W.A. Scott asks "Do you pray in your family?"

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William Anderson Scott (1813-1885) served as moderator of the Old School General Assembly (PCUSA); ministered to congregations in New York City, New Orleans, San Francisco and other locations; edited several periodicals; and helped to found the San Francisco Theological Seminary. He was also a father of nine children.

In the second volume (1861) of The Pacific Expositor, which he edited, Scott included a brief article on family worship, which shows the priority he (obviously a busy man) placed on this particular ordinance of God. It may serve as an encouragement to others today. It comes from the September 1860 issue, p. 140..

DO YOU PRAY IN YOUR FAMILY? If you do not, you are not like the good people of old times. Wherever the patriarchs had a tent, God had an altar. They called upon the name of the Lord in the valleys and upon the hills. Joshua resolved, that, as for him and his family, they would serve the Lord; that is, worship Him.

Job practised family worship. “He sent and sanctified his children, and rose early in the morning and offered burnt-offerings, according to the number of them all. Thus did Job continually.”

David, having spent one day in bringing the ark from the house of Obed-edom to the place he had prepared for it, and in presenting peace-offerings before the Lord, returned at night to bless his household — that is, to pray for blessings upon his family, or to attend upon family devotion. Cornelius, the centurion, it is said, “feared God with his whole house” — meaning worshipped him with his family.

In the Lord’s Prayer we have a command for family devotion. “After this manner, therefore, pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven.” The form of prayer is plural. It must, therefore, mean social prayer, and if social, then family prayer; for a family is the most proper place to engage in this devotion. Paul, in his Epistle to the Colossians, having pointed out the duty of husbands and wives, parents and children, masters and servants, adds: “Continue in prayer; watch in the same with thanksgiving.” The subject upon which he was speaking leads us to conclude he meant family prayer. In his Epistle to the Ephesians, he enjoins it as a duty to “pray always with all prayer;” — that is to offer prayer of every kind, and in every form, and at every proper season. Family prayer must, therefore, be included in the injunction.

These direct and indirect examples, and commands, from Scripture show how important family worship was to the people of God of old, and how Christ enjoins his people a duty and a blessing to assemble in families to magnify the Lord. Let us take heart from this Scriptural precept and example, as given by Rev. Scott, to enter into that blessing.