, “Ok when you get the oil, book us a little bit”, and it’s a lot of frustrating words.
It’s the words of the devil; Words are the deadly arrows of Satan.
I said: I thought it was clowning or laughing.
He said: No, my son; Beware of this talk to say it to one of your friends or brothers, or to be told by a father or mother to their son or daughter;
This is a poisonous, frustrating words that kill the plant of spiritual life before it begins. Instead of the father or mother being happy with their son or daughter when he prays or when he says to them “Let us pray”. They frustrate him instead of encouraging him.
Unfortunately, we find that parents are happy that their little son learns insults and… so on, teachings that are not worthy of the children of Christ.
If families don’t encourage their children to pray with them and read the Bible; they will reap the fruits of their neglect, fatigue and bitterness here and in eternity.
I will tell you my son a strange story that happened in one of the villages next to the cemetery, was a young man in his twenties who was smokes Cannabis and Hash, and every morning at 7:00 Am he went to the cemetery for a few minutes and then came out, noticed by one of the youth of the village so he pushed by a love of curiosity to know the secret and he preceded him and hid to see what this young man is doing? So, he found something strange!
I said: What did he find?!
He said: This young man was found spitting three times on the grave of his father, who had died a few months ago. The other young man said maybe the subject was a coincidence and continued to watch him so he found the same thing for other days, so he tried to know the secret so he approached the young man and started to accompany him, and after a while he said to him “I have a question”. He said to him, “Sure.” He said, “what you do every day in the morning at the cemetery?! “. He said, “Never mind?” He said to him, “We are brothers.” The young man started crying and said, “When I was in a 6th grade, I used to go to Sunday schools and I loved hymns and they taught us to pray every day at night, and when I tried to sing and pray at night at home, my father started to make fun of me and say, “So you are a saint now and going to light up, sleep, we don’t want a nuisance.” So, I hated prayer, I hated hymns, and I got away from the church, and in junior high, I started smoking cigarettes and then twisted to cannabis and hash and as you can see, I’m from worse to worst. Every morning I go to my father’s grave and spit on it three times. The first one because he is the reason I was away from church and I was afraid to pray in front of anyone, and the second was because he was the reason I was addicted to drugs, and the third because when I liked to repent, he would tell me it would not work.
You will be like that all your life. I made a promise to myself that every day I go and spit on his grave three times until I die.
I said: Oh!! I think that the parents will start right away to make a family altar so that their children don’t do that with them after they die!!
He said: We are afraid of people’s words and of virtual and formal things, but we are not afraid to be away from God or to lose happy eternity.
I said: Is this really a real story, Father?
He said: This is a true story, my son, and the young man was not only spitting, but he was doing other things that are difficult to say, son. The opportunity to start now before you miss the opportunity and run after our children in the streets and shout and say the boy is addicted or became atheist, and the girl is beginning to know people who aren’t believers.
But blessed are fathers and mothers who have given Christ, servants, dedicated, monks and nuns. Blessed are those who raise their children in the fear of God, not by words, but by action. Blessed is the families with a family altar that glorifies God;
With such prayers, God pleases and blesses the world.
I said: I’m afraid not only of the words of mockery or cynicism, but from saying at home “lets pray” and then I do something wrong, so I become a stumbling block and they say, “This is the prayer! He Is the Lord’s son!”
He said: This is normal. This is also Satan’s war. There is no one without sin, and it’s never mean that when we pray, we will be saints suddenly and will not fall, but just not be hypocrites. When you make a mistake, say that you make it and “you are sorry”, and don’t condemn.
I said, “Sorry, Father, can you explain in more detail?”
He said: First, don’t be hypocrite, i.e. don’t pray to be seen by others and say that you are a saint, and all your goal is just to complete your law or because the family altar is just a duty to do, but we all learn and start with each other and help each other.
Secondly, admit mistakes, when you make a mistake, that is possible. When we are stubborn and don’t admit mistakes, it turns into a sin of will, that will be rooted and destroy us, then our family will see pride in us; that will make them reject us and reject God because of us.
