Life-Altering Altars: Prayer

The Old Testament is rich with its landscape of covenants, laws, temples, offerings, feasts, characters, and altars; but our Western culture has minimized their value in the eyes of the average Christian.  The purpose of this current study is to explore the eight altars built by Abraham over a forty year period of his life.  They are all found in Genesis 11:27-22:19.

We identify opportunities for altars in our lives as we encounter God in ways that define us, deepen us, and appear to be defining our destiny.  There is an enhanced clarity of His person, presence with us, and purposes through us.  It is here that we are motivated to seal this awareness or discovery with an altar of some kind.

Abram built his first altar at the place where the Word of God became alive and active for him personally (Genesis 12:1-7).  Even though he did not fully comprehend God’s call, he recognized and responded to it.  Can you remember the place/moment where you, as Abram, fell in love with the Scriptures as God communicated to you?

Abram’s second altar was built between Bethel (House of God) and Haran (Heap of Ruin).  It was where he called on the Lord using his personal, redemptive name (Yahweh/Jehovah) rather than addressing God as Creator or the Almighty One (Genesis 12:8-9).  Reflecting on our own fresh invasions of holy intimacy can be altering. 

In a sense, we build an altar to God every time we come to Him in prayer.  “Evening, morning, and noon will I pray and cry aloud, and He shall hear my voice” (Psalm 55:17).  “Let my prayer come before You as incense…”(Psalm 141:2).