This week I’ve been writing a lot about prayer and how essential it is in our lives. I’ve referred to it as building a prayer life. The reason I use the word building is because a prayer life doesn’t come already assembled, it has to be developed one step at a time. It doesn’t happen by request but through a process. From the foundation to the completion, it takes time, patience, and commitment to build a prayer life that will last.
Another reason I refer to it in that way is because in the Old Testament they called it “Building An Altar.” They built something literal that represents something spiritual for us today. In fact, the greatest patriarchs of that time built altars. The first thing Abraham did when God called him out of his homeland was made an altar. Then Paul comes along in the New Testament and tells us we should offer ourselves as a living sacrifice on the altar. Romans 12:1
Since the altar is our prayer life, after studying it, I found that it represents two things.
2. TO SLAY OR KILL
So, as you are building your prayer life, understand that it starts with communication between you and God. You are simply talking to Him, and He responds through His Word and His Spirit. Communication is imperative in building any relationship. Through conversation, you begin learning more about the person you are talking to. If all you ever do is ask someone for something all the time, that is not communicating, that is consistent requesting and can be perceived as selfish. It’s the same with us. If the only time we talk with God is when we need something, we aren’t really communicating with Him. Don’t get me wrong, our God wants to meet our needs and is ready and able to respond, but to grow in the knowledge of who He is, we must learn how to approach Him with more than issues we need Him to take care of. Why not spend some time with Him today and just thank Him for who He is. Leave all the request for another time and just come before Him with thanksgiving.
The second thing the altar represents is to slay or kill. In the Old Testament, the altar was used to bring animals as a sacrifice unto God. It was a place of slaying and killing. As I said earlier, Paul admonishes us in the New Testament to present our bodies as a living sacrifice. This means that building an altar, or a prayer life is a place where we communicate with God, but we also slay our will so we can do His will. Some people communicate well, but they’ve yet to die on the altar. You may be talking to God, but He will only respond when we slay ourselves and surrender to what He wants to do in our lives. I would encourage you to pray as Jesus prayed in the garden of Gethsemane. He not only communicated with the Father, but He offered Himself by saying, “NEVERTHELESS, NOT MY WILL BUT YOURS BE DONE.”
If you know God wants to do something in your life but you’re not sure what it is, perhaps you need to move from talking to Him to offering yourself on the altar. Maybe you have some things in the way that needs to die before you can hear Him give you specific instructions. As you communicate you get to learn about Him, but when you present yourself as a sacrifice, you will begin knowing Him in a way like never before. Communicating connects you to God, offering yourself to Him sends you to fulfill His will.