Family Worship

Rebuilding the Family Altar

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Reconstruire L’autel
l’Altare Di Famiglia
Reconstruindo o
Altar da Família
Restabilirea Altarului
de Familie
семейного алтаря
Reconstrucción del
Altar Familiar


Download extra materials at The Tool Belt section.


Teaching our Children to Worship and Love God

Scripture Text: 
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart with all your soul, and with all your strength.” Deuteronomy 6: 5 (NKJV)

It is a common practice on college campuses today to have professors participate in what is known as the “Last Lecture” talks. In these talks professors are asked to think deeply about what matters to them and to express these thoughts in a hypothetical final instruction or guidance for the audience. The audience is left to ponder their own ways of imparting wisdom if they knew they only had this final chance. Normally, professors are quite healthy while delivering a speech suggesting their demise is imminent.

Dr. Randy Pausch, however, was not healthy when he delivered his “Last Lecture.”  The 46-year-old professor of computer science at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (in the United States) had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and given only a few months to live. This father of three used his final lecture to leave a legacy for his own children, his students and to the world, as his lecture became a best-selling book.  

One thing that stands out in his book is his love for his family and for humankind.  He encourages us to be patient with others, saying: “wait long enough, and people will surprise you and impress you.” He showed pictures of his childhood bedroom wall decorated with mathematical equations he had drawn on the walls. He urges parents to allow their children to draw, paint and write on their bedroom walls as a favor to him, just as his mom had allowed him to do. He states that his mom believed in him and was patient and supportive in helping him fulfill his dreams. He once said, “Like Moses, I get to see the Promised Land, but I don’t get to step foot in it.”

It’s interesting that in this academic lecture, Dr. Pausch mentions the Prophet Moses. Indeed, Moses, too, had a lot to say to his ‘students’, his children, his people, the children of Israel, prior to his last climb up to Mount Nebo. Moses’ last lecture found in Deuteronomy 6:4-9, commonly known as the Shema, first stresses to the children of Israel that there is only one true God and reminds them of the commandment to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and might.” The Shema admonishes parents to “diligently teach” their children to love God, every opportunity they get, ‘in the morning, during the day, and at night.’ It is a declaration of faith, a pledge of allegiance to Jehovah—the one true God.

This final message of Moses can be a companion to the final lecture of the Old Testament found in the book of Malachi 4:5,6, “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes. And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a decree of utter destruction.” (ESV) These are the final words of the Old Testament.  

The Elijah Message found in this passage of scripture in Malachi says there will be turning of hearts before “the great and awesome day of the Lord comes.” Elijah’s message was a bold message to the people and families of his day, and still very much needed for our families of today. It is a reminder of the heart-turning work that God is going to do before the second coming of Jesus Christ. In the book of Malachi, the people had not only abandoned their covenant with God, but they had also abandoned their family covenants. Hence, the book of Malachi looks back to the times of Elijah the prophet who confronted the altars of Baal worship and rebuilds the altar of Jehovah, the one true God1.  Elijah had to restore the broken altars and teach the people how to worship again, restore their memory of the last lecture of Moses, where they were reminded of the commandment to love the one true God. 

The most miraculous part of this story is the extravagant love of God for His people.  When the fire fell, it consumed only the burnt offering but not the people. Despite the sinfulness of the people, God does not destroy them but gives them an opportunity to repent and turn their hearts to Him and to their children and others. When God restores there must always be a turning of hearts.

During this Family Togetherness Week of Prayer, our desire is for families to build or rebuild the altar of family worship in their homes. Family worship gives every family an opportunity to daily rebuild the altar of God. The Elijah Message is about heart-turning, not just obedience, and it’s the same with family worship. It is not about forcing children and families to have family worship; it is a message that turns the hearts of the parents to their children and children to their parents. It is about the relationship of family members to each other and to God.  Family worship is an opportunity for family members to reflect the warmth of God’s love, forgiveness, and acceptance.

How do we rebuild altars in 2022? What are the altars of Baal in our homes today that need to be destroyed so that God’s altar can be rebuilt? How can we teach our children and families to worship God and rebuild the family altar as Elijah rebuilt the altar in his day? In our homes today, there is a deep yearning for connection. Many family relationships have been broken and need to be restored. We need modern-day Elijahs in homes that desperately need hope, healing, and heart-turning. We need to restore our relationship with the one true God, Jehovah, the only one who can bring true peace, hope, and healing to our hearts and homes.

During this week of prayer, we endeavor to inspire new habits of positive and healthy communication in your home; heart-turning behaviors that are grounded in grace and the fruit of the spirit.  When we rebuild the family altar daily, we make a statement that we are putting Jesus Christ at the center of our lives and in our homes. We pray this new or restored habit of family worship will become a regular habit that will bond our families closer together, deepen our faith in God, help us to share the good news of the gospel with others, and better prepare us for the soon coming of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Willie and Elaine Oliver, Directors
Adventist Family Ministries

Seventh-day Adventist Church
World Headquarters

Get Started!

This resource has been created with the entire family in mind. Think of it like a toolbox with various tools to help you get started in building or rebuilding a regular habit of Family Worship. There are four parts for every day of the Family Togetherness Week of Prayer, beginning on Sunday and ending on Sabbath: 

  1. Memory Text: Read and memorize God’s Word
  2. Devotional Reading: Reinforce God’s Word
  3. Prayer: Pray for Power found in God’s Word
  4. Activity: Apply and Live God’s Word

If you can do all four sections in one setting every day, great!  However, if you are short on time, you can read or say the memory text and say the prayer in the morning. Then in the evening you can read the devotional and do an activity or just the devotional and the prayer. It’s your toolbox so do what works for your family! The most important thing is to make a commitment to doing something that intentionally points your family to God daily. Bring God into your big and small moments!

