I heard a sermon at Gateway City Church, in June and it has NOT left me. While Pastor David was preaching, all I could think of was how this related to my daily struggle and it made sense on how/why some churches are lacking vitals for a FIRE FILLED,POWERFUL ALTAR of prayer.
James 5:16-18 reads that "The EFFECTIVE and fervent PRAYER of a righteous man avails much. Elijah.... PRAYED earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. And he PRAYED again, and the heaven gave rain" That passage shows us that we can build EFFECTIVE altars of prayer based the patterns of God's word. Well, genius thought right? I knew/know about praying Gods word into our lives BUT what you are about to read, BREAKS it down further. I can tell you this - I learned a lot and had some AH HA moments.
Below will be the notes from the sermon mixed with my own thoughts/notes. If you want to read the story of Elijah, it can be found in 1 Kings 18: 17-39. What is amazing is the PRAYER is SO SO SO strong. Only an alter of prayer can overturn Jezebel and reform a nation. (that was not my quote) :)
When Elijah built an Alter, he had 12 stones. In this story he as actually repairing the alter. When I heard that, all I could think about was the amount of times I have attempted to rebuild this alter and was not successful a lot of the times. Maybe because I was missing some key stones for a solid alter? Trails and tribulations are allowed in our lives to get our attention. There are so many times when God shuts off our water to get our attention and that is usually the time he wants us to rebuild our alter. I find that to be true in my life - when that alter is rebuild it us almost ALWAYS attached to a revival.
When Elijah was praying, it was so that the 12 tribes would be revived. The 12 tribes = the 12 stones of the Altar.
First 6 stones are: Ruben, Asher, Benjamin, Ephraim and Manasseh, Levi and Simeon.
RUBEN means knowing the son (to know a son).
An alter in prayer = intimacy. Ruben is a reflection to how our relationship is with Jesus Christ. We come to know the son and build that relationship and faith. With the time we spend and the closer we get, we then can approach Him safely.
ASHER means faith to be blessed.
Asher tribe was rich in oil and water and was the richest of all the tribes. Moses gave appropriate blessings to him and said let him be favored by his brothers. When Moses prayer, he expected blessings. That means prayer begins with a faith that EXPECTS blessings.
What are your expectations from God? When you are at your alter, you want the fire of God to come down on you. Hebrews 11:6 tells us that without faith, it is IMPOSSIBLE to please God. That anyone who comes to God, needs to BELIEVE that He is and that God is a rewarder of those seek him diligently.
BENJAMIN means spiritual desire (son of the right hand).
Benjamin was so special to Jacob! This tribe was small BUT very powerful, it was the warrior tribe, This tribe always had spiritual hunger, which is KEY is SO to building an alter. John 15:7 tells us that if we abide in Jesus, His word then abides in us. Then when we actually ASK what we DESIRE, it will be done. God's fire NEVER comes to and alter that does not have passion and desire. The key that I took from this was to stir up more desire in my prayer life.
EPHRAIM & MANASSEH have firstborn authority.
As God's children, we always pray for a position of authority. Ruben sinned and lost the blessings of the 1st born, so Jacob took that blessing and gave it to Ephraim and Manasseh. This stone is very powerful to us. We are like Ruben, we all have sinned BUT there was an Ephraim and Manasseh that we adopted which gives us 1st born privileges. When we pray, we need to pray from a place/position of authority. God makes all things new when we do it from the position of the 1st Born's authority.
LEVI has agreement and unity (connected or joined)
To adhere too, or cling too. Levi tribe is a HOLY tribe. Prayer is not a solo thing to do. When you pray, it is important to be connected with the power of unity and agreement. Is there something missing from our life that we need to connect to? Psalms 33 - we need the local church and relationships. As it tells us in Mathew 18:19 if 2 of us agree here on earth about anything you ask, it will be done for you by my (Jesus') Father in heaven.
SIMEON is trusting God (hearing).
Leah's prayer in the Bible was for God to hear her, when she got pregnant. When in prayer, we need to have confidence. This is SO SO important and I know I am constantly tested here. We need to pray to have the confidence while we are waiting on God to answer prayers. When there has not been a break through, we need to stand strong in faith and trust that God hears us.