What is a Prayer Altar from a Biblical Perspective?

Learn what a prayer altar is and how to build one for you, your family, and even for your church.

Have you ever felt you needed to talk to God but didn’t know how or where to start? Setting up a prayer altar might be the perfect solution for you.

Prayer altars can be as straightforward or as extravagant as you want them to be, and they provide a dedicated space for you to connect with God.

So, if you’re looking for a way to intensify your prayers and grow closer to God, consider creating a prayer altar of your own.

What is a Prayer Altar?

A prayer altar is a place where you can go to pray, meditate, or spend time in reflection. It can be as simple as a corner of your room with a few candles and a Bible or a more elaborate setup with an altar cloth, prayer beads, and other religious items.

Prayer altars can be found in homes, churches, temples, and other places of worship. They provide a physical space for prayer and reflection and can also be a source of comfort and peace.

Prayer Altar

What is an Altar?

When you hear the word altar, what do you think? Do you think of a prayer altar in a church or perhaps a sacrificial altar in an ancient temple?

Altars can be found in all cultures and religions. They may be used to honor ancestors, gods, or even natural forces like the sun or moon. In many traditions, altars are decorated with significant symbols for the worshipper. For example, an altar to the goddess Venus might have a statue of the goddess, along with flowers and incense.

Building an altar is a way of creating sacred space in our homes. It is a way of marking out an area that is set apart from the rest of our lives, where we can go to connect with something larger than ourselves.

Whether you use it for prayer, meditation, or simply as a reminder of your spiritual beliefs, an altar can be a powerful tool for deepening your connection to the divine.

What Does the Bible Say About a Prayer Altar?

In the Bible, prayer is often associated with altars. The first mention of an altar in the Bible is in Genesis when Abraham builds an altar to sacrifice his son Isaac.

Later, in Exodus, God gives Moses instructions for building a golden altar where sacrifices can be made.

In Leviticus, we read about the importance of altars in the Jewish sacrificial system.

In Exodus 17:8-15, we see that the Israelites built an altar after defeating the Amalekites in battle. This altar was a place where they could offer sacrifices and thank God for their victory.

In Joshua 22:10-34, we see that the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and half of Manasseh built an altar on the banks of the Jordan River. This caused great consternation among the other tribes of Israel, who feared that it would be used for idol worship. However, the altar builders explained that it was simply a place of prayer and communion with God.

As we can see, prayer altars have been a part of biblical history.

A prayer altar cannot magically shift our prayer life and make us much closer to God. More than anything, it is worshipping God in spirit with the help of the Holy Spirit in our lives and worshipping Him in truth – through the Word of God in the Bible. Romans 12:1 ESV

Our body is a holy place where the Holy Spirit resides. Our worship does not start and end when we approach and leave the prayer altar. God’s presence does not come and go. It is with us all through the days of our lives. It is a lifestyle and a lifetime of worshipping and honoring God in everything we do.

What is the Purpose of a Prayer Altar?

Is a prayer altar a must for every Christian home? No. It’s not. We must understand that we can approach God anytime and anywhere. Yet having a prayer altar is more for us than it is for God.

Intentionality

It is a place we have set aside to commune with God intentionally, and it helps us make our prayer life more intentional. A prayer altar reminds us that we should go into His presence prepared and present when approaching God.

Imagine praying in your room, sitting on your bed, compared to praying at an altar. There is more of an intention to pray.

Preparedness

A prayer altar is a great way to prepare to pray. It provides a place to focus your thoughts and gather your prayer materials. It can also remind you of your intentions for prayer and help you stay on track.

A prayer altar can be a valuable tool if you have trouble praying. It can help you find the right words and connect with God.

When you have a prayer altar, you have a unique space set aside just for prayer. It can also be a beautiful way of showing dedication to your faith.

Focus

If you’ve ever tried to pray without an altar, you know how quickly your mind can wander. Suddenly, you’re thinking about what you need to pick up at the grocery store or what happened at work today.

But when you have a prayer altar, it’s much easier to focus on prayer because you have a physical space dedicated to it. All your attention is focused on the altar, and it becomes easier to clear your mind and connect with God. Plus, there’s something extraordinary about having a space in the physical realm just for prayer.

It can help you feel more connected to God and invested in your prayer life. So if you’re looking for a way to be more focused on prayer, consider setting up a prayer altar. It just might make all the difference.

Holiness

How many times have we mindlessly approached prayer? Since it is something we do every day, we tend to take it for granted and miss the real meaning of prayer.

A prayer altar reminds us of God’s throne room in heaven, as detailed by John in Revelations 4 and 5. The elders approached God with so much reverence because we serve a great and holy God. And this is the same kind of faith and attitude that we should have when we pray to our Lord and Savior.