Thirdly, don’t condemn; If they don’t help you at home to make a family altar, pray alone, but without condemning them in your heart. Pray for them, but if you look at them with pride, they will reject you and reject any advice from you.
I said: So That I don’t get lost, the first obstacle of the family altar is shyness. The reasons for shyness are: first, not to get used to it, and to overcome it by starting whatever the circumstances.
The second reason is fear: I overcome it by not being afraid of sarcasm and mockery. Not to be a hypocrite, don’t condemn anyone, and also, I apologize when I make a mistake. What’s the third reason for shyness?
He said: I like that you, son, organized your thoughts so that you don’t forget. Forgive me, sometimes the topics overlap, so watch out for me so that we can be specific and also explain in details.
The third reason for shyness is
Lack of proper understanding of the Gospel.
I said: How, Father?!
He said: The Lord Jesus said, “When you pray, enter into your chambers, close your door, and pray to your father, in hiding”, so we understand that in order to pray, no one should see us.
I said: Isn’t the Bible saying that?
If a person has a father, a son, a brother or any other kinship, he doesn’t count as a true kinship as kinship stems from spiritual relationships. What good is it to be associated with a family relationship without a spiritual relationship? What good if we are relatives on earth and strangers in heaven?!
St. John’s Golden Mouth
(Fraternal Love- To The Fr. Tadros Jacob p. 235
He said: Of course not. The purpose of Jesus was not to pray on the street corners in front of people and ask for their glory, it’s not meant that to not pray in churches or in our homes with our families. The Bible says, “As for me and my family, we worship the Lord” (Josh 24:15). Man must care to worship the Lord with his family, just as we care to eat, drink, study and marry; all of these are required and important, but not enough, these are matters of the body and the earthly life and it is necessary to care about them and first we also care about spiritual things and eternal life. It is not enough to say that “Go to Church, pray, read the Gospel.”
That child should be raised from a young age to read the Gospel with their families, pray with them, and ask for the problems and needs of the family together, and feel the hand of God with them and his fatherhood to them, so that they are not affected by the evil currents of the world, but unfortunately all that the children inherited from their families is food, drink, clothing and studying. They are all matters on a material level. And when children face wars with Satan, they find themselves empty with no spiritual weapons in their hands, they don’t have a relationship with God and know nothing in the Gospel, tired things, son. The Bible says dangerous words:
“Whoever didn’t care about his family denied the faith.
He became more evil than the unbeliever” (1Tim5:8)
If attention is required at the material level, more and more attention is required at the spiritual level.
If parents don’t care about the salvation of their children, there will come a time when the children will say to their parents, “You are not faithful to us, you have betrayed us, you have lost us, you have been the reason for our atheism in our bondage to evil and sin, and the reason we go to hell” And they remain forever angry and cruel to their fathers, and they will not forgive them, because there is no possibility of forgiveness It’s all over.
I said: Really, Father, it will be difficult, even dangerous for every father, mother and every person responsible for his family, because our ignorance of spiritual life and the seriousness of the situation makes all the interest of parents in education, eating and drinking. “Eat, Drink, baby” as if they were raising us for the slaughter.
He said: Our ignorance of the power and effectiveness of prayer doesn’t make us strive and we are desperate to establish a family altar in our homes, the Bible also says, “If two or three meet, I’ll be in the middle of them.”, “If two of you agree on something, shall be yours” precious promises, but with our mistaken understanding of the Gospel and spiritual life, we are sinners who don’t deserve, we lose ourselves and live in spiritual poverty and loss, and if one of the sons prays, he becomes afraid, close the door and hiding so they don’t see him praying, because he was raised that prayer is a strange thing for him, Something he’s not used to, But he’s only used to the ephemeral things of life.
But the Bible also says the church in your house (1Cor16:19) and the disciples were meeting and breaking bread in the houses (Act2:46) praying, chanting and cheering Christ together, but we rejoice in false things or we don’t rejoice and live in sadness, each one is in his own way, the father doesn’t see his boys, and the mother doesn’t care about her daughters. everyone’s busy in his world, and we forgot the Gospel words that there must be a church in the house and a common prayer together. Just what we understood from the Gospel is to enter into your chamber, and this misconceived and tiring understanding made prayer shameful and humiliating.
