In I Kings 18, Elijah confronted the prophets of Baal and made this proposal after he built an altar, “And call ye on the name of your gods, and I will call on the name of the Lord; and the God that answers by fire, let him be God. Then the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt sacrifice.” First came the altar of sacrifice, and then came the fire. The key to the fire is to first build an altar of prayer. DEUT. 4:24 “For the Lord thy God is a CONSUMING FIRE.” He is the original fire starter! The fire represents His Presence and power. God has always been in the fire. Moses found Him in the burning bush. He was in a pillar of fire that led the children of Israel in their wilderness journey. On the day of Pentecost, cloven tongues as of fire sat on each of the 120 in the upper room. Then it went inside the believers. With that fire, it began to spread throughout the world, and history has recorded its effects as it passed from one generation to another. Such examples are the Great Awakening in the early 1700’s which came the famous sermon by Jonathan Edwards, Sinners in the Hands of An Angry God, and the Azusa Street Revival of 1906 to name a few. These revival fires began because someone built an altar of prayer.
Back in the 1950’s a woman in Kentucky was tired of the sinful condition of her home and community. She got several women together to have prayer meetings. Out of those meetings were birthed a three year revival that resulted in many saved and over 80 people being called into ministry! Why? Because someone saw the need and built an altar. Why are there not more manifestations of God’s power being revealed from the pulpit to the pew? Why is there more entertainment on our Christian networks than powerful, life changing sermons and divinely inspired worship that are meant to destroy the yoke and set the captive free? Where are the altars? We have substituted the power of God for entertainment in fluffy sermons and cheesy worship. What is so sad is many don’t know the difference. They have been sitting in a smoke screen of entertainment believing this is all there is to it! Many have not been shown the altar. Altars have even been taken out of the churches now. I heard a preacher once say, “I was born in the fire, and I can’t live in the smoke!” There must be a sacrifice, a price to be paid. It’s time for the church to build the altar again and to experience the real power of God! I challenge you, especially ministers of the gospel, to build an altar and let the fire of God consume you! Your sermons and worship will be not be leftovers from the ashes. They will be fresh from off the fire coals of Heaven that will burn with the glory of God! Joel 2:17 “Let the priests, the ministers of the Lord, weep between the porch and the altar.” No altar, no fire! Vickie Henderson