Guilt-free Zone!

Building a habit of having regular family worship takes time. The altars in the Old Testament were made with loose rocks, so over time, the altars had to be rebuilt, sometimes due to the climate elements or lack of use. The same is true for our family altars; if you try and it doesn’t work, do something different. Rebuilding the family altar means to establish a regular habit of setting aside time to worship God as a family. 

If you haven’t had family worship for a while or don’t know what to do, just get started (this resource can help). Family worship time is family time, so keep it fresh, relevant, and age appropriate. If all you can do one day is pray, gather the family together, and pray! Every family is unique so, you get to custom-build your own family altar. There is no guilt, no shame, just pure worship of Jehovah—the one true God.

In every family there should be a fixed time for morning and evening worship. How appropriate it is for parents to gather their children about them before the fast is broken, to thank the heavenly Father for His protection during the night, and…when evening comes, to gather once more before Him and thank Him for the blessings of the day past.

E. G. White, Child Guidance, p. 520

Family Worship
What? Why? How?

Worship is a time when we give adoration and praise to God. With reverence, humility, and gratitude, we make our requests to him. In the Old Testament, animals were sacrificed on the altars. Today, we need only a sacrifice of time and self. When we add the word family to worship, we come together to worship God as a family. Parents especially get an opportunity to disciple their children and teach them how to worship God. Together, we take the time to express honor and respect to God and acknowledge Him as Lord and Savior of our lives and our home. This experience bonds us to one another and draws us closer to God.

Every family can decide how their family worship time looks and what tools they will include. It may consist of reading the bible, singing a song, and praying together as a family. But there are many ways to have family worship as many as there are families. Every family is unique, so you can custom build your family altar just for your family. The only thing that remains the same is that we should turn our focus toward God, the Creator and Sustainer of humankind.

Why Family Worship?

  • It teaches our children and families to worship God
  • Places God at the center of our homes
  • Bonds our families together
  • Protects our children and families
  • Establishes spiritual values

Family Worship is:

  • Interactive
  • Shared leadership
  • Brief and engaging

Family Worship is not:

  • A lecture, sermon, or coercive activity
  • Time for discipline or punishment
  • Entertainment

There is no reason why [family worship] should not be the most interesting and enjoyable exercise of the home life, and God is dishonored when it is made dry and irksome. Let the seasons of family worship be short and spirited.

E. G. White, Child Guidance, p. 521

Bible Text for this Week

There’s only one key memory verse for this week, so it’s easy to learn it and memorize it. Read it, practice it, remember it as a family.  Keep it in your heart!

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.” Deuteronomy 6: 5 (NKJV)

The LORD is our God, the LORD alone (as the NRSV translates it) — a statement about the LORD’s exclusive authority.

In Hebrew, the word “heart,” levav, usually refers to the interior of the body where thought, intention, and feeling come from.

The word “soul,” nephesh, is the totality of the person, sometimes understood as “life,” or “being.”

The word translated “might” is the Hebrew word meh-ode’, which really means “exceedingly,” or “very, very much.”




Scripture Text: 
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart with all your soul, and with all your strength.” Deuteronomy 6: 5 (NKJV)


What do you think of when you hear build, design, or create? Can you name things you or someone else made, designed, or created? Maybe a dollhouse, a model car, a gazebo, or even a house. What about this universe? The Bible tells us in Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” 

Our world is God’s intentional design and creation. God had a plan, a divine blueprint. A blueprint is a detailed plan used by every builder to construct a house or other structure. It provides all the drawings and clear instructions on where everything should go and how it should be done. God purposefully designed and built every aspect of the universe; He created something from nothing during the seven days of creation. No part of God’s creation resulted from a random chance or coincidence. We worship God because He is our Creator, and He wants to be in a relationship with us. We are important to Him, and if He is important to us, we should put Him first in everything we do every day.

“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” Genesis 1:1


God is the Designer and Creator of all things.
Read Genesis 1:1 – 2:7

The Bible tells us that in the beginning, God had a plan, a “divine blueprint” that was first established in His mind and His heart. He laid out a precise sequence or order during Creation week, a literal week of seven days. On day one, there was day and night (Gen. 3-5). On day two, He divided the earth from the seas (Gen. 1:6-8). On day three, God called forth the vegetation, grass, herbs that yielded seeds, and fruit trees, all needed for human beings to sustain life (Gen. 1:9-13).

On day four, God created the sun, the moon, and the stars, “God set them in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth, and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from darkness” (Gen. 1: 14-19). On day five, God created all kinds of fish for the sea and created every type of winged bird to fly in the sky (Gen.1: 20-23). On day six, God created animals, and then He created human beings in His own image (Gen. 1: 24-31. On day 7, God rested and blessed and made holy the seventh day, the Sabbath. Scientists—astronomers, biologists, geologists, physicians and physicists continue to be baffled by the intricate and detailed creativity—all made by the hand of God.

Our universe was designed and created by the Creator God who purposefully built a majestic creation and culminated his creation with human beings. We are made in his image; to be like Him in character and purpose. God wants to be in a relationship with us. We should feel grateful to worship Him as we think about how great and awesome God is. We were made to worship God, and He should always take center stage in our homes and in our family relationships. 

Families today have many competing commitments. However, the most important things to your family should never be squeezed out by those things that matter less. Only your family can decide those priorities; ask one another if you want to live by your values or other outside pressures and demands. If you say you love the Lord and want to be in a relationship with Him, then determine to make Him a priority in your family life. Make a commitment today to put family worship in the schedule first.


Dear God, You are our Creator, and for this reason we worship You. We thank You for making us in Your image and for Your love, mercy, and grace. Help us to put You first in our lives and to follow the blueprint in Your Word. We love You with all our heart, and soul and strength. In Jesus’ name, amen.