And that leads us to the third obstacle,
I said: What is it, Father?
He said: It is.
Lack of cognition
I said: Don’t realize what, Father?
He said: The first thing to lack of cognition is not to understand the importance of spiritual life in general. All our awareness is on the level of material matters, food, drink, clothing, education, bank balances and securing the future of children.
I said: Are these things wrong, Father?!
He said (smiling): One of the most important things that made the people of Christ afraid of spiritual life is this question, my son.
I said: I don’t understand!!
He said: We have a dichotomy in our personality, who has reached us from some sermons and some servants that what matters only to the Lord is spiritual life and relationship with him, while our material matters of the future, food, drink, work and marriage this is an abomination of the work of Satan, and whoever asks for this is a selfish person who approaches God only in crises, So The Lord doesn’t hear him and doesn’t respond to his prayers. The only thing that matters to God is fasting, especially the Strict abstinence period, the vows, the tithes, and complement the rule, only by doing this you please the Lord and you can escape the torment of fire, and you can also not escape the torment and this is the most possibility.
So, it’s all that matters God is the “Give me, Give me, Give me”, “Give me a fasting until your mouth dry- Give me a prayer, while you’re standing by attention- Give me your tithes, with every penny, also the vow and the firstborn or Albacore” and “May my servant fathers forgive me, this is what has reached to people in the sermons and instructions- The image that has reached about God, that he is a material and selfish God who cares about his interest and the satisfaction of His Majesty and his greatness and the Church is nothing but an institution to raise money and vows as if God is a great merchant) and there is no reward from the Lord and even if there is a reward; It comes after tiredness and bitterness, Besides, you’re not allowed to ask God for material things so that you don’t offend your image before God and be materialistic. In addition, the road is narrow, anguish, many hardships and constant sadness.
I said: Hey, wait Father. I think these ideas are all inside me, but you’ve made them clear, and if there’s some clarity and openness, thank you, Father. But some boils are cleaned only after pain, and poisonous sores if we don’t push them too hard will never be clean. But please explain to me so I don’t get confused. You said that material attention was wrong, and then criticized those who said that the Lord cared about spiritual matters.
He said: Please focus until my whole idea reaches you and you don’t get confused.
Material attention is important and not wrong,
but it is not enough.
As a father who cares about feeding his children and brings them meat, chickens and fruit and spends a lot and a lot of money on them, but when they get sick, he doesn’t care about their health because he doesn’t admit medicine and find he says “Everyone is a doctor to himself”, so their health is tired. Is this a sane father?!
I said: Of course not. Caring for health is important, and it’s more important than spending too much on food, or the two complement each other.
He said: Exactly, this is how caring about spiritual things doesn’t eliminate the interest in material things. Both are very important to God.
When God bought the human, he bought him as a whole package (body, soul and spirit); man is a complete entity and all of it matters to the Lord. How can someone pray with a sick body!! And how to serve or preach someone and his soul is depressed!!
Material attention is necessary but insufficient. And spiritual attention (prayer, gospel, and family altar) is not against material interest, but these things make the human soul normal and happy, and he feels God’s blessing with him, he is not alone in this world, and he has a father who cares about him. A person lives in an overwhelming state of joy and joy with a loving God who resorts to him in his hardships, troubles, needs and demands, and thanks him in his joys and happiness and tells him every small and large detail of his life. He also feels that he has an honest and faithful God waits for him in a joyful place that he prepares for him; He misses our embrace, and we also miss his lap; he is our love and joy; he is our life and spirit; he is all ours, Jesus is our friend.
I said: Comfortable and joyous talk, Father. That I have a loving and an affectionate God, kind and interested in me, cares about all the details of my life, he all love and tenderness and cares about my life and my eternity.
If the Christian families realized all this love and attention, they would have taken care of the family altar and continued to have a daily meeting with this loving, an affectionate, close God, but the God of duties, rituals and law, a God who cares only for his interest (law, tithes and fasting) instead of being relieved on us, he weighs on us (i.e., the troubles of the world and its demands and the demands of this difficult God) making people say without knowing “let us be in what we are in”.