What Does a Prayer Altar Look Like?

Place

Create a specific place to pray. By doing this, you are making a place for God to come into your life and focus on His Word.

It should be where people don’t go, and no other things are happening – just you and your Bible.

When you enter this space, you promise to spend time with the Lord through prayer, meditation, silence, or worship. You leave everything at the door and spend time with your Heavenly Father.

Sometimes making this place better means giving up something. You might have to give up that closet or the things you kept. But the reward for going to this secret place to be with the Lord is much greater than anything material.

Attitude

The way you feel maybe even more important than where you are. If you go to your place of prayer with a hard heart, you won’t get much out of your time there.

Having a prayer altar means you are serious about your prayers. A prayer altar is more than just a place to pray or set aside for worship. It means planning to spend physical and spiritual quality time in that space.

When you’ve made that promise, you should go to your secret place with a humble heart and be ready to hear from God. Be in the Bible or be quiet. Listen for His voice, and then wait for Him to meet you there.

Heart

Most of us have probably experienced the feeling of going to prayer without really being prepared. Our mind is elsewhere, rushed and distracted, and our heart isn’t in it.

It can be easy to go through the motions, but prayer is much more. Prayer is a time to connect with God, talk to Him, and listen to His voice. It’s a time to lay our burdens at His feet and receive His peace.

Preparing our hearts beforehand is essential to make the most of our prayer time. We need to quiet our minds, slow down, and focus on God. Only then can we truly open ourselves up to Him, focus on His Word, and experience all that prayer offers.

Different Types of Prayer Altars

Prayer Altar

Personal Altars

A personal prayer altar is a small, personal prayer space that can be set up anywhere in your home. It might include a prayer mat or rug, a small table or shelf, a Bible, and a journal. The idea is to create a space where you can go to pray quietly and reflect on your day.

Setting up a prayer altar is a simple way to create a sacred space in your home that will remind you of your need for God’s presence in your life.

Family Altars

A family prayer altar is a special place where families can go to pray together. It can be as simple as a small table or shelf in a specific home area or a more elaborate setup in a dedicated room. The important thing is that it is a place where everyone can feel comfortable praying.

The prayer altar should be stocked with all the necessary supplies for prayers, such as holy books, Bible, and a prayer journal. This will help create a feeling of reverence and remind everyone of the purpose of the prayer altar.

Praying at the family prayer altar is a great way to unite everyone. It can be done at any time of day, but it is adorable to do it in the evening before bedtime. This gives everyone a chance to wind down and reflect on the day. It is also a great way to start or end the day as a family.

Church Altars

A prayer altar is a designated place for prayer in a church. It is usually a simple structure, such as a table or shelf, that is prayer-focused and includes items such as a crucifix, Bible, or candles.

The prayer altar serves as a reminder to church members to pray and can be used as a gathering place for prayer groups or individual prayer. It is also often used to say prayers for the sick or deceased.

For many Christians, the prayer altar is a sacred space that provides peace and solace in times of need.

How to Set Up a Prayer Altar

Find a quiet place in your home where you can set up a prayer altar. It could be a closet or an extra room. No matter what you have. If there is already something there, clear it out. Again, get rid of any distractions.

When you are ready to start, you want to have your journal and Bible. Some people like to write their prayers on the walls and move them as they see God answering them. You can also share Bible verses that you are thinking about.

No matter what you do, that is a place where you can be with God. Don’t let it fall by the wayside, and do something about it.

Bible Verses about a Prayer Altar

“But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your unseen Fathe. Then your Father, who sees what is done secretly, will reward you.” Matthew 6:6

I’m not saying you can’t pray when other people are around. Praying together makes you stronger. But if you have trouble not showing off your faith to get people’s attention, this may be something you need to do. It is also a perfect time to be alone with God.

“Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.” Mark 1:35

God, Himself prayed. And so, this is a reminder that we should not take prayer lightly.

“Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.? I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me, you can do nothing.” John 15:4-5

The best way to connect with God is to seek Him in prayer constantly.

Prayer Altar

In Conclusion

Altars are important, but they should never replace our hearts’ preparedness for prayer. We can all create prayer altars in our homes – even if it’s just a simple shelf with a few special items on it.

What matters most is that we take the time to pray and that we make sure our hearts are open and ready to receive God’s answers. Let us know how you’ve created your prayer altar in the comments below!

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Alex Shute
EDITOR
Alex Shute, MBA
Alex is a family man and entrepreneur based in Los Angeles. His passion is to serve the global Church and bring people of diverse backgrounds together to learn & grow.