As I sat pondering what to blog about, I kept hearing a whisper in my ear saying over and again, “Prayer.” Initially, I brushed it aside. But the voice was persistent. I finally surrendered to that whisper and God revealed His message to me. God lead me to research and write this series on prayer. I happened to mention it to Pastor Tim from Calvary Chapel here locally and he suggested I read a book called “Praying Thru The Tabernacle” by Jon Courson. I highly suggest that everyone read this book! It isn’t large, but it is full of great information!
As Christians, we are told to pray about it. We know we are supposed to pray, but how do we pray in the most effective way? What do we say to God? What does God say about prayer?
I want to start off by saying that while it is understood that we should pray, we need to remember that there was a disciple that asked Jesus how to pray.
“Now it came to pass, as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, that one of His disciples said to Him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples’” (Luke 11:1).
In the last post HERE I shared with everyone what prayer was. Just to recap, prayer is communication with our Lord and Savior. As with any relationship, our prayer relationship will grow and mature the more we spend time nurturing it.
Ok, so we know we need to “practice” prayer and spend more time praying so that we can build up that skill. What next? HOW do we pray?
Do we pray sitting, kneeling, standing, laying down, on the ground? What does God’s Word say about such things?
Well, I would say YES to all of those! The Bible gives examples of folks praying in all of those positions.
King Solomon stood as he prayed as recorded in 1 Kings 8:22, but he also prayed when he was kneeling before the altar (1 Kings 8:54). Jesus Christ, the prophet Daniel, Stephen the martyr, the apostle Peter and the apostle Paul also knelt while praying (Luke 22:41; Daniel 6:10; Acts 7:60; Acts 9:40; Acts 20:36; Acts 21:5). Kneeling is a sign of submission to God, and Romans 14:11 says, “Every knee shall bow to Me.”
Others such as Abram, Moses, Aaron and King David prostrated themselves in prayer, but David also sat as he prayed.
Then King David went in and sat before the Lord, and he said: “Who am I, Sovereign Lord, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far?” 2 Samuel 7:18
The apostle Paul wrote to the young evangelist, Timothy, “I desire therefore that the men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting” (1 Timothy 2:8). King David exhorted the people to lift up their hands in the sanctuary (Psalm 134:2).
Honestly, I don’t think our posture during prayer is as important as the fact that we are “praying without ceasing” as the Bible tells us to do.
In the book I mentioned, Praying Thru the Tabernacle, the author helps guide the reader in how to pray by using Psalm 100:4
- The Gate. Enter into His gates with thanksgiving. This is the place we are to meet with God, worship Him and pray. How were God’s people to enter into the Courtyard of the Tabernacle? The Bible says they were to enter His gates with thanksgiving. I urge you not to skip thanksgiving because it is very important! In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. 1 Thessalonians 5:18
- The Courtyard. Enter into His courts with praise. After entering the Gate of the Tabernacle with thanksgiving, next would be praise. This is the place we praise God for who He is. As with thanksgiving, be very specific about your praise. Praise Him for His beauty, purity and creativity. Praise Him for His mercy, grace and love. Praise Him for His love, faithfulness, holiness and kindness. Why should we praise him? Does he need our praise? No, he doesn’t need our praise. God knows who He is. We praise God not to give Him strokes of affirmation, but rather to foster within our own hearts a spirit of expectation. When we have a problem and go to the Lord in prayer, we pour out our thanksgiving and praise to Him. We exalt Him for being omnipotent and compassionate. We need not wonder if He will be strong enough or loving enough to answer our prayers. Praising God actually gives us confidence to overcome the trials and tribulations that burden us. However, these same trials and tribulations are absolutely no problem for Him. Jesus said, “My burden is easy and My load is light.”
- The Brass Altar. This is the place of confession! For the life of the flesh is in the blood; and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls… Leviticus 17:11. In the Courtyard of the Tabernacle, there was a Brass Altar. This is where the Israelites would bring their sin and trespass offerings. When they would put their hand on the sacrifice (i.e. a goat or lamb), they would confess their sins. They didn’t use generic confessions. Instead, their confessions were very detailed and specific. The Greek word for confess is homologeo. Homo means the same. Logeo means to speak. So confession means to speak the same. Confession does not mean we promise to never sin again; let’s face it, we are all sinners and have a sinful nature. It is impossible to keep a promise to never sin again. However, confession says, “Father, I agree with You that this thought or action is sin. It causes erosion within me. It’s destructive to me or to my family. It is harmful to the kingdom. It’s not right.” Remember to be specific. Don’t just say “Dear God, please forgive me of all my sins from the whole day.” Speak them specifically. When we confess our sins freely and specifically, we are freed emotionally. Once we confess, we are forgiven. We are new again. However, keep in mind this passage from Matthew 12:31 – And so I tell you, every kind of sin and slander can be forgiven, but blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven.