As for Christ, he is happy to give us and say , “Ask to be given, ask to find”,” Ask to be joyful” he will not benefit from any of our prayers and our fasts, but we who benefits, he wants to give us and make us happy not takes from us, he wants to give us strength in order to overcome the problems of life, but that we are stepping serpents and scorpions to overcoming Satan and invalidate his arrows.
I said: Is there anything practical that increases the awareness of the spiritual life of Christian families in order to begin the family altar and the true relationship with God?
He said: “Try and see”
I said: How, Father?
He said: To advise people to experience, and it is possible that each family begins to apply the method of the principles of spiritual life with each other step by step in order, and to try to deal with God as a father and friend, also to include him in all their matters and problems and to ask specific requests, to meet with their children at night and pray for the problems of work and The children’s problems, and if they find result of these prayers, don’t stop. This is the beginning of the road, and they must also trust in full forgiveness, whatever the sin is, so the man feels accepted and happy, which encourages him to persevere so that he stays in this state of joy. But when a person feels doomed, why does he fight for? All his sins are borne and remain above his head, so there is no need to pray, or the family altar or anything else.
And this is the importance of the family altar that every family offers daily repentance and everyone trusts in God’s acceptance of their repentance and that he forgives them and also forgives each other’s father for his son, husband for his wife and mother to her daughter, everyone forgives each other so the family lives in peace, so their days will be like the days of heaven on earth, full forgiveness from God, and forgiveness to each other, because without this trust of forgiveness, God will not hear any prayer from us, we will not receive any response, and there will remain a barrier between us and God and a barrier between each other and no meaning to spiritual life or the family altar.
I said: Right, Father, the lack of forgiveness is one of the things that makes a man not appreciate the value of spiritual life, prayer or the family altar. Also, the lack of forgiveness for each other starts simple and then accumulates with the days to cause division and fatigue in Christian homes leads to fatigue and may lead to separation and divorce.
He said: One of the things that helps to understand the importance of spiritual life is timing of distress, son?
I said: How, Father?
He said: When we get into distress, we find people resorting to prayer and church.
I said: “Interrupting” means for their interest?
He said: God accepts this and welcomes him.
I said: God accepts and welcomes!! But I have heard from some preachers that this is a personal interest and God will reveal us and of course he will not accept it.
He said (sadly): In the example of the Prodigal son, the father, when his son was tired, his life was narrowed, couldn’t find anything to eat, coming back humiliated, returned with a pig scent, broken, and he needed only a piece of bread to fill his hunger, the father didn’t tell him
“you came back, I was right? And also, you smell like pigs; ok washes him in Dettol (disinfectant) Precautions against swine flu”, and he doesn’t say “where’s the money, loser? What did you do with your corrupt friends? But he is in joy, waiting with the passion of an affectionate father who took him in his lap with a stinking scent, and didn’t even look at him with a look of reproach or blame, but with a look of love and acceptance, and didn’t say to him “Hey confessed, you evil and impure, you must say everything,” but didn’t let him say “as one of your wages”, but interrupted him and said ,”My son was dead and lived and was lost and found.” I imagine the son crying for that much love as well as the crying and the joy of the father. This is our God, my son, who doesn’t want to humiliate us or hurt our feelings. He says”call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me.” (Psal 50:15) and also says “In all their affliction He was afflicted, And the Angel of His Presence saved them.” (Isa 63:9) means, when we’re upset, God also gets upset for us. There’s no father
affectionate like our heavenly father. He is kinder and more affectionate than the mother’s tenderness to her baby. We need a strong explanation from the fathers and servants of the goodness, love and tenderness of our Lord. We need examples like St. Makarious who was hiding people’s sins, and like our Priest Fr. Bishoy Kamel, who was ready to die for a girl who was thinking of leaving Christ.
