Dear Rev. Kuiper:
I have just finished reading your article “How Can We Improve Our Family Altars?” and wish to thank you for it. Perhaps you would be surprised, even pleasantly so, to know there are still many of us younger parents who are deeply concerned about family altars in this era of speed.
It is true that for many it is but a tradition, and we have learned to question and analyze many “traditions” and their present-day value.
We have found a very big help in our family devotions (much are very far from perfect, and thereCore this is no boast) to make a special effort to include our children. I noticed in your article only slight attention was given to this, outside of praying about their problems, etc.
Concretely, should it be of interest to you, we have the following ways concerning devotions: (Our children range from six to twelve; so we are making every use we can of this period before they reach high school and college, with their heavy demands for time).
1. The Banner is used in the evening, with Father reading the passage. One of the children reads the “Comment” and also has the privilege of asking the questions. It may surprise you to know the child asked feels bad if he cannot answer. This often, too, leads to discussion and referral back to the Bible when minds have been wandering.
A devotional help, such as Daily Manna, or Spurgeon’s “Night and Morning,” is read at breakfast. This period may also be used to read Mrs. Vos’ Child Story Bible. Just a few moments a.re given to questions, and here the children take turns reading.
At noon, although Father is away, all the children come home briefly for lunch. Of necessity these devotions arc very brief, but the 10 minutes available are used for memorization. While it does not go fast, with constant review, and hearing each other in various stages of progress, many passages have been learned. We have also had “achievement rewards” when a certain number of verses have been learned. We try to understand what we learn.
At noon, and sometimes at other meals, the children are given an opportunity to lead in prayer. They are then asked to include the individuals named on the Mission Board Prayer Calendar.
Occasionally, we have “sentence” or “thought” prayers. Each is asked. in a moment of silence, to think about something special, and then turns are taken.
One meal a week is devoted to the Sunday School lesson.
Sunday evenings are usually al· lotted to reading the minister’s selection for the evening.
At intervals we repeat in unison the Apostles’ Creed, the Ten Commandments, the Beatitudes, and the Lord’s Prayer.
We have not found the above suggestions a cure-all by any means. Rather, to maintain family devotions is almost a “battle” in this day and age. But we pray that in establishing this while we still have so many “regular” meals together, it will help us in later years when time all but squeezes out the meals a. family eats all together.
Very truly yours, Lillian V. Grissen (Mrs. Ray Grissen)
*This letter was not intended for publication but at our request the writer kindly agreed to let us print it. H.J.K.