I believe we can live victoriously every day. I believe we can enjoy the grace of God in difficult circumstances and when we are down emotionally. Personally, I need time with the Lord every day, or my emotional and spiritual well runs dry. When that happens, my faith level goes down and I start listening to the lies of the enemy. On a practical level, I love variety, so I change my 'quiet time' routine every few months. If I don’t, it gets boring and I lose interest. Sally is the exact opposite to me. She follows the same approach every morning, in the same chair, at the same time.
But I need variety. I think it’s a personality thing. I like variety in how I relate to Sally or any of my friends. I like to do different things with them. See a movie, go for a walk, play golf, take a hike in the mountains…the point is to hang out together but do things we enjoy at the same time.
But, with the variety and change, I also need consistency in my times with the Lord. There are certain aspects of my relationship with God that never change.
I thought I would share ‘a tool’ with you that has helped me spend meaningful time with the Lord. I use this tool in the mornings, and any time in the day for that matter. A friend passed it on to me many years ago, and I like it a lot. In fact, I have come to the conclusion that it contains elements of truth that should be part of how we relate to the Lord every day.
It’s really simple. This model of prayer, if you want to call it that, is so easy you can memorize and follow it any time of the day. You can do it while you are driving to work, going for a walk, etc. Yet it has lots of opportunity for substance and going deeper with the Lord as well. When I lack direction or my mind wanders, I know what to do to get going. If you like this tool and find it helpful, you may want to write down the seven headings on a 3x5 card and keep it with you as a reminder.
It’s based on the Tabernacle in the Old Testament. I encourage you get a diagram of the Tabernacle from your Bible or borrow one from a friend who has a study Bible so you can visualize it.
It will be easier for you to remember it that way, too. The Lord gave the design for the tabernacle to Moses in Exodus 25-31. Different features of the tabernacle were representative of how the people of Israel were to relate to God. For example, as the priests entered the tabernacle, they went first to the altar of burnt offerings, or altar of sacrifice, as it is sometimes called. They did that as a sacrifice for their sins. The altar of sacrifice is symbolical of Christ’s death on the cross.
If each station of the tabernacle was important to the people of God in those days, they are just as important to us today. I am so convinced of this truth, that no matter how I rearrange my quite times, I include these seven elements in my times of connecting with God. They are as follows:
- Altar of Sacrifice - It is vital that we ‘die daily’ to sin, i.e., confess our sins each day and receive God’s forgiveness. The Altar of Sacrifice was where burnt offerings and sacrifices were offered to God for the sins of the people. Jesus is our sacrifice. Paul says in Romans 6:11 that we should consider ourselves dead to sin and alive to God because of Jesus’ death for us. It is powerful thing to daily confess our sins and sorrows, and then receive His forgiveness and grace. See Galatians 5:24, Philippians 1:21, Galatians 2:20, Romans 6:6, 2 Corinthians 1:9
- Bronze Laver - We have an invitation from God: we can receive the washing of our minds and hearts each day if we simply ask and receive by faith. The bronze laver in the tabernacle was the place of cleansing. It was a bowl that contained water for cleansing. The bronze laver symbolized the need of the priests to be clean from sin as they came into the presence of God. John 13:6, Titus 3:5, Ephesians 5:26
- Golden Lampstand - We need to consciously ask for and receive the fullness of the Spirit every day: God invites us to ask for the fruit and the power of the Holy Spirit each day, and to ask Him to give us wisdom for the decisions we must make. On the Golden Lampstand stood a candlestick, or menorah. The Lampstand provided light for the priests as they entered the ‘holy place’. It symbolizes the presence of the Holy Spirit to guide us as we live our lives each day in the ‘holy place’ of our work and family life. It also represents Jesus, the light of the world. This part of the tabernacle reminds us to be filled with the Spirit. Ephesians 5:18, Acts 4:8, 31, 9:17, Acts 5:32
- Table of Showbread - We need the word of God, both written and spoken, to feed our hearts and keep us alive spiritually. Each week twelve fresh loaves of bread were placed on a table in the Holy Place of the Tabernacle. The Showbread symbolized that God sustained the people of Israel. In the same way, we are sustained by the word of God. It is bread to our souls. “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that precedes from the mouth of God.” Deuteronomy 8:3, Psalm 119:9-11, Romans 12:2. Acts 4:31, 13:5, Romans 10:17, 2 Corinthians 2:17, 4:2, Ephesians 6:17, 1 Thessalonians 2:13, Hebrews 4:12
- Altar of Incense - Jesus longs to receive our worship by the choices we make, the thoughts we think, and the words of praise we offer Him in adoration. The Altar of Incense was symbolical of worship. Our lives are to be incense to the Lord (2 Corinthians 2:14). He never grows tired of our worship. Worship allows intimacy to grow between the Lord and us. It is the love language of the heart. Genesis 22:5, Deuteronomy 11:16, Psalm 67:1-4, Psalm 86:9, John 4:21-24, Romans 12:1, Revelation 5:9-10,
- Mercy Seat - Ark of the Covenant - The mercy seat symbolizes the mercy of God that covers our lives and it represents God’s invitation to us to offer prayers and intercessions for others. The mercy seat was the lid that went over the ark, where the stone tablets of the law were contained. The priests sprinkled the blood of sacrificed animals on the mercy seat. An intercessor stands before God and asks for His mercy to be given on behalf of other people. Such an invitation should not be ignored or turned down! Acts 6:4, 12:5, Romans 12:12, Ephesians 6:18, Philippians 4:6, Colossians 4:2, James 5:15, Mark 11:24, 13:33, 14:38, 1 Thessalonians 5:25,
- Outer Court - When we marry our passions for life with our calling to tell others about Jesus, our worlds come together. We don’t have to live fragmented lives. After the priest ministered to the Lord on behalf of the people, he went to the outer court of the tabernacle and ministered to the people on behalf of the Lord. As followers of Jesus, we are commissioned to go into the world on His behalf. We each have a sphere of influence that God gives us to tell people about Jesus. When this happens, we find deep fulfillment and the satisfaction of living whole-heartedly for God. Genesis 1:28, 12:1-3, Psalm 67:1-4, Acts 1:8, Matthew 28:19-20
There you have it: seven aspects of our relationship with Jesus. My prayer for you is that you will grow in your desire to spend time with Jesus each day. He loves you and longs to be with you!
The Tabernacle Model of Prayer and the Lord’s prayer are linked in that they both describe essential ingredients of our walk with the Lord:
Adorationv - Our Father in heaven - Altar of Incense
Consecration - Holy be Your name - Altar of Sacrifice/Burnt Offerings
Intercession - Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven - Mercy Seat/Ark of the Covenant
Infilling and personal supplication - Give us this day our daily bread - Table of Showbread & Golden Lampstand
Cleansing and forgiveness - Forgive us our sins, As we forgive those who have sinned against us - Bronze Laver
Spiritual warfare - Lead us not into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one - Outer Court
Worship and declaration - For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever! - Altar of Incense