Praying through the Tabernacle.
The Tabernacle – A model for prayer
1) The gate-The place of thanksgiving
2) The Courtyard-The place of praise
3) The Brass Altar-The place of confession
4) The Brass Laver-The place of meditation
5) The Table of Showbread-The place of petition
6) The Golden Candlestick-The place of ministry
7) The Altar of Incense-The place of intercession
8) The Holy of Holies-The place of worship
#1 The Gate-The place of thanksgiving
Enter into His gates with thanksgiving…
Exodus 27:16 describes the gate
For the gate of the court there shall be a screen of twenty cubits, of blue and purple and scarlet material and fine twisted linen, the work of a weaver, with their four pillars and their four sockets.
The entrance or door into the outer courtyard was made of the same fabric as the door into the tabernacle itself and the veil that separated the Holy Place from the Holy of Holies, because whether we are talking about the door into the courtyard—the place of salvation,
The door into the holy place—the place of service,
Or the door into the Holy of Holies—the place of worship, it’s all the same Door. It’s all through Jesus.
You see, just as the tabernacle was comprised of three sections—the outer courtyard, the holy place, and the Holy of Holies— there are three stages in our life in Christ…
The first group is those who are inside the courtyard. They have accepted Christ, they are part of the kingdom. They realize Jesus Christ; the Lamb of God was slain for their sins. They have received His salvation, they embrace His grace.
The second group is those who say, “Because God has been so good to me, I want to serve Him.” So they go into the holy place and serve the showbread, which speaks of the Word of God. They teach Sunday school, lead family devotions, and share the Word with someone at work. They see the golden lamp stand and desire to let their light shine through good works (Matthew 5:16)—through helping in the nursery, through visiting people who are in the hospital, through helping those in need. They smell the incense burning and are reminded that it speaks of intercession. So they pray consistently for the lost and for their brothers and sisters, for their families and the country.
But the third group are those who, like the high priest himself, enter in to the Holy of Holies in order to simply spend time in the Lord’s presence—to consider His character, ponder His nature, give Him praise, express their love, bring Him pleasure. I think we will be surprised in heaven when we see these certain people who would just sit quietly in church, not seeking the attention of men but fellowshipping with the Father. All too often, we don’t understand this. We think if we could lead worship, preach a sermon, or be a missionary, we’d be amazing. But those things don’t hold a candle to the highest level—to coming in to the Presence of the Lord and worshiping Him intimately. And here’s the key: the highest form of ministry, the most satisfying aspect of ministry is available to every single person right now.
Jesus gives us an example of this when He went to the home of His close friends in Bethany—the home of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus.
Lazarus is not mentioned in the Luke 10 account. He was outside, in the outer courtyard, he’s saved but he is not doing any more. He was a friend of the Lord to be sure. But he was outside.
Martha was in the kitchen, or the holy place, serving. She was baking bread, doing good works, and even praying, “Lord, tell my sister to get in here and help me!”
Mary, however, was sitting at the feet of Jesus. She was in the Holy of Holies. And, of her, Jesus said, “Mary has chosen the better part” (Luke 10:42). Nothing compares to being in the Holy of Holies, to being in the Lord’s presence. It’s the highest calling, the most important aspect of ministry. And it’s available to every one of us.
Salvation, service, and intimacy are all entered through the same door—through Jesus’ finished work on the Cross.
1) “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son” (John 3:16). That’s the door into the courtyard.
2) “If any man come after Me, let him take up His cross and follow Me” (Mark 8:34). That’s the door into the holy place, into service.
3) “Take, eat. This is My body broken for you. Do this in remembrance of Me” (Luke 22:19). That’s the door into the deepest place of ministry.
Paul put it this way: “It’s the love of Christ that constrains me, motivates me to be a servant of His” (2 Corinthians 5:14). And, “Even as you received Christ Jesus, so walk ye in Him” (Colossians 2:6).
How are Gods people to enter the Courtyard of the Tabernacle? The bible says were to enter His gates with thanksgiving (Psalm 100:4)
THANKSGIVING — the aspect of praise that gives thanks to God for what He does for us. Thanksgiving should come from a grateful heart, and thanksgiving is required of all believers no matter how we feel.
(1 Thessalonians 5:18) (Ephesians 5:20) (Colossians 3:17) (Romans 7:25) (Colossians 1:3-5) (1 Thessalonians 1:2-7) (Philippians 4:6)
#2 The Courtyard-The place of praise
…and into His courts with praise…Psalm 100:4
Exodus 27:9-20 describes the courtyard
We come to the description of the linen fence which formed the courtyard surrounding the tabernacle. At one hundred cubits long by fifty cubits wide, or one hundred and fifty feet by seventy-five feet, this area was not very big considering that it was for a congregation of possibly three million people. But perhaps in it the Lord was saying, “At a given time, I know not many people will seek Me.”