Bible Challenge
Practice the memory verse together as a family. You can create a song using the bible verse or any memory device that will help you memorize it.

Family talk

  • How has God demonstrated that He values us and loves us?
  • How can we demonstrate that we love God? Share one way in which you can show that you value and respect your fellow human beings.
  • Share one way in which you can value and respect one another in the family. Choose one family member to whom you will give extra love and respect today. Choose one person outside of your family that you can show extra kindness today.

Rebuilding the Family Altar
Create a family mission statement for your family

  1. Gather your family together and write down the answers to these questions: Have everyone get involved in answering the questions. Make sure to look out for the quiet ones and encourage them to share. The process is equally as crucial as the result. During this process, you may learn new things about one another and find new ways to affirm and validate every family member.
  • How will we treat each other?
  • What traits do we want to represent our family (you can include the fruit of the spirit)?
  • What things do we not want in our family?
  • What kind of home do we want to invite our friends to?
  • How can we encourage growth and self-esteem in each family member?
  • How can we deepen our faith and have a closer relationship with Jesus? How will we include family worship into our busy schedules? When will we do it? What will it look like in our family?
  1. Optional: Creating a vision board is an excellent step to add to this process. If you have the materials, you can look for magazine pictures, family pictures, stickers, and markers and create a board that represents who your family is with icons that show the individuality of every family member. You may do your vision board online; however, since everyone is spending a lot of time online (Zoom meetings, social media, etc.), using tangible materials will make it a kinesthetic activity, getting everyone involved.
  2. Now, put everyone’s ideas together and write a statement that summarizes who you are or want to be as a family. It can be a song, a poem, a phrase, or even a single word. Remember the process is as important as the outcome. So, take the time and get everyone involved. This statement should inspire you and serve as a GPS to keep your family on track, especially during turbulent times. 
  3. Write, type, or draw your family mission statement. Frame it and put it somewhere everyone can see it. Read it every day. Give every family member their own copy.

Explore the uniqueness of your family

Write it, draw it, frame it

Live it daily




Scripture Text: 
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart with all your soul, and with all your strength.” Deuteronomy 6: 5 (NKJV)


Imagine this: You are going on a long hike to see a fantastic view from a certain mountain peak—it might be Table Mountain in South Africa, the Matterhorn in Switzerland or Italy, Mount Denali in the USA, or Mount Fuji in Japan. Maybe you want to think about some smaller mountain where you live! However, during your hike, the climb gets steeper and more challenging. Soon, you begin to wonder if there is a quicker and easier path. You see several colored arrows pointing in different directions. However, there’s only one arrow for the mountain peak you desire to see, and the path you’re on is the only way to get there. You’re on the right track. If you keep going a little longer, you will get there. 

Many false gods in our world today try to point us away from the one true God. When we follow the path God provided for us and follow His plan, we will experience His extraordinary love, grace, and forgiveness. 

“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.'” John 14:6


The Battle of the Gods.
Read 1 Kings 18:20-29

Have you noticed that most Christians don’t name their children “Ahab” or “Jezebel” for a good reason? King Ahab was considered one of the worst kings of Israel. When he disobeyed God and married pagan princess Jezebel, he started serving and worshipping Baal (1 Kings 16:31). Once again, the children of Israel accepted poor directions and influences and forgot to worship only Yahweh or Jehovah, the one true God. The God that Moses told them to love “with all your heart and soul and strength” before he died. They started worshipping the Baal gods (Baal was a prominent storm god and fertility god) and other gods and goddesses. Many abandoned worshipping the Creator God, while others tried to worship the gods of Baal in addition to Yahweh.

Elijah (whose name means “Yahweh is my God”) was commanded by God to go to meet Ahab. Elijah always followed God’s directions, so when God spoke, he obeyed. As Elijah climbed Mount Carmel, he could see King Ahab arriving in his royal robes, his prophets, and the Israelites who, as mentioned before, were straddling the fence between their dedication to Yahweh and the pagan gods of their king, Ahab, and his devious pagan wife, Jezebel. Since Mount Carmel was Baal’s turf, Elijah, as directed by God, gave the prophets of Baal the “home-field advantage.”

Today, like the Israelites, many of us Christian are riding the fence. In many ways serving other gods while intending to worship the one true God. Most of us genuinely believe we are only worshipping the true God and may not recognize how other gods have captured our attention and affection sneakily and innocently. In yesterday’s devotional, we discussed making a mission statement that includes what you want your family to look like and what characteristics would represent your family. What you do not want your family to look like or have is equally important. 

Today, take time to reflect on what false gods might be vying for your worship. While some may even be good, these might be things or activities that send us in the wrong direction, away from God rather than closer to Him. Some of these may include smart devices, social media, academics, sports, busyness, and other activities that become false altars if we don’t put them in their proper place, space, and time. Make a commitment to look only to Jesus to point you in the right direction and fulfill all your deepest desires, wants, and needs.


Dear God, You are the one true God and we are Your servants. We want to obey Your Word. Please help us to believe in You and not allow other gods to take Your place. We love You with all our hearts and strength. In Jesus’ name, amen.


Bible Challenge

Practice the memory verse together as a family. Try saying it in the present tense: “I will love the Lord my God with all my heart, all my soul, and with all my strength.”

Family talk

Answer individually and as a family:

  • Do you ever find yourself worshipping at the wrong altar? 
  • Can you identify specific activities, attitudes, or belongings that have already become or could become false gods in your life or home? 
  • How might you be ‘calling’ on these things listed above to meet inner needs and yearnings? 
  • What can you do to change your worship altar to focus first on the God of heaven and earth?

Rebuilding the Family Altar

Make a Plan
Decide as a family what you will do during family worship: sing or play the same song, read a bible text, bible passage, devotional, or sabbath school lesson.

