Philippians 4:6 - Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God...
Are the altars empty in our churches? Have we gotten to a place of such comfort and complacency in our lives we feel we do not need to seek God for His wisdom for our needs/lives? Do we rely on the prayers of others to accomplish that? Are our altars at home just as empty?
It has been a discussion among a few that we as a church need to be asking the people in our church to freely come to the altar and seek God directly. Don't wait to be asked; go at any time. Let our pride go and know that each of us is pretty much in the same place somehow in our lives...in need of answers from the Lord. We all need to know, although it should be a given, that no one will judge (or shouldn't) because we are a needy people, as much as some don't want to think so.
We don't need to go through prayer partners to be prayed over weekly. We need to be going directly to the Lord with our petitions, supplications...and just sitting at His feet listening intently for His words for us. Oh, we can agree in prayer (where two or more are gathered in His name...) but seeking God first is always the best thing. And seek Him for "whatever" with thanksgiving...always with thanksgiving.
The thought in some churches is not to make anyone uncomfortable. It's easier to cover up a person's need for prayer by saying something like "whatever your request is, come for prayer" instead of addressing a specific need or sin. I suppose that's okay. But there's something about coming forward on one's own, standing, kneeling or lying prone before the altar to seek God for the prayers we have.
Oh my, how God wants us to come directly to Him. How would our lives be transformed if we did that? Might we see more results or hear directly from Him regarding our situation? I understand how praying with someone is our responsibility and how sometimes it's nice to hear actual words where God can be silent. There's nothing wrong with seeking prayer from someone. And there's nothing wrong with receiving a word of knowledge from someone either. But it should not be a replacement for our Almighty God. Seeking man's intervention is not anything like having Jesus as our Mediator. For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus... (1 Timothy 2:5 NKJV)
An altar is where we worship God. It is where we bring our sacrifices and offerings, lay our troubles down. We bring ourselves to Him. We sacrifice ourselves to Him. We worship Him there. It's where we come to the Lord fully trusting He hears our prayers, as He says He does. It's trusting His will will be done in our situation...whether it's how we imagined it or not...and still continuing to trust.
Have you gone to your altar today? Have you sought the Lord wherever your altar might be? Have you set up an altar? Remember, we are the Temple of God if we have received Christ. Within that temple there is an altar...it goes wherever you do. What does going to the altar, wherever you might be, do:
Philippians 4:7 - ...and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Need answered prayers? Need peace? Need wisdom? Need Jesus? Go to that altar and seek Him.