Sixty pillars—twenty each on the north and south sides, ten on the east and west sides—kept the linen fence in place and kept out people who didn’t belong inside, those who weren’t part of the family. (hedge of protection)
After spending time thanking the Lord for what He has done, we praise Him for who He is. Again, as specifically as possible, praise God for His beauty, purity and creativity, for His mercy, grace, and love, for His faithfulness, His holiness, His kindness.
Why does God want us to praise Him? Is it because He's unsure of Himself? Is it because He's insecure? Not at all. We praise God to foster within our own hearts a spirit of expectation. Remembering the nature of our heavenly Father allows us to come to Him with great confidence.
When I begin to pour out my burdens and my questions to the Lord, if I have already exalted Him for being omnipotent and compassionate I don’t have to wonder if He is strong enough or loving enough to answer my prayers. Praising God for who He is gives me confidence that He is able to handle the burdens that are too heavy for me.
That’s why we have praise and worship before we look into God’s word, to prepare our hearts to receive the Word. That’s why when the children of Israel ask God what tribe to send first into battle, God told them “send Judah”. Judah means praise.
After thanking and praising God we come to the altar.
#3 The Brass Altar-The place of confession
Leviticus 17:11 tells us
For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you on the altar to make atonement for your souls….
Exodus 27:1-2 describe the altar
“And you shall make the altar of acacia wood, five cubits long and five cubits wide; the altar shall be square, and its height shall be three cubits. “You shall make its horns on its four corners; its horns shall be of one piece with it, and you shall overlay it with brass.
At seven and one-half by seven and one-half by four and one-half feet, the Altar is not only the first object one would see when entering the tabernacle, but the largest. The place where sacrifices would be made, where blood would be shed, it speaks of the Cross.
This is where the Israelites would bring their sin and trespass offerings. As they placed their hand upon the bull, goat, or lamb they brought as a sacrifice, they would confess their sin not generically, but specifically. Then they would watch as the throat of the animal was slit and the blood drained. The animal laid upon the Brass Altar would be an unforgettable picture of the result of their sin. The bible tells us that the wages of sin are death.
In this example for prayer, the Brass Altar is the place where confession is made.
Confession does not mean that we promise never to sin again - because in us dwells no good thing (Romans 7:18). Therefore, to promise not to sin again is a promise that is impossible for us to keep. Confession is simply agreeing with God, saying the same thing He says.
What does God say? He says Sin is not a disease, it’s not a vulnerability, it’s not a weakness. It's sin. It's not borrowing - it's stealing. It's not stretching the truth - it's lying. It's not an affair – it’s adultery.
Confession says, "Father, I agree with You that this thought or action is sin. It causes erosion within me. It's destructive to my family. It's harmful for the kingdom. It's not right."
Again, be specific. Don't say, "Forgive me for all my sins today," or, "Forgive me for not loving the way I should." Say, "Forgive me for lying to her," or, "Forgive me for hating my neighbor. That’s honest confession.
Confession doesn’t bring forgiveness, because on the cross Jesus said “It is finished”. He secured our salvation; He paid for our sins, past, present and future.
Confession frees us from our sin, it liberates us. Confession in our lives rolls away the stone and transforms that sin that once reeked of death into the sweet savor of life. (2 Corinthians 2:14-15) But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place. For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing;
The other thing confession does is it gives us an appreciation for how much God loves us. Jesus told Simon the Pharisee “the one who is forgiven much loves much.”
Just remember we don’t need to sin more to love more, we already sin plenty.
#4 The Brass Laver-The place of meditation
John 15:3 tells us
You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.
Exodus 30:17-21 describes the laver,
The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “You shall also make a laver of brass, with its base of brass, for washing; and you shall put it between the tent of meeting and the altar, and you shall put water in it. “Aaron and his sons shall wash their hands and their feet from it; when they enter the tent of meeting, they shall wash with water, so that they will not die; or when they approach the altar to minister, by offering up in smoke a fire sacrifice to the Lord. “So they shall wash their hands and their feet, so that they will not die; and it shall be a perpetual statute for them, for Aaron and his descendants throughout their generations.”
The first thing you would see when you entered the courtyard of the tabernacle was the brass altar. The second thing would be the brass laver, or basin, filled with water. The water was to provide restoration, refreshment, renewal, revival.
(John 15:3; and Ephesians 5:26 tell us).The water was the Word.