Create a worship calendar
Set a time for morning and evening worship that best fits the schedules of your family members. This will require rescheduling worship time according to family activities’ seasonal, school, and work variations. Have worship during breakfast, during the drive to school, at dinner time, or right before bed at night. When you set a schedule for family worship, you are more likely to have it. It allows you to control activities to allow time for worship.

Have a worship emergency plan
There will be times when you can’t follow the schedule. Choose one thing that you do every time you have worship. When the schedule gets off balance, do at least that one thing. It might be a special song that you sing or reciting a favorite bible text. 

While it may not be in everyone’s toolbox, most carpenters have a level tool. It is used to determine if a surface is horizontal or vertical. Without a level, you can’t build a house that works well or looks good—you wouldn’t even be able to put up a door properly. The level helps to keep everything in balance. We all want to feel level in our lives; some call it balance or equilibrium.

Having regular family worship times can help keep your family life in balance. It may seem like it may put you out of balance. However, when we worship God and bring him purposefully into our homes, we receive the centering or leveling from having the Spirit of God flow through us. Just keep doing it until you can’t do without it.




Scripture Text: 
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart with all your soul, and with all your strength.” Deuteronomy 6: 5 (NKJV)


Prior to the pandemic that started in 2020, few people outside the health care community knew anything about personal protective equipment (PPE). That changed very fast. Most medical professionals think of PPE in terms of the five areas most vulnerable to health enemies or threats: eyes and face, hands, body, respiratory system, and ears or hearing. These areas are points of entry for any wicked virus like COVID-19. Each category has specific safety equipment, and there’s a right way and a wrong way to put on the PPE. For example, when putting on a face mask, the nose and mouth must be covered, not just the mouth. And it should fit snugly. There’s a proper way to wash one’s hands as well, like singing happy birthday. You get the idea. 

To protect ourselves from our spiritual “enemies,” we also need to put on the proper protective gear. The apostle Paul uses military metaphors; speaking of helmets, swords, breastplates, etc., to protect us from Satan’s evil helpers that threaten to attack our homes and families. Pray today for God’s protective covering on every family member and to also protect our eyes, ears, and mouth from harmful influences. Choose good over evil. “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against rulers, against authorities, against cosmic powers…” Ephesians 6:11,12


The battle between good and evil is playing out in our homes. 
Read 1 Kings 18:20-40, Ephesians 6:10-17

The contest was a relatively simple one. The prophets of Baal would build an altar for their god, and Elijah would make one for his. It would be a battle of the gods. Elijah — Yahweh’s prophet — and the priests of Baal would cut up a bull for sacrifice on each altar but not put fire on it. They would rely on their deity to do that. The altar that got fired up first would be the winner, and that god would be the god of the people. After six hours of crying and pleading to Baal by the prophets of Baal, there was no fire. Despite all the uproar, the writer of 1 Kings tells us: “There was no voice, no answer, and no response” (v. 29). 

Now it was Elijah’s turn. He rebuilt the altar of the Lord that had been torn down for some time, taking 12 stones as a symbol for the 12 tribes of Israel. Then he dug a trench around it. After arranging the wood and the pieces of the bull, he had four jars of water poured over the altar three times, soaking everything thoroughly and even filling up the trench around the altar. Then Elijah prays: “O Lord, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that you are God in Israel, that I am your servant, and that I have done all these things at your bidding. Answer me, Lord, answer me, so that this people may know that you, O Lord, are God, and that you have turned their hearts back” (v. 36-37). 

A cosmic drama, what is called the great controversy, is being played out in our families today and evil minions are doing their best to crowd out God in our homes. Television, social media, smartphones, and other devices have consumed much of our families’ time, attention, and maybe even affection. While the impact may have damaging effects on mental health, social skills, memory, and self-image, a more immediate and powerful influence is experienced daily in our homes. A lack of interaction is causing a significant disconnect between husband and wife, parent, and child, leading to silly arguments and senseless hurts. These seemingly little hurts lead to larger destruction of our homes. 

The truth is that if we spend more time with ‘false gods,’ it will be harder for us to really know the voice of the one true God and even more difficult to worship Him. Remember the old sayings, “we are what we eat?” or “GIGO—garbage in, garbage out?” Well, the same is true for our minds. Our minds are deeply influenced by what we see and hear, affecting what we think and do. As such, we must arm our families against the enemy’s wiles. “Therefore, take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” Ephesians 6:13. 

When we study God’s word daily and pray for his protection over our family, claiming Jesus’ victory over Satan, we choose good over evil. Our minds will be transformed and ready to hear God’s voice. We become more aware of the enemy’s strategies and are better prepared for the attacks against our families. We become more courageous and consciously choose to reject the values and beliefs that do not align with our family mission statement. When we pray for a hedge of protection around our family, angels that excel in strength are commissioned, and the evil forces retreat from the battle. Will you choose today to be on the side of Christ? Jesus Wins!


Dear God, thank You for Jesus, the Great Protector. Thank You for the opportunity to come boldly before Your throne of mercy to call on You, like Elijah, to perform miracles in our families. Please put a hedge of protection around our family (name everyone in your home) and those who have wandered away from You. We want to be on Your side until You return to take us home with You. In Jesus’ name, amen.


Bible Challenge

Practice the memory verse together as a family. See who is ready to say it from memory.  If everyone already has it memorized, consider memorizing the entire Shema (Deuteronomy 6:4-9). 

Family talk

Answer individually and as a family:

  • What is the great controversy?
  • How does this affect our family?
  • What must we do to put a hedge of protection around our family members?
  • How can I choose good over evil every day? (eg. use kind words, be honest, show respect, be grateful, spend less time on phone and more time with the family, etc.)