Fr. Provirios (father of the Greek Orthodox Church) says ” In Lent, I used to go homes praying for the blessing of the houses, and I miss the families I know and whom I don’t know. When I entered the house, I quickly lighted the oil and started praying immediately so That I would miss as many houses as possible. And once I entered an apartment, those present welcomed me, and then I turned on the oil and started praying, and all of a sudden, an old lady screaming and saying “Stop, Father, these are not worthy, this is a house of sin, and here they are all hookers, come and pray in my house (and she was the one who runs this place).
So I said to her, “Jesus came to sinners, not to the righteous, he accepts the return and repentance of all” and I continued to pray, so they all started crying and repenting.
Times of distress has been a very appropriate opportunity. To begin the family altar, everyone should stand up and pray, so that everyone participates and says even one sentence “Remember, Lord the problem of …, Oh Lord help, Lord heals, be with him today in the exam.”
I wonder that at the time of exams, we found parents are very worried about their children. What’s the anxiety going to do to them?! Why doesn’t the whole house meet and pray?! Why doesn’t the mother and the siblings stand when the student is on the exam committee and pray until the exam time is over?!
I said: Are our prayers effective, Father?
He said: Of course, my son, when you pray,
you speak to a God who hears or Not?”
I said: He listen, of course, Father.
He said: Does he have feelings or is
he a rigid, transcendent God who
I said: A God full of love and tenderness.
1A person who doesn’t appreciate good things in life, just a pessimistic person.
He said: Is he a capable God or weak and defeated?
I said: A capable God can do everything.
He said: Did he promise to respond or did he say just live with yourself, I am the Almighty God in the heavens and you are the tramps in the despicable land?!!!
I said: He promised to respond when we asked him.
He said: Can you remember me the promises?
I said: As Far as I remember, ” Ask, Requesting, knocking” “if two of you agree on anything they ask for, It’s for them.” “Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.”
He said: After all that, who not will ask God for things, what he will be?
I said (with a smile): Not a face of blessing a face of bad luck.
He said: God is good, he gives grace, blessing and strength, and in times of distress it is a pleasure to return to him. Every family in a tight time must stand up and pray together, demands for their problems, for their children, for any sick person, for job opportunities, for repentance and the return of the lost.
I said: Is it possible for everyone to pray alone?
He said: It is possible, of course, but the spirit of unity has strength, and the Lord says “if two agrees…” “if two or three meets in my name.” also, Praying together encourages and teaches children to pray (but to be very careful not to make children pray by force, it makes them hate prayer but by encouraging and setting examples and being very flexible and wise with them), praying together makes the spirit of the company strong and removes any family problems.
Let us begin and try at a time of distress and ask, please consider it as a new experience and a new experiment in spiritual life that you will not regret. Dare, encourage and take this step. I know very well that the start is difficult, but the result will be joyous, encouraging and worth the adventure. Let every house begin, let each family be encouraged and pray in a time of distress together, and each one prays and say even one sentence, prayer is not by too much talking. We just have to start and take advantage of the time of distress and need, it is the most important opportunity, so don’t waste it.
The distress is an opportunity to start at the family altar, I hope we don’t lose it, since everyone needs God’s intervention, everyone needs grace to work in him to come back and repent. Let’s start and not be shyness, let’s start and not get confused by the frustrated words “You’re selfish. and God will not hear…. And so on.” God himself said, “Call me in a time of distress” (Psa50:15). What’s important is that after we start at the family altar in a distress time, we keep going. And after we feel God’s strong hand and his response we don’t stop; we must be encouraged and continue a true relationship that grows with Christ.
I said: You’ve opened my mind, Father, that in times of distress, God hears me and welcomes me even if I’m not with him. Sometimes I used to be stubborn with myself and say “I will not pray in distress”, fearing for my image before God, that he tells me that you are selfish. What an irony, I haughtiness on myself and God.
He said: The second obstacle of the family altar is lack of awareness. And what helps to realize is to try and see, especially in times of distress, as well as confidence in the full forgiveness that gives our prayers strength and meaning before God.
The third obstacle is
I said: Ah. Busy. Really busy is really hard. The father works constantly to meet the needs of the family, the mother is busy with the responsibilities of the house and the children are busy studying and exams.
He said: It’s all an illusion, my son.
I said: Illusion!!! What does that mean, Father?