Aaron and his sons were to wash their hands and feet at, rather than in the laver by drawing water from it so that the water within would remain pure. The water of the Word remains one hundred percent pure. The Word of God is the same yesterday today and tomorrow.
After making the sacrifice (killing the animal) the priest would go to the brass laver take some water out and wash the blood that had splattered on them, and any dirt he had on him. The water for us is the Word of God, that’s what we want to meditate on, Gods Word.
That’s what David asked in Psalm 119:9; how can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping it according to Your word.
That’s what Paul tells us to do for our wives in Ephesians 5:26
So that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,
The Brass Laver is where we stop and "wash ourselves' in the Word by reflecting on one or two verses. You see, the inside of the Laver was made of the mirrors the Israelites brought with them out of Egypt (Exodus 12:36, 38:8). So, when the priest looked in the Laver, he could see his reflection and wash accordingly.
James also likens the Word to a mirror (James 1:23). As we open the Word, and allow the Lord to minister a few verses to us, and as we begin to fellowship with Him, we feel refreshed and cleansed by Him just as surely as the priests experienced refreshment and cleansing at the Laver.
#5 The Table of Showbread-The place of petition
Give us this day our daily bread.
Exodus 25:23-30 describes the table
Now we enter the Tabernacle (the tent) the place of service. As we do we see on the right the Table of Showbread containing the twelve loaves of bread the priests would eat to satisfy their own hunger.
1 Peter 2:5 tells us we are members of the holy priesthood, so the Table of Showbread is where we pray for our daily needs.
"Isn't that selfish? Not at all. If I'm going to be a blessing to my family
at home, to the people in my fellowship, to the people in my
neighborhood, to my friends at work, I need to be blessed myself.
Therefore, we come boldly before the throne of God and say, "Father, I
When the Pharisees accused Jesus' disciples of breaking the Law when they plucked grain on the Sabbath (Matthew 12), Jesus said to them don’t you know what the bible say’s? (That was a low blow to the Pharisees) Then Jesus referred them to the account in 1 Samuel 21, where David was given bread from the Table of Showbread to sustain him as he fled from Saul. In other words, Jesus condemned neither David nor His disciples for having needs or being cognizant of their needs. Remember human need always comes before religious tradition.
The problem is not with having needs. The problem lies in to whom or where we go to meet them. Our Heavenly Father knows we have need of "all these things" (Matthew 6:32), and He alone is the One who can supply them (Philippians 4:19)
The Table of Showbread speaks of the desire and ability of our Heavenly Father to supply all of our needs according to His purpose.
#6 The Golden Candlestick-The place of ministry
Matthew 5:16 tells us; Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.
Exodus 25:31-40 describes the Lamp stand (The Menorah)
The second piece of furniture within the Tabernacle itself was the Golden Candlestick. As seen in Revelation 2 and 3, the Candlestick speaks of churches and ministries. Therefore, this is where we can pray for ministry: ministries we are directly part of, ministries we are familiar with, ministries we read about, or even ministries different from our background, or preference. We can pray for churches and pastors by name. We pray for foreign missions and for other organizations that preach Jesus.
When David was fighting against the Amalekites after the Ziklag attack, two hundred of his men couldn't go to the front lines. Instead, they stayed behind and guarded the supplies. When David and his men returned victorious, those who went with David into battle said, "We'll split the spoils only between us."
"Not so," David said. "The guys on the supply lines will be rewarded to the same degree that you are" (1 Samuel 30).
This means that when you pray for other ministries, by keeping the "supply lines" open, you participate in that ministry and will share in its reward when you stand before the Lord.
We can pray for ministers and ministries - locally, regionally, and internationally - Not only because without prayer their effectiveness will be diminished, but also because we’ll get to share in the rewards and blessings of what the Lord does through them!
Isaiah tells us that the nation of Israel was to be a light to the Gentiles (Isaiah 60: 1-2). In other words, the reason Israel was initially created was to show the whole world how to know God and how to walk with Him. So too, as believers, it is our privilege and responsibility to pray for ministries that shed light on what it means to know God and to walk with Him.
If you're looking for rewards, if you want to hear God say, "Well done," I encourage you to spend time at the Golden Candlestick. Pray for the lights of the world - not just the one you're involved in, not just those of your flavor, but for all kinds of ministries. Not only will your prayers affect the ministries you're praying for, but your prayers will also have a powerful altering effect on your own perspective about churches and denominations different than yours. And you will find yourself being enlightened and ignited in a new way in your love for all of His family, the entire Church in totality.
#7 The Altar of Incense-The place of intercession
Matthew 5:44 tells us;
But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,
Exodus 30:1-2 describes the Altar of Incense
“Moreover, you shall make an altar as a place for burning incense; you shall make it of acacia wood. “Its length shall be a cubit, and its width a cubit, it shall be square, and its height shall be two cubits; its horns shall be of one piece with it.
