From the book “Passing the Torch” by Tony Rorie
Core Values are Demonstrated by our Traditions
I went to a men’s conference where the speaker, Dr. Tony Evans was teaching about Psalm 128. In this Psalm, a Godly family pattern was being described. It said:
"How joyful are those who fear the LORD— All who follow his ways. You will enjoy the fruit of your labor. How joyful and prosperous you will be! Your wife will be like a fruitful grapevine, flourishing within your home. Your children will be like vigorous young olive trees as they sit around your table. That is the LORD’s blessing for those who fear him." (Psalm 128:1-4)
As he was describing our children flourishing around our table like olive trees, it occurred to me that I didn’t even own a table! Any meals that were eaten in my house were generally in the living room, in front of the television. I was immediately convicted and decided to go and buy my family a table to have meals together and provide an atmosphere where I could pour into them and hear their struggles. We would also, from time to time, hold family meetings at that table and discuss everything from family crisis and problems, to planning family vacations together.
The results were notable. Lots of great time spent together. I will never regret that decision to buy the table. A family tradition of shared meals was born that day.
Another notable tradition that we have placed in our home is the family devotion.
One evening while attending a church service, the guest speaker asked the audience a question, “How many of you have a regularly scheduled weekly time with your family where you study God’s word, worship together, and pray for one another as a family. Out of a crowd of 500, only 3 or so raised their hands. I was not able to raise my hand. I knew the value of a family devotional time. I had even made attempts in the past to get us together and do this. Sure, we read the Bible at times, prayed at times, but I had never been intentional about setting a set night of the week for us, as a family, to grow together in the Lord.
I was convicted again.
That night, I decided that I would “take the bull by the horns.” I discussed with my wife that, from this point forward, every Monday night should be our set family night devotional. She agreed.
The first Monday rolled around and the opportunities to do something else appeared from every direction. But we said "no" to those things and “yes” to our family. We first had dinner together as a family-at our table. Then after dinner, we moved into the living room. My son brought out the guitar and led us in two songs. The girls sang and it sounded like angels in our house. After the worship time, we all took our Bibles and I instructed first my oldest daughter, then my middle son, and then my youngest daughter to read a different chapter from the Bible. I didn’t put a lot of thought into a theme or where to read, just reading any part was good, and sometimes they seemed to follow a common thread, imagine that.
When we finished the worship and Bible reading, it came time to pray. I began the prayer by praying out loud for my wife. I prayed for her upcoming week and anything else that came to mind. I thanked God for giving me such a Godly, wonderful wife. Then I prayed for each of my children individually, asking God to bless and protect them this upcoming week, along with praying for anything else that came to mind that they might need. Then, it was my wife’s turn to pray. She prayed for me, then anything else that came to mind. Then each of my children prayed, starting from the oldest, and working their way down, for whatever was on their heart. By the time we finished praying, we felt closer to God and closer as a family. Then we ate dessert together. This has helped us stay connected and growing as a family. We even started inviting other families over to teach them how to have a family devotional.
“Passing the Torch” is available at www.tonyrorie.com