Rebuilding the Family Altar

Make a phone/device basket and have everyone (including adults) put their devices in the basket during dinner and worship time. Discuss this new family rule during a family meeting or put on your family mission statement that dinner time and worship time will be a phone-free zone.

Choose a special place in your home where you can pray together first thing in the morning. Kneel facing each other, making a family altar. You can also remain standing and hold hands. Have each person say a short prayer. Close with a bible text such as Psalm 19:14, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.” End with a family group hug.   

Evening worship time is a great time for relationship building.  Start your evening worship by asking each person any of the following questions (including parents): What were your miracles today? What were your challenges? What was the nicest thing that someone did for you today? What was the nicest thing you did for someone today? What are you most grateful for today? Sing your worship song, read a text, and pray. End with a family group hug.

Illustration for Children 
Hold up a construction helmet, then ask: Is this the only piece of equipment needed to protect a construction worker? While the helmet is very important so are the shirt, pants, and especially boots and gloves! Construction workers wear special protective gloves and boots. In the same way, we need special equipment to be good Christians. The apostle Paul says we need “the helmet of salvation” (Ephesians 6:17), which protects us from losing God’s gift of everlasting life. Ask the children if there is anything else we need. Note that Paul recommends “the belt of truth” (v. 14), which wraps God’s truth around us … special shoes to help us go and “proclaim the gospel of peace” (v. 15) … and “the shield of faith” (v. 16), which protects us from evil. Ask the children if they can buy this special equipment in a store. No! Tell them that the best place to get these items is in church, where they can learn all about salvation, truth, peace, and faith. Remind the children that they need all these things, and that one piece of equipment isn’t enough. Encourage them to keep coming to family worship and church and church school, until their Christian uniform is complete.




Scripture Text: 
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart with all your soul, and with all your strength.” Deuteronomy 6: 5 (NKJV)


Weeds grow fast, spread everywhere, and can eventually overtake the real flowers or plants they try to mimic. Some weeds may so closely resemble the actual flower or plant that it is difficult to distinguish between the real flower and the weeds. Can you think of some weeds that look like flowers? If left unattended, weeds will overpower the real flowers or plants and, in some cases, strangle them. However, if we remove weeds and daily care for the real flowers by watering, fertilizing, and exposing them to sunshine, the real flower or plant will stand firm. 

God wants us to be real flowers and bring beauty into this world. He made us to reflect His image and His character. However, just like the battle between the flowers and the weeds, we have the battle of good and evil taking place in our homes and in our hearts. Satan is working diligently to disrupt the harmony and sweet aroma in our homes. Every time we say angry words, have grumpy attitudes, yell harsh commands, and disrespect one another, Satan believes he wins. It’s a part of the great controversy. Here’s the good news! Jesus wins! He’s wrestling Satan for us. When we communicate with grace, respect one another, listen patiently, speak kind words, and forgive one another, we claim the victory of Jesus. Commit to rebuilding the family altar in your home daily and pray for Jesus to protect every family member from the tricks of the enemy. “Love is patient and kind, love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude.” 1 Corinthians 13:4


Turning the hearts of the parents to the children. 
Read Malachi 4:5-6

This story of Elijah on Mt. Carmel ends with a heart-turning message. It is not just a message of obedience but about a God who loves us and wants the best for our families. Before Elijah prays, he calls the people to come closer to him. Even though they had been disobedient, God doesn’t destroy them. God shows them that He longs to have them turn back to Him. True heart-turning turns our hearts towards Jesus Christ, allowing family members to turn towards each other and reflect the warmth of God’s love, grace, forgiveness, and acceptance. Rebuilding the family altar means spending more time in prayer and bible study and calling on the Spirit of God to perform a miracle in our homes and in our hearts. 

Ellen G. White states, “The cause of division and discord in families and in the church is separation from Christ. To come near to Christ is to come near to one another. The secret to true unity in the church and in the family is not diplomacy not management, not superhuman effort to overcome difficulties—though there will be much of this to do—but union with Christ.” The Adventist Home, 179.1. When we rebuild the family altar and make Christ the center of our homes, we enter into a closer relationship with Christ. It is through this relationship that God can make good relationships better and poor relationships good. Successful and healthy family relationships begin by acknowledging the inherent worth of every member of the family. Jesus always affirmed and accepted people regardless of their sins.  He showed love and compassion for them, drew them close and then he asked then to repent and follow him.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if everyone in our family felt loved, accepted, understood, and cherished? Imagine what our home environment would be like if we recognized everyone for their own unique gifts and talents and encouraged each to shine in their own way. Envision a home where every child is a favorite and is valued for who they are, and not one feels left out because he or she isn’t like their sibling or exactly like one or both parents. Many times, poor family relationships can be traced to a poor self-concept, either how that person views self and their worth in relation to other family members and their infinite worth in the eyes of God. 

Heart turning means allowing God to first change your hearts as fathers, mothers, parents and guardians—the adults in the home—toward your children and others who need to know the one true God.  When you look at each family member, put on your Jesus “lenses” and see each one through the tender, and loving eyes of Jesus. Ask God to tear down any walls of hostility, anger, disappointment, and resentment and to give you a heart like Jesus. Before Elijah prayed on Mt. Carmel, he called the people to come closer to him. He didn’t despise them publicly or in his heart, he wanted them to experience the abundant, unfailing love of God. For many parents, this may require some repentance to God and apologies to your children for not loving them in the way Jesus teaches us to love.

Call on God, like Elijah, to turn hearts in your home today, especially to the one you think doesn’t deserve it. Pray especially for your own children or others who have wandered away from serving the one true God. Parents, ask for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit in your home. Ask God to teach you how to love deeply and unconditionally like He loves us. When this heart-turning takes place in our homes we become modern day Elijahs and can lead our children and others to serve God and prepare for the second coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 


Dear God, teach us to love like You love us, and please forgive us for those times we have not loved like You. Help us to turn out hearts toward our children and turn our children’s hearts toward us. May the warmth of Your love abide in our home, and may we abide with You always. In Jesus’ name, amen.


