A plan is important in most areas of life. Today we’re continuing our topic on prayer, “Pray More”. Do you have a prayer list? A strategic plan is great to go along with the list. When we pray, we go to war. Think of a general without a plan or strategy. Remember that things in the natural are impacted by the spiritual and prayer impacts the spiritual. Strategy is important.
The truth is, that when we draw closer to God he will draw closer to us. Let’s look at a model of prayer fashioned after the Tabernacle. The goal of prayer is to get in God's presence. In the forty years of the children of Israel in the wilderness, God's presence covered them and they moved when He moved.They were following the pillar of cloud and fire. They had the first portable church! In this period of their history, the Israelites were commanded to create a space to meet God. It was a place for God’s presence, a place for Him to rest. The Tabernacle was temporary. Once the kingdom of Israel was established, Solomon’s Temple became the place to find God. When Jesus died, access to God’s presence was opened. Now we have direct access because of the blood of Christ that was shed one time for all time, one time for all people. But we can still use the Tabernacle model as a strategy for our time in God’s presence and to create a space of intimacy with God.
Let’s go through the Tabernacle together and see how this model of prayer can enrich our prayer life.
Psalm 100:4 declares, “Come into His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise.” Start your prayer with thanksgiving and praise. So often we start prayer with our requests and skip over thanksgiving. God doesn’t need affirmation for his sake, but we need to adore Him for our sake. It changes our attitude toward Him. We pray in order to connect with God. We need to glorify, magnify, and honor God. We bring a sacrifice of praise first.
Sacrifice of animals was required to atone for sin in the days of the Tabernacle and Temple. This is the next stage of our prayer walk through the Tabernacle Prayer model. The Brazen Altar represents Christ. Because of His blood, His sacrifice, we can approach God freely. In the days of the Tabernacle, people walked past the Brazen Altar and were reminded of the sacrifice made on their behalf. They knew what the covering of their sin cost. We need to remember what Jesus sacrificed for us. We can’t approach God without the remission of sin by the blood. Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. Jesus did that for us.
The Laver is where we wash and reflect. The cross of Christ justified us and His blood gives us access to God. The Laver is for sanctification, to set us apart and cause us to look different. In Christ, as we are sanctified, we act differently and become different. We become Christ-like. Pray as David prayed, “Create in me a clean heart O God.” It’s important to reflect and understand we fall short. But Jesus, the Word, washes us and cleans us.
These first three stations of the Tabernacle were all in the Outer Court, open for all to see. Only priests could access the Inner Court which contained the following and were pieces set closer together in proximity than those in the Outer Court.
The Lampstand represented the power of the Holy Spirit. It was fueled by oil that the priests replenished daily. The laws for the Lampstand specified that the oil should never run out. In our time, I look at it like this. Sundays drive the Church forward, like gasoline. Without gas, a car stops and without Sundays, church will stop. But, if your car runs out of oil, it kills your engine. Oil must be present. Oil keeps things cool and calm. Zechariah 4:6 declares “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit.” Be refilled with the Spirit everyday.
The Table of Shewbread was built with gold and the priests set new bread on it each week, six pieces on each side with a little frankincense. This aroma set the space. Bread sustains. Jesus is our Bread. When He was a small boy, the wise men brought frankincense and gold and myrrh to Him. This is foreshadowed in the Tabernacle. In the Table of Shewbread we see Frankincense in the bread, gold in the Table and myrrh in the oil. This was the same oil used to anoint priests and kings. Jesus is King, our High Priest, the Bread of Life, the Word that satisfies our soul. In God’s presence, when we’re consuming the Word, mixed with the Holy Spirit, we will get a deeper understanding and revelation of what the Word is saying. This is called rhema. It is life giving and speaks and continues to speak. In this way, we can see God through His Word.
The incense had spices and oils that, when mixed with fire, sent an aromatic smoke upward and filled the space of the inner court. The fire came from the blood-coated coals taken from the Brazen Altar. The incense symbolizes worship which is more intimate than praise and thanksgiving. It is reverence, it is honoring and it is intimate. It is a place where heart connects with Heart.
The Ark of the Covenant was behind the veil, covered by the Mercy Seat, and was where God's presence manifested and where He rested. When the Israelites had to carry the Ark, there were precise procedures they had to follow. The Ark led the Israelites when they moved and when they went into battles. In the Temple worship, the High Priest only went into the Holy of Holies, where the Ark was, once a year and was carefully consecrated for this moment. In fact, if he was not, if he was unclean according to the law, he would die. Because of Jesus, we have no veil separating us from God’s presence. When Jesus died in fact, the physical veil in the Temple was torn in two. Now we can come into God’s presence without hindrance.
I challenge you to Pray More and to use this model to spend precious time in God’s presence. This is for that quiet time set aside for God. Remember, God is always talking. He’s asking you to listen. This model of prayer can position you to hear what He is saying. When we rest in His presence, we can hear, learn and be transformed. Bring your requests but come prepared to listen, to hear.
For a downloadable PDF of the Tabernacle Prayer, go to https://motorcitychurch.org/images/Tabernacle_Prayer_Guide.pdf.