Having An Altar In Your Life
By Lisa Marshall
While doing some research on the subject of “Having an Altar in Your Life,” I found the following:
“An altar is very important. It is a place to refocus, a reminder of your ideals, and perhaps most importantly, a place to nourish your soul and encounter the divine. An altar is a source of joy and peace. It is a symbol to help you remember who you really are, where you came from and where you are going. An altar just helps life fall into place. How does it improve your life? No one can say exactly how it works, but it is easy enough to verify that it does.”
Imagine my surprise when I realized that I had stumbled upon a Wiccan witch’s Web site!
It actually added fuel to the fire and confirmed what I had been feeling. You see, God had been dealing with me about the importance of having an altar in my life. Now please understand that I had already been praying each day. But I came to realize that having an altar goes beyond just praying.
An altar is a place separated for worship unto God, a place where prayers and praises are offered. It is a place of refuge and a place of comfort from the troubles of this world. It is a place to humble yourself, to offer thanks, and to make vows. It is a place where you sometimes have to climb Mt. Moriah and offer up your Isaac. It is a place where your life is changed and you can discover your destiny. It is a place where sinners become saints and saints answer the call to carry the gospel to a world that is lost and dying.
Having an altar is so much more than praying for fifteen minutes each day. It is a place where, even though you may not say a word, the presence of God surrounds you. It is where you can die and find life abundantly. It is a place of dedication and consecration where you lay yourself on the altar and say, “I am yours, God. You may use me as you choose.” To some it’s just a piece of wood but to me, it is a place where my sinful man died and I came in contact with the God of the universe.
Reading my Bible recently I noticed something very interesting in one of my favorite Bible stories, something that is easy to overlook. In I Kings 18, Elijah confronted the prophets of Baal. Verse 30 tells us that before Elijah took his turn to appeal to his God, “he repaired the altar of the LORD that had been broken down” by the prophets of Baal.
These false prophets had spent most of the day in frenzied dancing, cutting themselves, and desperately trying to get the attention of a god that couldn’t hear them.
Before a sacrifice could be made, before God could answer Elijah’s prayer in a miraculous, spectacular way, before the people could experience revival, Elijah had to first repair the altar.
I would like to ask you some questions: What is the condition of your altar? Is it tear-stained? Is it saturated with your consecration and self-sacrifice? It is worn from using it so much? Or is it a little dusty? Maybe you’ve moved it from a prominent place to a back room? Maybe it’s broken down from disuse? Maybe you’ve thrown it out altogether?
Just as Elijah did, maybe it is time for some of us to rebuild our altar. If we do, just as God did for Israel, He will meet us there and the miraculous will happen.
By David Morehead
At the beginning of the school year in the middle school where I work, I was invited to observe a very fascinating English project. Mr. Perry had given all of his student’s shoeboxes and was having them create a “writing box.” This box was to be filled with anything that would inspire students to write. He then presented his own “writing box” and displayed everything that inspires him to write. The item I remember the most was a pocket watch he displayed due to his obsession with watches. He shared numerous ways this watch had sparked his creativity to write several stories.
Later that year our church staff desired to do something that would create excitement for relational communication to Christ. We wanted to make it tangible. I remembered that captivating lesson and the writing boxes. After I shared this riveting experience, the staff caught fire with excitement.
Pastor Hopper kicked off the prayer campaign with a series we called “iPray” and that Sunday Morning he preached to the entire congregation about his personal prayer life and displayed his “prayer box.” Each staff member went though his I her box and explained the personal and spiritual significance of each item. My prayer box included:
* A picture of my wife and I
* My Bible
* A prayer journal
* My iPod that has the Bible on audio, prayer music, and pictures of my students
* My fathers first preaching binders to remind me of my calling and heritage
We incorporated the “prayer boxes” into our church and families the following ways:
* Invited all members to bring a prayer box to the next service
* A testimonial service where everyone had a chance to share his or her prayer box.
* Craft activities for the children to create personalized prayer boxes
* Our annual week of prayer and built each night around our prayer boxes.
* A ‘trade off” service where student’s traded something from their prayer box with an adult. They were to keep the item for one week and pray for each other’s need.
The prayer boxes were one of the most powerful activities that our church has ever done. It gave families a tool to work around as they collected, and shared items for their boxes. Fathers use their box as their nightly family devotional bringing their families into deeper communication with Christ.
This article “Having An Altar In Your Life” by Lisa Marshall is excerpted from World Network of Prayer Newsletter, Oct. 2008.