"Re-Establish My Altar!"
"RE-ESTABLISH MY ALTAR!"
The Holy Spirit is once again directing His people back to the altar of prayer, so that He can pour out his love, power, renewal, and healing. As the Holy Spirit brings us to a place of surrender, both in our own secret times of prayer and at the gathering places of His people, powerful things will begin to happen!
(1) The altar is a place of consecration.
For those who are sincerely following Christ, there is power in fresh consecration, which is a rededicating of all that we are and all that we have to Christ. Re-dedicating our all to Christ will bring a fresh fire on the altar. 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). Let this remind us of the importance of the fire of total consecration to Christ: Come what may, come danger or blessing, come difficulty or triumph, my all belongs to Him!
"I beseech you therefore brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship." (Romans 12:1). Fire will fall on the altar of consecration!
(2) The altar is a place of confession and repentance.
When the Holy Spirit is moving, people are brought to confession of sin and repentance. Fresh confession and repentance are so needed today! The worldliness and the sins of the flesh have become so commonplace around us; Lord, establish the power of your altar in our hearts, to bring cleansing, confession and repentance into our hearts by the power of the Holy Spirit!
When there is sin in our hearts, it hides the face of the Father from us. "For your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear." (Isaiah 59:2). 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 self, but only to please Him. On such hearts the Lord will surely pour out His Spirit!
(3) The altar is a place of surrender.
As people come to the altar in surrender, lives are transformed. The altar is a powerful place for evangelism, as people are called to come forward to the altar to receive Christ as Lord. People coming forward to the altar because of anointed preaching and the work of the Holy Spirit leads to definite conversions, as the Holy Spirit wondrously produces the new birth in the hearts of the lost. "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 prodigal sons and daughters to come back to Christ. There is nothing sweeter than to see a prodigal son or daughter coming back to God at the altar. Truly, the altar is a place of surrender!
(4) The altar is a place of prayer.
The Spirit is calling us to prayer, with an urgency and a compelling voice. 2nd Chronicles 7:14 has been a theme verse for seeking restoration, forgiveness and healing. May we apply it to our times 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 a "people of the altar," who live daily at God's altar of prayer, and who gather together at places of prayer in our churches. As we pray and seek His face, God will bring healing!
(5) The altar is a place to receive the Baptism of 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, He will pour out His Baptism of the Holy Spirit upon a hungry people. He will pour water upon the thirsty! (Isaiah 44:3). Truly there is a great need for people to be baptized in the Spirit, to receive power to witness, and to receive anointing for victorious Christian living. Lord, pour out your Spirit in our hearts, in fresh power!
(6) The altar is a place of healing.
As people come forward to receive prayer for healing, healing gifts of the Spirit can be given to those in need. Elders of the church can anoint with oil and pray for healing, following the instructions of James 5:14-16. In times of seeking God and prayer, powerful miracles have occurred in people's lives through divine healing, opening the door for many people to come to Christ. God also sovereignly touches and heals people to demonstrate His compassion and glory. Are we seeking and asking for gifts of healing today? (1 Cor. 12:7-11,31; 14:1).
(7) The altar 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 increasing 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 so 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 where 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 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 / May be distributed, with correct attribution.