Bible Challenge

Mid-week checkpoint: Recite the memory verse together as a family.

Family talk

Parents and guardians: 

  • How are you teaching your children to love Jesus? 
  • In what ways are you showing your children the true love of Jesus as you talk and interact with them? 
  • How do your daily decisions convey to your children that they are precious in God’s eyes and in yours? 
  • What small changes can you make today to be more patient, kind, and understanding to your children and family members?

*Note to parents: Many research studies on families suggest that parents frequently create a rivalry in families by preferring one child over another. The favorite child is usually the child that is most like the parent(s) or the child that always obeys them. When preferential treatment is consistently focused on one child, it can become unhealthy, leaving the non-favored child vulnerable to depression, or the favored child begins to feel responsible for the parent’s happiness. Commit to making everyone in your home your “favorite.”

Rebuilding the Family Altar

Heart-turning takes time, but it doesn’t require as much time as you think.  Simple activities like one-on-one bonding can be done daily with a little extra thought and effort. Parents (two-parents, single parents, grandparents, guardians) today is your day for heart-turning, so try one of these activities and have fun!

One-on-one Bonding Activity: Ask your child or children individually what activity (not homework) they would like to do only with you (not with other family members) for just 15 minutes every day. If it’s a reasonable ask, financially feasible, and physically possible, schedule time to do this activity with your child. Ask your child what special activity they would like to do once a month, just the two of you, and schedule a time to do this activity together. Remember this is a one-on-one activity—one parent, one child. 

15-minute Bonding Ideas: Read a book, work on a puzzle, play a game inside or outside, go for a walk, listen attentively without speaking, scolding, or giving advice, and share your spiritual journey.

Monthly bonding ideas: Have breakfast together on Sunday morning at a favorite eatery, have a picnic together, build or make something, go shopping, go to a concert, or watch a favorite sports team, go camping or hiking, go to a lake or mountain and spend time talking about our Creator God. 

Remember, parents, there should be no judgment during these activities; listen more and talk less. This is especially important for your early adolescents and teens. When you talk about God, allow them to share their spiritual struggles, doubts, and questions in a safe space. Bonding time is an opportunity to foster warmth and affection and build greater trust between parent and child. Children see God through their parents. They will catch your values if you are consistent with family worship, your own devotional time and your love.




Scripture Text: 
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart with all your soul, and with all your strength.” Deuteronomy 6: 5 (NKJV)


Children, teens, and young adults, have a responsibility too! Do you sometimes feel like life doesn’t seem fair (and many times it simply is not fair) or you don’t understand the rules your parents have set? Perhaps you question some of the decisions your parents make on your behalf, or you are disappointed in the way they speak to you sometimes. 

Stop and think about all the good things your parents do for you like providing for your needs—food, shelter, clothing, education, and many extras, then thank God for them and ask God to help you be an obedient child, regardless of your age. Ask God to forgive your parents for the times they don’t get it right and ask God to help you turn your heart toward your mother, father, or guardian. If your parent has not been responsible or godly, pray to God and ask Him to perform a miracle in your home, to change your parents, or change your situation. “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.” Ephesians 6:1


Turning the hearts of the children to the parents. 
Read Malachi 4:5-6

The story of Elijah on Mt. Carmel was epic! Some of the most powerful parts of the story are the persevering prayers of Elijah.  Amazing things happened when Elijah prayed. Elijah prayed that God would restore the broken altar and save the people. The Elijah message is just as relevant in our homes today.  Parents, we need to pray for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit earnestly and diligently in our homes that will encourage heart-turning—repentance and forgiveness between parents and children and between family members.

While parents may not always get it right, God expects parents to guide, teach and discipline their children. The word discipline comes from the word disciple. In essence, when we discipline our children, we are discipling them, not punishing them, but rather correcting and guiding them. Parents are to disciple their children in the ways of God in the hope they will ultimately choose Christ as their Lord and Savior. “The home should be to the children the most attractive place in the world…Children have sensitive natures. They are easily pleased, and easily made unhappy. By gentle discipline, in loving words and acts, mothers [parents] may bind their children to their hearts.” The Adventist Home, p. 21

It’s easy as adults to forget how powerless children can feel and the pressure they feel daily to cooperate and comply with the many demands thrown at them all day. “Clean up your room or you won’t get to play video games.” “Eat your veggies or you will not get dessert.” “You are not leaving this house looking like that!” And when all else fails, “Because I said so!” Imagine how you would feel if you were spoken to like that every day! It is necessary for parents to set appropriate boundaries with children, however, it’s equally as important for children to be taught how to make healthy choices.  God wants us to follow Him, but He gives every individual the power to choose. Children that are given choices, are better prepared to act responsibly, especially when confronted with choices that go against their family’s values. Being able to make decisions in various aspects of their lives also helps children to develop healthier self-esteem and belief that they matter to others, especially their parents and to God.

It takes time and patience to allow your child to have choices. But remember, a little time now, can have important long-term benefits. The opposite is true, not taking the time or having patience will have significant long-term consequences. Giving your child choices doesn’t mean you grant every wish or desire, but even a three-year-old can be given the choice to wear green pants or black pants or take a nap on the floor or on the bed. The idea is that pants need to be worn, but does it matter what color they are if it’s not a school uniform? Your child needs to take a nap, does it have to be on the bed? 

Commit to helping your child feel that he or she matters to you and to God and that there will be a major heart-turning in your home during this week and beyond.