- The Brass Laver. This is the place of meditation. Now ye are clean through the Word which I have spoken unto you. John 15:3. After offering a sacrifice, the priest would go to the Brass Laver which was a big wash basin to remove the splattering of blood and dirt he had on him. As we work our way through the Tabernacle, praying, giving thanks and confessing our sins, this is where we wash in the water. Jesus said, “Now you are clean through the Word which I have spoken unto you.” John 15:3. In Psalm 119:9, David asks, “How shall a young man cleanse his way?” The Lord answers, “By taking heed to the Word.” Paul taught that we, as the church, are cleansed “with the washing of water by the word.” Ephesians 5:26. While at the Brass Laver, this is where I stop and wash myself in the Word by reflecting on one or two verses. The inside of the Laver was made of mirrors the Israelites brought with them out of Egypt. (see Exodus 12:36, 38:). When the priest looked into the Laver, he could see his reflection and wash accordingly. James likens the Word to a mirror in James 1:23. As we open the Word and allow the Lord to minister to us, we begin to fellowship with the Lord. We feel refreshed and cleansed by Him just as the priests experienced feeling refreshed by the cleansing at the Laver. This doesn’t mean you dive into the Word and spend days reflecting on multiple chapters and verses. This is a time of reflecting and meditating on a verse or two that is on your mind and allowing God to guide you.
- The Table of Showbread. This is the place of petition. Give us this day our daily bread. Matthew 6:11. As we continue our way through the Tabernacle, this is where we enter the tent. Peter tells us that we are also members of a holy priesthood (1 Peter 2:5). At the Table of Showbread, twelve loaves of bread were used to satisfy their own hunger. In our prayers, this is where we would pray for our own needs. Praying for our own needs isn’t selfish. When the Pharisees accused Jesus’ disciples of breaking the Law when they plucked the grain on the Sabbath (Matthew 12), Jesus referred them to the account in 1 Samuel 21. In this passage, David was given bread from the Table of Showbread to sustain him as he fled from Saul. Jesus did not condemn David nor His disciples for having needs. The problem isn’t having needs. The problem lies in whom or where we go to get our needs met. Our Heavenly Father knows we have need of “all these things” (Matthew 6:32) and He alone is the One who can supply them (Philippians 4:19).
- The Golden Candlestick. This is the place of ministry. Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. Matthew 5:16. There is a second piece of furniture in the Tabernacle. In Revelation 2 and 3, the candlestick represents churches and ministries. This is where we pray for ministry. It could be ministries that you are involved in, ministries that you are familiar with, ones you read about, and so on. Don’t forget to pray for foreign ministries at this time as well. When we pray for ministers and ministries – locally, regionally, and internationally – we will also share in the rewards and blessings of what the Lord does through them! Isaiah tells us in Isaiah 60:1-2 that the nation of Israel was to be a light to the Gentiles. The reason that the nation of Israel was originally created was to show the whole world how to know God and how to talk with Him. As believers, it is our privilege and responsibility to pray for ministers that shed light on what it means to know God and to walk with Him.
- The Altar of Incense. This is the place of intercession. Pray for them which despitefully use you… Matthew 5:44. The third object in the Tabernacle was the Altar of Incense. According to Revelation 8, this altar speaks of intercession. This is where we intercede in our prayers for others. You can keep a list to make it easier to remember who you need to pray specifically for. Pray for your family, friends, neighbors, brothers and sisters in Christ, and for your enemies (Matthew 5:44). Albeit difficult, but important nonetheless. Our list grows smaller as we think about those who irritate or who have wronged us. As we pray for our enemies, our hearts begin to change as we pray for those who have hurt or betrayed us. These people do not remain enemies for long. While praying for your enemies, remember Matthew 7:12, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” While you may not be able to change how you feel about the people who have hurt you, you can change how you think about them. God can change your heart, but He won’t change your mind. If you change your mind, God will change your heart. In order to change our minds, we must pray.
- The Holy of Holies. This is the place of worship. Thou shalt put the mercy seat upon the ark of the testimony in the most holy place. Exodus 26:34. The last stop is the Holy of Holies wherein dwells the Chabod. This is the visible, tangible presence of God. This is where the ark of the covenant rests inside. Only the high priest on the Day of Atonement could entire the Holy of Holies. If he did so with any unconfessed sin, he died! But when Jesus cried, “It is finished!” the veil separating the Holy of Holies was ripped from top to bottom. Because of the finished work of the cross, even I, a sinner that I am, can experience the glory, the Chabod, the presence of God! This is where I worship. We worship by waiting on the Lord. Come let us bow down. Clap your hands all ye people. Shout unto God with a voice of triumph. Be still and know that I am God. Sing praise unto the Lord and bless His name. Singing, shouting, silence, bowing before Him, standing in awe of Him are all expressions of worship that God has ordered. Worship isn’t about what we like, it is about what God desires. Psalms is our workbook and guide on worship. Open it and say “Lord, I lift my hands as Your Word tells me to do. I bow my knees in adoration of you.”
Let me close by sharing with you a FREE printable. I hope it is a blessing!