We have two priorities as we begin 2017: 1) to deepen our engagement with God’s Word by reading through the Bible and, 2) to grow as people of prayer. Going deeper in God’s Word and growing in prayer is a recipe for success, fruitfulness and transformation. The promise of Joshua 1:8 that “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success” fits beautifully with John 15:7 “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.”
We are looking at the Power of Prayer Altars and while the idea of a prayer altar may not be a familiar idea for everyone, we are all familiar with the altars that are present in temples, workplaces and homes here in Asia. Are these altars merely religious symbols and physical objects? Does anything else happen at these altars besides what can be seen? In the Old Testament altars were the focal point of worship, sacrifice and prayer for Israel as well as all religions of the ancient world. Altars were places where spiritual business was done. For other religions, various idols, gods and spirits were directly engaged and encountered at altars because they functioned as gateways where spiritual power was released.
For Israel, altars were places where people prayed and brought offerings and where God’s forgiveness and mercy was given to cover sin. His presence and blessing was manifested as people worshipped at the altar. When the temple in Jerusalem was completed, Solomon stood before the altar, spread out his hands and prayed (2 Chron 6). We are told: “When Solomon had finished praying, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of the Lord filled the temple. And the priests could not enter the house of the Lord, because the glory of the Lord had filled the Lord’s house” (2 Chron 7:12 NKJV). The altar of sacrifice became a spiritual gateway to bring heaven down to earth and release God’s glory and presence.
In the New Testament, Jesus became the final and perfect sacrifice for sin when he went to the cross. We no longer offer sacrifices at physical altars but we are told that “We have an altar from which those who serve the tabernacle have no right to eat” (Heb 13:10 NKJV). We still come to a heavenly altar to offer ourselves to God as living sacrifices and to give him the worship and love that overflows from our hearts (Rom 12:1-2). We still come to a heavenly altar to pray, intercede and release God’s presence into the world. Our prayer at this altar is “Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matt 6:10).
We have an altar that is built on the finished work of Christ and as redeemed sons and daughters, our prayers release His great salvation and victory in families, schools, workplaces and the nation. Our prayer altar is a kingdom gateway, a place of His presence and power, a place where spiritual transactions happen and a place where the blessings and benefits of salvation are released.
Let’s run to the altar, catch the fire, see the kingdom come and God’s will be done!
The Solid Life Bible Reading Plan is available under resources and the Building Prayer Altars booklet is available at the Church bookshop for $2.00.