7 Reasons Families Should Pray

Thomas Doolittle gives us seven reasons families should pray:

Reason 1

Because we receive every day family-mercies from the hand of God. He loads us daily with His benefits (Ps. 68:19). When you wake in the morning and find your dwelling safe, not consumed with fire, not broken through by thieves, is not this a family-mercy? When you wake and find none dead in their beds, that news is not brought you in the morning, there is one child dead in one bed and another in another, and there is not a lodging-room in the house but the last night one or other died in it; but on the contrary you find all well in the morning and refreshed by the rest and sleep of the night— are not these and many more such mercies to the family, that when you rise you should call them all together jointly to bless God for? If it had been otherwise, [if] master or mistress [were] dead, children or servants dead, would not the rest say, “It would have been a mercy to us all, if God had spared him, her, or them?” If your house had been consumed by flames, and God had turned you all out of doors before morning, would you not have said, “It would have been a mercy, if God had safely preserved us and our dwellings and caused us to rest and sleep and rise in safety?” Why, Sirs, will you not acknowledge mercies to be mercies, till God hath taken them away from you? And if you do, should you not give the praise daily unto God? Was it not God Himself that watched over you while you did sleep, and could not, did not, watch yourselves? “Except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain…for so he giveth his beloved sleep” (Ps. 127:1-2).

And as you have had many family-mercies in the night to bless God for in the morning, so you have many family-mercies in the day to give thanks to God for at night before you go to bed. Methinks you should not quietly sleep till you have been together on your knees, lest God should say, “This family that hath not acknowledged My mercy to them this day, nor given Me the glory of those benefits of which to them I gave the comfort, shall never see the light of another day, nor have the mercies of one day more to bless Me for. What if God should say unto you when you are laid down in your beds, “This night your souls shall be required of you, you that went to bed before you had given Me the praise of the mercies that I had given unto you all the day, and before you had prayed for My protection over you in the night.” Take heed: though God be patient, do not provoke Him.


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Profile of the Evangelistic Home – Joel Beeke

Here is a transcript of an exceptional message given by Joel Beeke during the White Unto Harvest ConferenceThe message is titled: “Profile of the Evangelistic Home.”

There are numerous church growth books and manuals flooding the market, but surprisingly few of them address internal growth through the Holy Spirit as He sovereignly blesses the raising of children in biblical truth. Yet, historically, Reformed Christians have acknowledged that their most solid, genuine church growth has been through the conversion of youth reared in the church. Charles Spurgeon wrote to Edward Payson Hammond, author of The Conversion of Children, “My conviction is that our converts from among children are among the very best we have. I should judge them to have been more numerously genuine than any other class, more constant, and in the long run more solid.” Andrew Bonar concurred and also wrote to Hammond, saying, “In awakenings that have been given us, the cases of young people have been as entirely satisfactory as any cases we have had. If conversion be God’s work, in which the Holy Spirit reveals Christ to the soul, surely His work can take place in children as really as in the old.”  (more…)

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The Importance of Family Prayer

Fathers are commanded to read the Word of God to their families, and to instruct them in it. If they are to read the Word of God to their families, then they must pray with them as well. It is critical that families pray together, and Thomas Doolittle in this article titled, “The Word of God and Family Prayer,” shows why families must pray together if they are commanded to read the Word of God together.

The Word of God and Family Prayer


Masters of families ought to read the Scripture to their families and instruct their children and servants in the matters and doctrines of salvation. Therefore, they are to pray in and with their families. No man that will not deny the Scripture can deny the unquestionable duty of reading the Scripture in our houses, governors of families teaching and instructing them out of the Word of God. Amongst a multitude of express Scriptures, look into these: “And it shall come to pass, when your children shall say unto you, What mean ye by this service? that ye shall say, It is the sacrifice of the Lord’s Passover, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt, when he smote the Egyptians, and delivered our houses” (Ex. 12:26-27). And there is as much reason that Christian parents should explain to their children the sacraments of the New Testament, to instruct them in the nature, use, and ends of baptism and the Lord’s Supper: “And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: and thou shalt teach [whet or sharpen] them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up,” that is, morning and evening (Deut. 6:6-7; 11:18-19). “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Eph. 6:4). And God was pleased with this in Abraham: “For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD” (Gen. 18:19). This then is undeniable, if the Word is to be believed, received as our rule, and obedience to be yielded thereunto. And the Heathens taught a necessity of instructing youth betimes. 