He said: When someone likes to do something, he will do it. If we want to watch a football game or a movie, we will manage the time, no matter what. If we love to read newspapers, play a game on the computer, or see Facebook, we will be creating time no matter how busy we are. The problem is not in the word busy, but in the illusion of busyness, which is caused by the lack of awareness that we have talked about, the lack of awareness of the power of prayer and that it will change. If parents realize that when they pray for their children, they will study better, and God will bless their studies, give them peace in the exams, and get the highest grades.
I said (with a smile): So, is it possible for a person that his family pray for him to succeed without studying?
He said: Be precise, my son. I said they pray so that the children study better and this leads to understanding and a good answer and therefore higher grades. Prayer gives blessing and peace, and when we pray, we speak not to the air, but to the beloved Almighty God who hears and responds. If we realize that family altar prayers protect young people from pornography and atheism, protect girls from apostasy, protect the family from disintegration, divorce problems and the courts, everyone prays to avoid problems that young boys can make their hair curl. Every father and every mother pray for their newly married children to be blessed by the Lord and give them a consensus to avoid problems that could destroy entire family life. If we really realize the value of prayer, the parents will spend long nights praying for their children so they don’t get skewed into the evil and pornographic swamps that surround us from every direction. Unfortunately, there are fathers whose legs have slipped into such swamps. Children and wives must pray together for the freedom of husbands and fathers. Please don’t say “there’s no time.” This is “Illusion”.
I said: Is there a practical solution to get rid of this illusion?
He said: Yes, my son.
I said: What is it, my father?
He said: The solution is
I said: What do five minutes mean?”
He said: Is providing five minutes of prayer a lot, son?
I said: of course not. We often waste hours on ordinary or trivial things.
He said: Let’s start with five minutes. The family will get together before bed, before dinner, or before going out in the morning.
Take that principle in your life, which is
The family altar first.
Set a specific date and tie it to something you always do before or after dinner, before bed or after bed, the link is very important. Makes you never forget, and if you forget, it’s easy to remember.
Let it be in the beginning only five minutes for a month. No more under any circumstances.
I said: Why, Father?”
He said: So that you can continue and with time you increase step by step.
I said: What do we do at the family altar?”
He said: It’s simple to pray
“Our Father …. “And if it is possible for each one to say a sentence that expresses his need, such as “O Lord, be with … in his exam, bless him and let him answer well and come back happy- Lord solves the problem of my work – you can do everything- give us a grace in the eyes of the manager – your daughter… God, arrange her marriage, choose Lord, the right person at the right time.”
Please try. And when you find the result, you have to go on and not stop.
Forgive me for those who didn’t strive and find a few minutes to ask for the blessing and protection of Christ, Satan will find entrances to tire him, tear his family apart and destroy his children.
Either we tire in spiritual life and have peace with God and blessing in our lives.
Or Satan will defeat us and destroy our lives.
I said: It seems that the obstacle of the busyness is serious obstacles to the family altar and spiritual life in general.
He said: Indeed, The Lord Jesus said that when he said example of the farmer. The seed that fell in the middle of the thorns began to grow, but the thorns strangled it and didn’t come with a fruit. This is explained by The Lord Jesus, who hears the word, but the worries of the world and the arrogance of the rich suffocate the Word and become fruitless. Busy is really dangerous because it’s a hidden sin.
It seems normal; we could be busy at work, studying, or housework, and we could have time for all these things, but at the family altar, there is no time. The Apostle Paul says, “If you live according to the flesh, you will die, and if you live according to the spirit, you will live.” (Rom 8:13). If all our attention by body is eating, drinking, sleeping, working, television, internet and play — and of course everything within the will is not wrong — but it is not enough, this is all the work of the body, but man is not only a body, there is also the soul, which needs to be connected to God. If there is no relationship with God, then it will be with Satan. Those who leave themselves to the devil will tire and worry, as well as family problems, deviant children and, ultimately, eternal destruction, which means “death and destruction of homes”. Man perishes and his house is ruined. Forgive me, my son, for this, but it is the bitter truth.
