5 Stars Out Of 5
August 10, 2011
The Reformed Reader
The Family at Church: Listening to Sermons and Attending Prayer Meetings
Every pastor or congregant at one time has prayed for revival. Where does revival begin? It begins with corporate prayer and a return to scripture. All revivals, the reformation included, begin with prayer and a return to scripture. Beeke does a service for the church by equipping everyday congregants with tools to teach them, how to listen to a sermon. Too many sermons go unheard. In The Family at Church, Beeke provides a list of things that will help any person/church prepare for revival. Beeke's advice for listening to sermons reminds me of the very actions that took place in Nehemiah 8. In Nehemiah 8 a pulpit was prepared (preparation for revival). Next the word was preached and all were attentive to it (Active listening, with the intent to understand). Not only was the word taught, but the word was explained, so that all could understand (Explanation for everyone present, including children). Finally, the people of God were gathered together as one, in spirit and in prayer. The advice that Beeke offers is not random advice, but is advice which is rooted in scripture and taught as a means to assure God's presence/blessing among his people. Anyone who is a fan of the puritans will be extremely pleased with the book. The book is filled with rich puritan quotes and stories. This book is very simple, short, and easy to understand. The book reminds me of the clichÃ© book series title "small book, big impact." Although Beeke's book in small and simple, if applied the results will have a â€˜major impact" within your congregation/life. I would buy several copies of the book and give them away to your congregants. Discuss this book with a small group within your church or over coffee with friends. The book is on Reformation Heritage's website currently for only $4.50! There is honestly no reason why this should not be dispersed among your congregation! Just to reiterate, if the application of this book is taken seriously, a revival among God's people is certain to erupt.
In Joel Beeke's The Family at Church, Beeke brings to the forefront two aspects of Christian living that are often neglected in the life of the church, listening to sermons and attending prayer meetings. It is only fitting then that the book is broken down in two parts: Listening to Sermons and Attending Prayer Meetings. Beeke begins by pointing out that we live in an age where people do not want to be challenged in regards to spirituality. People love to be challenged at home, at sporting events, or in the workplace, but they want their spirituality to be left alone and for it to be simple. Beeke calls for families start preparation for the Sabbath the night before. Families should strive to me go over the passage or a parallel passage dealing with the text for the upcoming sermon. Families should pray that their hearts, eyes, and ears will be open to hearing from God's word. Next, Beeke calls some to take notes throughout the sermon. For others Beeke admits that this could be a distraction from following the sermon. The reason for note-taking is for the purpose of discussing the sermon at a later time. Rather than hearing the sermon and going about your life, Beeke says the sermon actually begins after the pastor finishes preaching. Beeke calls for congregants to discuss the sermon after church and with their families. Discuss the sermon with other congregants throughout the week. Meditate upon the sermon in your individual devotions. Preach the sermon to yourself. Examine your life according to the commands called for in the sermon. For a reformation or revival to take place within the church, not only should our listening habits be revisited, but also our attention to prayer must be accompanied with it.
Beeke in the second section of the book examines the importance of prayer meetings within the life of the church. Beeke begins by showing scriptures high regard for prayer meetings. Beeke then shows how history gives testimony to the fact that all great revivals in past have begun with the people of God coming together in prayer. After Beeke's biblical and historical analysis of prayer meetings, Beeke describes what a typical prayer meeting should look like. Beeke concludes the book by explaining why it is vital that the church take heed to his call.
Publisher: Reformation Trust
Publication Date: 2004
Binding Type: Paperback
Book Grade: A
~The Reformed Reader~