The reason of this consequence, from family reading and instructions to family praying, is evident, (we need to beg of God the illumination of His Spirit, the opening of the eyes of everyone in the family, the blessing of God upon our endeavors, without which it will be to no saving benefit) and will be more manifest, if we consider and lay together these things following: 

1. Whose word it is that is to be read in the family together—the Word of the eternal, blessed, glorious God. And doth this call for and require preceding prayer, no more than if you were to read the book of some mortal man? The Word of God is that out of which God speaketh to us. It is that by which He doth instruct us and inform us in the highest and weightiest concernments of our souls. It is that from which we must fetch remedies for the cure of our spiritual maladies. It is that from whence we must have weapons of defense against our spiritual enemies that do assault our souls and be directed in the paths of life. And is not prayer together needful then, that God would prepare all their hearts to receive and obey what shall be read to them of the mind of God? Is all the family so serious and so sensible of the glory, holiness, and majesty of that God that speaketh to them in His Word, that prayer is not needful that they may be so? And if it be needful, should it not first be done? And when it hath been read, and the threatenings, commands, and promises of the glorious God been heard, and your sins discovered and God’s wrath against them, and duties enjoined, and precious privileges opened, and promises of a faithful God, both “great and precious promises,” made to such as do repent, believe, and turn to God with all their hearts unfeignedly; for have you not all need together to fall down upon your knees, to beg and cry and call to God for pardon of those sins that by this Word you are convinced you are guilty of and to lament them before the Lord? And that when your duty is discovered, you might have all hearts to practice and obey, and that you might unfeignedly repent and turn to God, that so you may apply those promises to yourselves and be partaker of those privileges? From this then, there is great reason, [that] when you read together you should also pray together.

2. Consider what great and deep mysterious things are contained in the Word of God which you are to read together. And there will appear a necessity of praying together also. Is there not in this Word the doctrine concerning God, how He might be known, loved, obeyed, worshipped, and delighted in? Concerning Christ, God-man, a mystery that the angels wonder at and no man fully understands or can express and fully unfold? Concerning the offices of Christ—Prophet, Priest, and King? The example and the life of Christ, the miracles of Christ, the temptations of Christ, the sufferings of Christ, His death, the victories of Christ, the resurrection, ascension, and intercession of Christ, and His coming to judgment? Is there not in the Scripture the doctrine of the Trinity, of the misery of man by sin, and his remedy by Christ? Of the covenant of grace, the conditions of this covenant, and the seals thereof? The many precious, glorious privileges that we have by Christ—reconciliation with God, justification, sanctification, and adoption? The several graces to be got, and duties to be done, and of men’s everlasting state in heaven or hell? Are these, and such like, contained in the Word of God that you ought to read daily in your houses? And yet do not you see the need of prayer before and after your reading of it? Weigh them well, and you will. 

3. Consider how much all the family are concerned to know and understand these things so necessary to salvation. If they are ignorant of them, they are undone. If they know not God, how shall they love Him? We might love an unseen God and an unseen Christ (1 Peter 1:8), but not an unknown God. If they in your family know not Christ, how shall they believe on Him? And yet they must perish and be damned, if they do not. They must for ever lose God and Christ and heaven and their souls, if they do not repent, believe, and be converted. And yet when that Book is read by which they should understand the nature of true saving grace, is not prayer needful? Especially when many have the Bible and read it, yet do not understand the things that do concern their peace! 

4. Consider further, the blindness of their minds and their inability, without the teachings of God’s Spirit, to know and understand these things. And yet is not prayer needful? 