Dear God, we are very grateful You always give us choices. We thank You for showing us daily how special we are in Your eyes and that we matter to You. You alone deserve our honor and praise. We want to follow You always and choose You again and again. In Jesus’ name, amen.


Bible Challenge

Recite the memory text together as a family. Look for other texts in the Bible that have a similar promise or command.

Family talk

  • Do you believe God has a special purpose and mission for your family?
  • Do you feel that God has performed special blessings or miracles for your family now or in the generations before? Share these stories with each other and with others who might be encouraged by hearing your family story.
  • Why is heart-turning so important in understanding God’s desire to have a covenant with each of us and with our family?

Rebuilding the Family Altar

Fill a bag with balls that are used for different sports. Get your children to identify the different kinds of balls and find out what game is their favorite. 

Then ask them about the rules! Do they know the rules of the game? Ask them what happens when a rule is broken. 

Sometimes, a player will be thrown out of the game! Or the entire team might get a penalty of some kind just because one person didn’t play by the rules.

God has rules, too. Talk about what these rules might be. And when we break them, it’s not good. God is not happy. We are not happy (because we feel bad inside) and others are not happy — like mom or dad, or our teachers or friends. But the good news is that when we break God’s rules, we are not out of the game! There is still hope. God loves us. That is what the Bible says. God wants to give us as many opportunities as possible to stay in the Game. He wants to save us in His Kingdom.




Scripture Text: 
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart with all your soul, and with all your strength.” Deuteronomy 6: 5 (NKJV)


The Sabbath, marriage and the family go together in the Bible. Marriage (and the family) was the first institution established by God at creation, and the Sabbath was the second institution He inaugurated at the end of creation week, a memorial acknowledging God as Creator. The Sabbath is a very important day in the Bible and should be a special day in the lives of people who love and believe in Jesus.  

On social media people tend to share their opinions about everything—sometimes based on “facts” they have read somewhere or grounded on something they made up on the spot. Very often social media posts are liked and shared by “friends” as if they were from God or someone connected to God. Much information shared about the Sabbath is often like a social media post based on someone’s opinion of what someone said, rather than a careful study of the word of God. 

It is important for us to know today, the difference between information and values that come from God—the Creator of the universe—and those that come from anywhere else. Where an idea comes from will determine the worth or lack of importance it has. This means that the source of every idea is very important, since it determines whether we should take it seriously or simply disregard it.


God rested on the seventh day.
Read Genesis 2:1-3, Exodus 20:8

The test for New York City cabbies (taxi drivers) has been reduced from more than 80 questions to only 10! Jesus did something similar with the Ten Commandments. Now that technology has given access to Global Positioning Systems (GPS), it has changed how well cabbies need to know the city to be given the privilege to drive a cab (taxi) in New York. Because smartphones are easy to obtain and they often have applications with a GPS, it is rather easy for cabbies to get where you want to go without knowing the city. Longtime yellow cab customers, however, are not sure they like this new system. One of them said recently: “If I got into a cab and the driver didn’t know where The Empire State Building was, that would be ridiculous. It would be like hiring a chef who has never cooked rice before.” 

When a scribe came up to Jesus—in Mark 12:28—and asked Him which was the most important commandment of all, Jesus answered by quoting Deuteronomy 6:5: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your strength.” Jesus summarized the first four commandments by stating that obeying God in everything was the true purpose of the Commandments—that’s what loving God means. So, Jesus draws the distinction between head knowledge and heart knowledge. 

A beginner New York City cabbie with a GPS may be able to map a course from JFK International Airport to a hotel in Times Square—but is the capacity of his GPS equal to the deep knowledge of the City of the seasoned veteran cabbie who really knows every block of the City and can see Times Square in his mind even before getting there?

Therefore, to know about the Sabbath is to know that God gave it to us at the end of a long week of work and school as a means of helping us to slowdown and reconnect with Him. In fact, the Sabbath is God’s gift to humans, so we may experience rest, renewal, restoration, and worship. The Sabbath was given as a sign between God and His people—a sign of their allegiance to Him as their Savior and Lord. 

This is exactly what was happening with Elijah on Mount Carmel in 1 Kings 18:21, 30. Because the children of Israel had turned their backs on God and had quit keeping the Sabbath and worshipping God with their families on a regular basis, Elijah appeared to confront them about what they were doing. He challenged the children of Israel to make up their minds who they were going to worship—God or Baal—and he repaired the altar of the Lord—because it was broken down—so the children of Israel could get back to establishing the habit of worshipping the true God of heaven. 

Today we encourage you to choose God by being obedient to the commandments—especially keeping the Sabbath—as God ordained from the very beginning of time. And rebuild your family altars—if they have been broken down—so you can regularly call on the name of the Lord with your family during your daily family worships.


Dear God, we want to do Your will by obeying Your commandments. Help us to experience the power of Your presence, so that we may experience Your power in our lives. Help us to choose You today and every day. Save us when You come to take Your children to heaven. In Jesus’ name, amen.


Bible Challenge

Recite the memory verse as a family. Share it with a friend or neighbor.

Family talk

  • What makes the Sabbath a special day?  
  • Do we sometimes forget to “remember to keep the Sabbath holy?” (Exodus 20:8). What are ways that we can remember the Sabbath?
  • Do you recognize that the Sabbath is a gift from your Father in Heaven who loves you and wants you to enjoy abundant life on earth and in the world to come?

Rebuilding the Family Altar

Decide as a family what you will do to make Sabbath special.

Set a time for sundown worship each Friday evening to welcome the Sabbath and plan to use the idea of a preparation day to do just that—prepare for the Sabbath—so you can concentrate on worshipping God and communing with Him as a family, rather than being busy doing things that do not connect you with God or enhance your relationship with Him. 

