"Re-Establish My Altar!"

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God is calling us to turn to him, during these times of crisis, upheaval, and change.  This is a call to return to God's altar.  


The altar is a powerful symbol - a symbol of turning to God in prayer. While there are altars at churches we may be familiar with, an altar can actually be at your bedside, in your home, or any place you turn to God in prayer. God is calling people to the place of prayer and surrender, so that He can pour out his love, power, and healing. As the Holy Spirit brings us to the place of surrender and prayer, powerful things begin to happen. 


(1) The altar of prayer is a place of surrender.


As people come to the altar in surrender, lives are transformed. This surrender can take place when you turn to the Lord in prayer, fully surrendering your life to him. At your bedside, in your office, or wherever you decide to pray - pray a prayer of full surrender, turning your life over to the Lord.

People are coming to this place of surrender as their hearts are drawn to God; this leads to genuine surrender, as the Holy Spirit brings people around the world to yield their lives to Christ.

Anyone can come to the altar in surrender during their time alone in the presence of the Lord. Coming to the altar is more than just praying a prayer: it means a genuine surrender of your heart and life to Christ. Nothing less will do! 


The altar is also a place for those who have wandered from God, to come back to Him. The door is wide open, to come back to God. Nothing will surprise God; there is nothing that he cannot forgive.

There is nothing sweeter than to see a son or daughter coming back to God at the altar, the place of prayer. The altar is a place of surrender, and a place of healing. 


(2) The altar of prayer is a place of confession, and turning from sin.


When the Holy Spirit is at work, people confess their sins and turn away from them. Confession of sin is life changing, when there is also a willingness to forsake that sin. The compromises and sins of the flesh have become so commonplace in our land; Lord, establish the power of your altar in our hearts! Bring cleansing, confession, and a genuine turning from sin, through the power of your Holy Spirit.


When there is sin in our hearts, it hides the face of the Father from us (Isaiah 59:2). There is a barrier between us and God. But through confession and turning from sin, the Holy Spirit cleanses us by applying the precious blood of Christ. Then the barriers are removed, and God promises, "I will no longer hide My face from them, for I will pour out My Spirit on the house of Israel" (Ezek.39:29 / also Acts 2:17,18). When we are seeking His face we are seeking nothing for selfish satisfaction, but only to please Him. On such hearts the Lord will surely pour out His Spirit.


(3) The altar is a place for all kinds of prayer, and intercession.


The Holy Spirit is calling us to humble ourselves in these challenging times. 2nd Chronicles 7:14 is a passage for restoration. It speaks of our time of prayer: "If my people, who are called by my name, shall humble themselves and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, I will forgive their sins, and I will heal their land." We must "build an altar" today in our hearts as we draw near to God in prayer. It is an altar of surrender, and an altar of prayer and confession. May we be "people of the altar," who can be found daily at God's altar of prayer, and who gather together at places of prayer with other believers. As we pray and seek His face, God will bring healing.

Prayers and intercession are so needed, and we can express our love for people by praying for them. God's love becomes a river, when people pray for one another, lifting up needs before the Lord. We can pray for family members, neighbors, and people half way around the world. There is no distance in prayer, and there are so many people who need healing and restoration! God wants to make you a channel of love, through prayer.


(4) The altar of prayer is a place of consecration, as we devote our all to Christ.


For all who desire to follow Christ, there is power in consecration. This is a rededication of all that we are, and all that we have, to Christ. Re-dedicating our all to Christ will bring fresh empowerment from heaven! God pours out his love and his grace upon us. He forgives us, restores us, and strengthens us in his powerful love.

In the Old Testament, the priests were reminded, "A fire shall always be burning on the altar; it shall never go out" (Lev. 6:13). This reminds us of the fire of total surrender to Christ: Whatever comes, whether danger or blessing, whether difficulty or triumph, my all belongs to Him!


"I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship." (Romans 12:1 nrsv). Fire will fall on the altar of consecration! 


(5) The altar, the place of prayer, is the place to be filled with the Holy Spirit.


Jesus said, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink!" (John 7:37). As we come to the feet of Jesus and ask, He will pour out His fullness of the Holy Spirit upon us. He will fill us. He will baptize us in His Holy Spirit. He will pour water upon the thirsty! (Isaiah 44:3). We need to be baptized afresh in the Spirit to receive power for succesful Christian living and power to honor Christ in our words and actions. Lord, pour your Spirit into our hearts, in fresh power! The Lord invites us to ask to be filled with his Spirit, whenever we need strength, restoration, or renewal.


(6) The altar of prayer is a place of healing.


As people ask for healing, the healing gifts of the Spirit can be given to those in need. There are many needs today, for healing in body, soul, and spirit. We can pray for loved ones to be healed, and seek for God's restoring love. Elders of the church can also anoint people with oil and pray for healing, following the instructions of James 5:14-16. In times of seeking God and prayer, miracles have occurred in people's lives through divine healing, opening the door for people to come to Christ. God also sovereignly touches and heals people to demonstrate His compassion and glory. We are encouraged to seek gifts of healing (1 Cor. 12:7-11,31; 14:1). 


(7) The altar of prayer is a place of worship.


As people enter into worship at God's altar, the presence of God becomes tangible. The atmosphere of worship invites the presence of the Holy Spirit to touch people's hearts. "Then I will go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy; and on the harp I will praise you, O God, my God." (Psalm 43:4). In our individual lives or in corporate worship, worshipping God for who He is brings us into an awareness of God's presence and goodness. God inhabits the praises of His people (Psalm 22:3). 



As the worship of false gods was overrunning Israel, Elijah was a man true to God. The nation experienced a difficult drought, and at the end of it, Elijah called for a showdown with the prophets of Baal. He said, "The god who answers by fire, He is God!" (1 Kings 18:24).


After the prophets of Baal had failed to call down fire, Elijah called the people to him. He said, "Come here to me." They came to him, and he repaired the altar of the Lord, which was in ruins." (1 Kings 18:30).


This incident has much to say to us today! Let us restore the altar of the Lord, as Elijah did. In many places it is in ruins, or badly in need of repair. When the altar was restored and the sacrifice was placed on the altar, the fire of God fell. The people cried, "The Lord, He is God; the Lord, He is God!" (1 Kings 18:39).


God is calling people everywhere back to His altar! The altar must first be established in our hearts as a place of prayer and surrender; then it must be strengthened and established wherever God's people gather. Under the anointing of the Holy Spirit, the altar will be established once again as a place of evangelism, surrender, healing and prayer. It will be a place where people are baptized anew in the Spirit, and a place of fresh consecration. And it will be a place of glorious worship. Lord, establish your altar once again. Begin with me!



Copyright 2008 by M. A. Erickson / Updated in 2020 / May be distributed, with correct attribution.





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(Untitled wood engraving) Artist: John Everett Millais (1862) Engraver: Dalziels / Scanned by Simon Cooke. Victorian Web




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