Family Heads—Maintain a Good Spiritual Routine
1 Despite living for decades amid the idolatry and corruption of Babylon, Daniel was known for serving Jehovah “with constancy.” (Dan. 6:16, 20) How did he maintain his spirituality? The Bible record indicates that he had an orderly routine for carrying out activities related to true worship. For example, he customarily prayed three times a day from his roof chamber. (Dan. 6:10) Undoubtedly, he also had a set pattern for other spiritual activities, such as reading the Law. Thus, when confronted by a life-threatening trial, Daniel was unwavering in his devotion to Jehovah, and he was miraculously delivered.—Dan. 6:4-22.
2 Similarly today, we must exert ourselves to “keep awake with all constancy.” (Eph. 6:18) The world we live in is “lying in the power of the wicked one.” (1 John 5:19) Opposition or trials can arise suddenly and put our faith to the test. During the great tribulation, God’s servants will be the object of an all-out attack by Gog of Magog, from which there will appear to be no escape. This will call for complete trust in Jehovah.—Ezek. 38:14-16.
3 “One vital key is making effective family Bible reading, study, and discussion a way of life.” So stated the introduction to the 1998 district convention drama entitled “Families—Make Daily Bible Reading Your Way of Life!” It continued: “When families follow such a program regularly and in a manner that makes the Bible come alive, this Bible-oriented routine can have a tremendous impact on the family. It builds our knowledge. It strengthens our faith. And it provides us with role models—profoundly faithful men and women of ancient times—who can inspire us, moving us to stand up for the truth.” As we consider various aspects of a good spiritual routine, family heads should look for one or two ways to improve their family’s spiritual program.
4 Consider God’s Word Daily: “When God’s Kingdom rules unopposed and his will is done on earth as it is in heaven, no vicious humans—no, not even animals—will ‘do any harm or cause any ruin.’ (Isa. 11:9; Matt. 6:9, 10)” Those words appeared in Examining the Scriptures Daily—2001 in the comments on the scripture text for September 11. How comforting this reminder proved to be! As a family head, do you have the daily custom of considering the Bible text and comments with your family? This is most beneficial. If it is not practical to get together in the morning, perhaps you could do so later in the day. One father said: “The evening meal has been a good time for us to discuss the daily Bible text.”
5 If you already have a good routine for discussing the daily text as a family, you are to be commended. Perhaps you could build on this by reading a portion of the Bible at the same time. Some have the practice of reading the entire chapter from which the day’s text is taken. Others do consecutive reading, working progressively through a selected book of the Bible. Daily Bible reading will help your family to cultivate a wholesome fear of displeasing Jehovah and will deepen their desire to do his will.—Deut. 17:18-20.
6 Your family’s Bible-reading program and daily text consideration will be even more beneficial if you can take a few minutes to discuss the practical value of the information. The Ministry School textbook, page 60, offers this suggestion: “You might . . . select a few verses out of the Bible reading scheduled for the week, discuss their meaning, and then ask such questions as these: ‘How does this provide guidance for us? How might we use these verses in the ministry? What do they reveal about Jehovah and his way of doing things, and how does that build up our appreciation for him?’” Such spiritual conversations will help all in your household to “go on perceiving what the will of Jehovah is.”—Eph. 5:17.
7 Family Study: Conducting the family study consistently each week is a fine way for family heads to show their children that spiritual things come first. One young man recalls: “Sometimes Dad would be so tired from work he could hardly keep awake, but the study was held regardless, and this helped us to appreciate the seriousness of it.” Children too can contribute to the success of the arrangement. One family with nine children regularly got up at five o’clock to have their family study because no other time was possible.
8 For the family study to be effective, the family head must ‘pay constant attention to his teaching.’ (1 Tim. 4:16) The Ministry School textbook, page 32, states: “It could well be said that an effective family study begins with a study of your family itself. How are your family members progressing spiritually? . . . When you are in the field ministry with your children, do they feel comfortable identifying themselves before their peers as Jehovah’s Witnesses? Do they enjoy your program of family Bible reading and study? Are they really making Jehovah’s way their way of life? Careful observation will reveal what you, as a family head, need to do in order to establish and build up spiritual qualities in each family member.”
9 Congregation Meetings: Preparing for and attending congregation meetings should be an important part of your weekly routine. (Heb. 10:24, 25) At times, you may be able to prepare for some of the meetings as a family. Rather than waiting until the last minute, can you arrange to prepare well in advance? An orderly routine in this regard will improve both the quality of your preparation and the benefits you gain from the meetings.—Prov. 21:5.
10 Quality and consistency are hallmarks of an effective spiritual routine. What if circumstances make it difficult for you to prepare for all the meetings? The Ministry School textbook, page 31, makes this suggestion: “Avoid the pitfalls of rushing through the material just to get it done or, worse, of not studying any of it because you cannot do it all. Instead, determine how much you can study, and do that well. Do it each week. In time, endeavor to broaden out to include the other meetings.”
11 When families arrive at meetings early, this helps to put them in the proper frame of mind to praise Jehovah and benefit from the instruction he provides. Does your family have this custom? It requires good planning and the cooperation of everyone in the household. If you often find that your family rushes about and is under stress on meeting nights, can adjustments be made in your routine? Are there things that could be cared for in advance? If one member of the family is loaded down with much to do, could others help? Would it reduce stress if everyone was ready to leave for the meeting a few minutes earlier? Good order contributes to a spirit of peace both in the family and in the congregation.—1 Cor. 14:33, 40.
12 Field Service: Establishing set times for sharing in the ministry is another part of a good spiritual routine. A young man named Jayson recalls: “In my family, Saturday mornings were always devoted to field service. This was good for me because the more I went out in the ministry, the more I saw the good it accomplishes and the more I enjoyed it.” Many raised in Witness households have similarly observed that having a definite time for the ministry every week helped them to progress as Christian ministers.
13 An orderly routine can also help to make the time your family spends in field service more enjoyable and more productive. How can this be accomplished? The July 1, 1999, Watchtower, page 21, made the following suggestion: “Do you occasionally use time at your family study to assist the members of your household to prepare for the week’s field service? Doing so can be very beneficial. (2 Timothy 2:15) It can help to make their service meaningful and productive. Occasionally, you might set aside an entire study session for such preparation. More often, you might deal with aspects of the field ministry in shorter discussions at the end of the family study or at some other time during the week.” Has your family tried this?
14 Go On Making Progress: From this consideration, have you noted areas in which your family is doing well? Commend them, and endeavor to build on these. If you see several areas that need improvement, select one or two to work on first. When they have become part of your spiritual routine, work on one or two more. Be positive and reasonable. (Phil. 4:4, 5) Establishing a good spiritual routine for your household takes real effort, but it is well worth it, for Jehovah assures us: “As for the one keeping a set way, I will cause him to see salvation by God.”—Ps. 50:23.