"And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne." Revelation 8:3
Altars have always been important structures/places in all religions throughout history. They were used as places to offer sacrifices. I don't know how many religions still set up altars and actually offer real sacrifices upon them, but perhaps some still do. In Christianity altars aren't used for offering animal sacrifices but they are used as places where prayers are made offering our lives as living sacrifices to God.
This morning I want to ask a question, "Where are the altars?" Over the last several years there has been an alarming rate at the number of missing altars- missing in our churches, missing from our homes, missing from our personal lives. I can remember having time at the altars during every church service. It didn't matter if you had a "need" that you needed to pray about or not, you still went to the altar- the whole church would often make their way to the altars. At the altar lives were changed, prayers were answered, people were touched by the power of God, cleansing of heart, soul and mind took place, joy was restored, bodies were healed, burdens were undone.
Today altars in the church have been removed and replaced. Replaced with "walking the aisle". Replaced with "repeat a prayer pews". Replaced with prayer lines mostly wanting and waiting for someone to do your praying for you. I submit to you that this is one of the reasons why the church appears to be so weak, confused and compromising. You may disagree, but there has to be times of contrition and sacrifice; there have to be times of pouring out your heart and soul to God. And the altar is the place to do just that. Sure one could do their praying at home (and should pray there as well), but sadly, few homes have an altar- and why would they when it is evident in the church that altars aren't important. But there is something powerful about praying at the altar with other believers in God's house.
Revivals are birthed around the altar. Every great movement of God started around an altar. Our salvation was paid for at an altar- the cross. There are some things that can only occur at an altar. In the Book of Revelation we are told that there is even an altar in heaven. So there must be something special and significant about an altar that we have seemed to miss.
Altars are not just physical structures that sit in the front of the church. But the missing physical structure is just symbolic that the true altar of prayer and sacrifice is missing. Is it missing in your life? Do you have an altar- a place where you meet with God on a regular basis and present yourself to Him as a living sacrifice? If not, then you need to restore the missing altar.
Have a great day. If the altar is missing in your life, it needs to be restored.
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