I said: yes, it’s the truth, Father. How many families have been scattered! And how many of the children were addicted and atheist! And how many young people are tied to the sins and addictions of the internet and its evils! I know that very well, Father.
He said: The solution is clear. The relationship with God is liberated and make us happy, and the start is in the family altar and the five minutes. Five minutes give you freedom, give you peace, save children, and help solve problems. don’t they!!
I said: Really, don’t they; but why you are focusing on a few, Father?
He said: As we mentioned in the prayer stages, the principle of gradient is important. When we start with a few, we can continue. We have confidence that those who come to God don’t go out, those who taste the love of Christ don’t leaving, but become an addiction, and those who see the results of prayer, god’s strong hand and God’s response to prayer, joy and peace will not be enough with the five minutes. Just let’s start and be desperate at first because it’s the hardest thing.
This story was told by one of the fathers, saying “I went on a visit to America and he stay with a family, a father and a mother and two young men in the university stage, he says that they lived more than the monks every morning they wake up at 4 a.m. they pray Midnight praise, read the Gospel, the Synaxarium then eat breakfast and everyone goes to work and the children to their university and they were at the height of joy and success.
I said: Really, they live as the monks. Are there families like that in the world now!
He said: These are the ones who condemn the world (Mat19:28). There is no argument about no time or this life is difficult, for in a life of high speed, the pinnacle of entertainment, and a society full of evils and sins, they witness to Christ. Let each family start with step by step, don’t rush, but it is important to continue. It is the power of prayer and the joy of the relationship with Christ and the blessing of Christ’s presence in the House that makes a man long to prolong the period of prayer and the Gospel, only the start and the growth step by step.
I said: Sure, Father, but I don’t know, I need to say something.
He said: Sure, my son.
I said: I think today’s topic is more addressed for parents, not for young people like me!
He said (Smiley): Of course not. It is also aimed the young people so that when they grow up, they can prepare to build the family altar with their young children. Prevention is better than cure. Also, when young people realize this, everyone will change their family and start making a family altar at home. Don’t take it as you still young and irresponsible, but put it now in your heart and mind. When the time comes, you start. You can even start with your family now you and all young people like you, although it seems difficult but not impossible. Everyone who understands the importance of the family altar must fight at first with shyness, but he must start whatever the circumstances and reap the fruits of joy and make up for his tiredness, instead of seeing his family in fatigue and misery here and in eternity. Our families are our responsibility, there’s going to be a voice that says, “Where’s your brother Abel?!” One last word is important and dangerous.
I said: To whom, Father?
He said: To the Church.
I said: What do you mean by the church, Father?
He said: The church is not just buildings or servants and priests. The church is not just a ritual and melodies. The Church is you and me, means the community of believers, are living stones (1Pe 2:5). Each one of us is part of the Church. We’re all one body, we’re all responsible. Responsibility is not limited to the priests only, every head of family is responsible for his family, every mother is responsible for her children and daughters, every brother is responsible for his brothers, and you are responsible for your family, friends and acquaintances.
Everyone who understands the importance of spiritual life, the importance of the relationship with Christ, and tasted the meaning of true friendship with God, and saw the love of Christ and trusted in forgiveness can’t be silent, and if he is silent, he isn’t aware yet, and the grace that he beginning to take will dissipate from him, whoever doesn’t have fruit, it has to be taken from him, and who has a fruit will be more happy and Taking more and growing in love and knowing of Christ and the most important fruit is the salvation of our children and our families.
A whisper in the ear of the servants and priests to devote complete sermons about the importance of the family altar and its obstacles and blessings, and begin to visit houses to set a model of the family altar and encourage families to continue and follow it.
We summarize what we have said: the obstacles of the family altar:
1- Shyness and treatment we start whatever the reasons.
2- Lack of awareness, we overcome it with the principle of try and see, especially in the time of distress.
3- Busy and beat it by principle for five minutes.
Let’s remember that the beginning is important, but the beginning is not enough, very important to continue and we will continue on how the family altar works and the wars that will fight it and its blessings and in this series (principles of the spiritual life of the family) we will talk about mistakes in education and many things we will gradually take.
I’ll leave you now my son to begin with your family The Family Altar.