Sometimes, many of us struggle in our prayer life only getting so far and not really experiencing the presence of God. Although we have entered into a new covenant with Christ, the Old Testament gives us a template of what is transpiring in the spirit (Hebrews 8:5). Once I understood this, it enriched my prayer life tremendously. I will attempt to summarize the protocol below. I also want to stress that this is not a formula, I am just attempting to give greater understanding. There is so much more that can be said on the subject, but for now, we are going to take a walk through the tabernacle to understand how each station relates to our prayer life.
The tabernacle was the portable dwelling place for the divine presence of God. The Israelites packed it up and moved it around for 40 years in the desert. We are also a portable dwelling place designed to host the presence of God everywhere we go. But first, we have to understand how the tabernacle of old relates to the new covenant today. The Book of Exodus describes the tabernacle starting with the mercy seat. This is from Heaven’s perspective. We are going to start our tour as if we were entering from outside the tabernacle as the Israelites did.
Court of the Tabernacle
Exodus 27:9-21 – This is the outer court. The animals were brought here to be sacrificed. In the outer court, there was a lot of commotion. There were many animals and people waiting their turn. I would imagine there was a lot of noise and it was probably smelly. The outer court represents our lives before Christ. Lives full of confusion, bad attitudes, and the list can go on and on. Even after salvation, this can represent our thought process, how we see ourselves, how we speak about ourselves and others.
The Bronze Altar
Exodus 27:1-8 – The altar is where the animals were brought as an offering and sacrificed. Picture Jesus on the Cross. He became the last and ultimate sacrifice for us all. The Israelites brought their sacrifices because it was necessary for the blood to be shed in order for their sins to be forgiven. In Hebrews 9:22 it says, without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness. For us, under the new covenant, the Altar represents repentance. When wanting to enter His presence, we should repent for our sins. Sins we are aware of and sins we may not be aware of.
Basin for Washing (Laver)
Exodus 30:17-21 – The Basin is located between the Altar and the Tent of Meeting (Inner Court). Only the priests were allowed to wash at the basin. The priests washed here to cleanse themselves before entering into the Tent of Meeting.
Think of this as the washing of the word. Ask the Lord to search you so that you may have a clean heart. He may review things that may cause you to repent or to help you forgive, or heal you from an old hurt. The washing can be an on-going process, and can take hours, days, weeks, months or even years, but you should feel a release in your spirit to move into the inner courts. The Lord makes us righteous and is not looking for perfection from us.
Exodus 26:1-30 – The Curtains of Linen was the separation between the outer court and the inner court. Only the priests were allowed to enter into the inner court. The curtain is representative of us coming yielded and humbly before Him. It is with the attitude of ‘Not my will, but Thy will’. Once we pass through the curtains of linen, we lay are selves bare before Him.
The Table of Showbread
Exodus 25:23-30 – The Table of Showbread was located right inside the Tent of Meeting (Inner Court) and represents the bread of the Presence. The bread was set on the Sabbath and the priests were allowed to eat it after a week when the showbread was replenished. His presence can be felt here since it is the inner court. For us, the Table of Showbread represents our daily needs. These are our prayer requests. Many can get stuck here, constantly asking for provision looking for God’s hand. But there’s more for us.
Altar of Incense
Exodus 30:1-10 – The incense was located in front of the veil which separated the Ark of the Covenant. This represents our worship. We can do this with music, singing, dancing, spoken word, in prayer, even praying in our heavenly language.
The Anointing Oil
Exodus 30:22-31 – The application of the Anointing Oil sanctifies or makes holy. You can anoint yourself with oil as a symbol of sanctifying yourself.
These are within the Inner Court; The Table of Showbread, the Altar of Incense, the Lampstand, and the Anointing Oil. His presence was there, as it should be in your prayer life today.
Exodus 25:31-35, 26:35 –The Lampstand represents making God known to man. God is the light of the world (Matthew 5:14-16).
Exodus 26:31-37 – The veil is a partition between the holy place and the holy of holies. The screen is for the doorway between the inner court and the holy place. Jesus’ flesh represents the veil which He tore on the cross. We can enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus (Hebrews 10:19-20).
The Ark of the Covenant
Exodus 25:10-22 – The mercy seat sits on top of the ark. A cherub was on each side of the mercy seat; the wings of the cherubim spread upward covering the mercy seat and their faces toward one another. “And there I will meet with you and commune with you.” (Exodus 25:22) Under the old covenant, the high priest entered into the holies of holies once a year. Under the new covenant, we have access to Him continuously! The holy of holies is where intimacy and relationship with our Lord develops.
To sum up our tour, take a look at Hebrews 10:19-22.
19 Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus,
20 by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh,
21 and having a High Priest over the house of God,22 let us draw near with a true(sincere) heart in full assurance of faith,
having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.
The verses sum up nicely the pattern of the old and how it translates for us today. “having our hearts sprinkled…” is the blood, “our bodies washed with pure water” is the wash basin.
One more point I would like to make which takes this protocol another level deeper; we are made up of Body, Soul, and Spirit. The outer court represents our body, the inner court represents our soul, and the holy of holies represents our spirit. It is our spirit that engages and has access to the heavenly places, to the anointed one and even the throne room.
May your prayer lives be enriched and may the hunger for Jesus increase within you in 2015.