5. Consider, yet further, the backwardness of their hearts to hearken to these weighty, necessary truths of God, and their unwillingness naturally to learn, show prayer to be necessary that God would make them able and willing to receive them. 

6. Once more, consider that prayer is a special means to obtain knowledge from God, and a blessing upon the teachings and instructions of the master of the family. David prayed that God would “open thou mine eyes,” that he might “behold wondrous things out of thy law” (Ps. 119:18). There are “wondrous things” in the Word of God. That fallen man should be recovered is a wondrous thing. That a holy God should be reconciled to sinful man is a wondrous thing. That the Son of God should take upon Him the nature of man, and God be manifested in the flesh, and a believer justified by the righteousness of another—these are wondrous things. But there is darkness upon our minds and a veil over our eyes, and the Scripture is a clasped, closed book that we cannot savingly understand these great wonderful things, to have our love chiefly upon them and our delight in them, except the Spirit of God take away the veil and remove our ignorance and enlighten our minds. And this wisdom is to be sought from God by fervent prayer. You that are masters of families, would you have your children and servants know these things and be affected with them? Would you have impressions made upon their minds and hearts of the great concernments of their souls? And therefore you do instruct them? But can you reach their hearts? Can you awaken their consciences? Can you not? And yet doth it not become you to pray to God with them, that He would do it? While you are a-praying jointly with them, God may be secretly disposing and powerfully preparing their hearts to receive His Word and your instructions from it. 

From “How May the Duty of Family Prayer Be Best Managed for the Spiritual Benefit of Every One in the Family?” Puritan Sermons 1659-1689, Being the Morning Exercises at Cripplegate, Vol 2, Richard Owen Roberts, Publisher. 

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The Fear of God and Revival

What happens to a community of ten thousand people if suddenly two thousand of those people begin to walk in the fear of God? The conduct of those people is no longer governed by the eye of the policeman but by the eye of God. The students in the schools conduct themselves not with reference to the teacher’s eye but to the eye of God. The community becomes in great measure a little Eden. Why? Because the fear of God implanted in the hearts of a number of people begins to be the soil out of which grows a pattern of community ethical uprightness. People begin to be kind to one another and thoughtful of one another. Every genuine Spirit-wrought revival in history has always been the womb out of which great social and ethical changes have been birthed.

– Al Martin – The Forgotten Fear, 122

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Laying Hold of Sabbath Joy

Did you know that the Sabbath was made to secure joy and justice? In Isaiah 56:1-8, we learn that the love of God is secured in the keeping of His commandments. As God’s people take hold of His covenant in the form of the Ten Commandments and keeping the Sabbath for worship, they come to the realization, “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments: and His commandments are not burdensome” (1 John 5:3).

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Do They Love Family Too Much?

In this video from our 2014 Burnings in the Soul men’s luncheon, Jeff Pollard addresses his audience of family-integrated church members and asks, “Do they love family too much?” Pollard stresses that we need to love Christ for who He is:

Christ is beautiful – the Scriptures make that obvious. Christ is holy, Christ is love, Christ is severe, Christ is mercy, Christ is sovereign, Christ is the judge. Do we love Him in all of those things? There’s far more! Do we love Him, if you know what that means. We want to love Him as He is, for who He is. Of course we love Him because He died on Calvary’s cross, and rose again, and ascended into heaven, and is seated at the Father’s right hand, and is coming back for us. But do we love Him because He is the judge of heaven and earth. Do we love Him for who He is? Do we love Him above all other persons, above all other things? Does He alone rule in our hearts, or have we let self, or something else usurp His throne? 

Brothers, let’s work to make the defining characteristic in our lives our unwavering love for Christ.

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Forgiveness – A Prerequisite to Proper Fear

Until a person knows the forgiveness of God based on the blood of the everlasting covenant, he will never rightly fear God. He may be terrified of God; he may have a dread of God, but that terror and dread will drive him away from God. The fear of God couched in the consciousness of forgiveness is a fear that causes us to draw near to God and to cling to Him and His ways… [T]he fear of God is the holy soil that produces a godly life.

– Al Martin – The Forgotten Fear, 111-12

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