The third object inside the Tabernacle was the Altar of Incense.
According to Revelation 8, the Altar of Incense speaks of intercession.
This is where we can intercede, or pray, for people. If you need to make a list and go right down it, praying for people by name. Pray for your family, your friends, your neighbors, your brothers and sisters in Christ - and for your enemies (Matthew 5:44).
Now when you pray for your "enemies," just remember the words of Jesus who said, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" (Matthew 7:12). How do you want people to pray for you? Do you want them to pray, "Lord, humble him today. Break him that he might see how wrong he is"? When people pray for me, I want them to say, "Lord, be merciful to Harry. Be gracious. Be kind. He's a little slow." If that's how I want to be prayed for, I need to pray for others in the same way.
Even if someone has hurt you deeply, remember even though you can’t change how you feel about that person, you can change how you think about that person.
God can change your heart but He won’t change your mind. However, if you change your mind, God will change your heart. How do you change your mind?
You say, "Lord, You taught me to pray for, to forgive, and to love my enemies. Therefore, I choose to do that right now. Bless him. Encourage her. Amaze them with Your grace today."
And, sure enough, as I spend time at the Altar of Incense, as I change my mind and pray for my enemies, God is faithful to change my own heart every time.
#8 The Holy of Holies-The place of worship
(the place of intimacy)
“You shall hang up the veil under the clasps, and shall bring in the ark of the testimony there within the veil; and the veil shall serve for you as a partition between the holy place and the holy of holies.
“You shall put the mercy seat on the ark of the testimony in the holy of holies.
The last stop in the Tabernacle is beyond the veil into the Holy of Holies wherein the visible, tangible presence of God dwelt. Inside the Holy of Holies was the Ark of the Covenant - a two foot by three foot box covered by the mercy seat, over which the Shekinah glory of God rested.
Only the high priest, only on the Day of Atonement, could enter the Holy of Holies. (Hebrew. Yom Kippur), a fast day on which no work was done, observed in Israel ten days after the fall new year (Lev. 23:27-32) to atone for the sins of the past year. An offering of incense was made by the high priest in the innermost chamber of the Temple, the Holy of Holies, the only time in the year he entered there. The sins of the people were symbolically placed upon the ‘scapegoat,’ which was driven into the wilderness. Hebrews 8-9 draw heavily on the Day of Atonement to explain Christ’s sacrifice.
And if the high priest entered with any unconfessed sin, he died. But when Jesus cried, "It is finished!" the veil separating the Holy of Holies was ripped from top to bottom. It was as if God declared, "Open House! Any man, every man, can come into My presence at any time because the blood of My Son has cleansed you perfectly and completely."
Therefore, because of the finished work of the cross, even I, sinful man that
I am, can experience the glory, the intimacy, the presence of God. This is where we worship.
How do I worship?
"Come let us worship and bow down.”
"Clap your hands, all ye people." "Shout unto God with a voice of triumph- "Be still and know that I am God." "Sing praise unto the Lord and bless His name."
Singing, shouting, and silence; bowing before Him and standing in awe of Him are among the expressions God has ordered. Worship isn't about what I like. Worship is about what God desires.
So, in the Holy of Holies, I say, "Lord, I lift my hands as Your Word tells me to do. I bow my knees in adoration of You."
I lift my hands, sometimes bow my knees, sometimes lie prostrate on the floor. Sometimes I'll just sit quietly. Other times, I'll pray in the Spirit or sing loudly. In all of these ways and more, I find myself spending intimate time in the presence of God.
God says “draw near to Me and I will draw near to you”.
Close in prayer
1) The gate-The place of thanksgiving (Jesus our door to salvation)
2) The Courtyard-The place of praise (we praise You for you alone are worthy of our praise) prepare our hearts.
3) The Brass Altar-The place of confession (we lay our sins at Your feet Jesus, confident that You have paid the price in full. Help us to turn from our evil ways, to repent of our sins.
4) The Brass Laver-The place of meditation. Father as we wash in your word, cleanse us from all unrighteousness and let us be grounded in Your Word.
5) The Table of Showbread-The place of petition. Father give us this day our daily bread, thank you that You are Jehovah Jirah our provider. May we look to You for all things.
6) The Golden Candlestick-The place of ministry, where we lift up Your church and all the needs of the body of Christ.
7) The Altar of Incense-The place of intercession, we lift up those in need and our enemies.
8) The Holy of Holies-The place of worship, where we desire to spend time with You. Thank You that we have access to Your throne at any time, for any reason, and teach us to seek You first.