Find ways to make Sabbath special and celebrate the joy you experience and share that with each other at sundown worship on Sabbath evening, thanking God for the day of rest and the opportunity to connect with each other, worship Him and take the time to share God with your neighbors and friends. 

Families today are driven by fast-moving schedules. The Sabbath is our gift from God that provides a sweet oasis of rest. Developing routines that remind us about the approaching day of rest can help prepare our minds for this special time. We can train our brains to anticipate the Sabbath by cultivating habits such a tidying the house, getting our clothes ready for church, buying or baking bread, eating a special meal, or playing favorite hymns. Using a book of Bible stories that is only read at Friday evening worships, and engaging in other Sabbath-specific activities will help to make celebrating Sabbath a special occasion for our families.



Measuring Tape

Scripture Text: 
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart with all your soul, and with all your strength.” Deuteronomy 6: 5 (NKJV)


The second coming of Jesus Christ is the blessed hope of God’s people, the majestic culmination of the gospel. The second coming of Jesus will be literal, personal, visible, and worldwide. When Christ returns, those who have died believing in Him as their personal Savior—along with the righteous who are still alive—will be changed and taken to heaven, while those who rejected the salvation offered by Jesus will not make it. The things that are happening in our world today and the prophecies—most of them have already been fulfilled—point to the reality that Jesus will come again very soon. Since no one really knows the exact time when Jesus will come, it is important for us to always be ready, even today. 

“But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Take heed, watch and pray; for you do not know when the time is.” Mark 13:32, 33. 


The Promise Made by Jesus. 
Read John 14:1-3

What a remarkable promise made by Jesus to His disciples before His crucifixion. A promise meant for disciples of Jesus through the ages, especially those who are alive when He returns to earth for a second time—not as a baby in a manger this time—as King of kings and Lord of lords. 

Although the Bible tells us clearly that Jesus will come again, the day of His coming will be like a surprise, even to those looking for His coming, “for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” Matt. 24:44.

The truth is, if we trust the word of God, then we must believe Jesus will return a second time. The disciples and the early Christians thought about the second coming as “the blessed hope.” Paul offers in Titus 2:13: “looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.” In 2 Peter 3:13 it is expressed: “Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.” 

The Bible also tells us that when Jesus comes everyone will see Him. Matt. 24:27 declares: “For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.” Rev. 1:7 shares: “Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him.” And the Apostle Paul proclaims in 1 Thess. 4:16, 17: “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.” 

So, not only will everyone who is alive witness the second coming of Jesus, those who died as believers in Christ will be resurrected at His coming, and together with believers who are alive will be taken together to heaven to live with Jesus forever. This means our loved ones who died in Jesus Christ will be resurrected to go with Him to heaven. What great excitement that will be when we see our loved ones alive again. We will live together with Jesus forever, where death will not exist anymore. 

Unfortunately, the second coming will not be a happy time for those who have rejected God and the salvation He has provided through the death of Jesus on the cross. The Bible tells us in 2 Thess. 2:8: “And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming.” The bright side is that this means the end of sin and evil, as God destroys Satan and all those who chose to follow him. 

The good news is that because we are still alive and Jesus has not returned as yet, we have an opportunity to accept His salvation, so we can be ready to go with Him to heaven when He comes again. Revelation 3:20 says: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.”  

Will you open the door of your heart today and let Jesus come in and take over your life? Saying yes to Jesus means saying no to Satan. Choose Jesus today and experience His joy, peace, and salvation. May God bless us all to this end is our prayer.


Dear God, thank You for the promise of Your soon coming. We know that every promise You make You keep, and this is a promise we can’t wait for You to fulfill. Help us to develop a closer relationship with You, so that filled with Your love and power we will share the good news with others to help them prepare for that great day. In Jesus’ name, amen.


Bible Challenge

On the final day of this challenge, invite each member of the family to recite the memory verse and help each other by giving clues if it gets difficult, and at the end recite it together as a family. 

Family talk

  • Do you sometimes wonder how long it will be until Jesus returns? How soon is soon?
  • Share your worries, fears, excitement and hope about the second coming of Christ.
  • Read the following texts that remind us that Jesus is coming again just as he promised: John 14:3, Revelation 1:7, Luke 17:22. 
  • Discuss as a family how these texts provide hope and comfort despite the chaos in our current world.

Rebuilding the Family Altar

The Elijah Message found in Malachi 4:5:6 is a message of hope reminding us that before Christ returns there will be a restoration (renewal, revival, healing, rebuilding) of the family altar (worship of the one true God) and of our families. 

“Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet Before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, And the hearts of the children to their fathers, Lest I come and strike the earth with a curse.” Malachi 4:5-6 

Let’s commit to proclaiming the Elijah Message by preparing our homes, our loved ones, and our neighbors for Christ’s second coming. What a day of rejoicing that will be! 

Will I be there? Will my loved ones be there?
Will my neighbors be there?

Develop a Family Worship Covenant for your family. 
Here’s an example:

Have a special family worship on Sabbath evening and create your family worship covenant. If you are able, invite one or two other families; consider inviting a family that doesn’t look like your family. Remember to include the widows, the single parents, young couples, refugee family, single young adult, new immigrant family, etc. Share your experience from the Week of Prayer and the significance of rebuilding the family altar. Invite your guests to develop a family worship covenant for their own family.


Week of Prayer On-The-Go Family Covenant The Seven Tools Webinars Friday Night Song

Copyright © 2022 by the General Conference Corporation of Seventh-day Adventists®.

All rights reserved

Willie Oliver, PhD, CFLE and Elaine Oliver, PhDc, LCPC, CFLE are directors of the Department of Family Ministries
at the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists World Headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland, USA. 

Editorial Assistant: Dawn Venn •  Design: Daniel Taipe

2022 Resource Book addendum

ISBN # 978-0-8280-2897-4

JUNE 2022