Ten Days of Prayer 2023Return to Blog
DAY 4 : What Brings God Back
Back to the Altar — Rebuild It and He Will Come — Again!
When the Rains Stopped
The atmosphere that fateful day was charged, though an eerie silence had engulfed Mount Carmel. In previous times this wooded mount was lush, green, and beautiful. It received plenty of rainfall and was considered a holy place, a place of blessing and fertility (Ellen G. White, Prophets and Kings, p. 144). But all that had changed. What used to be green was now burnt and bare, the result of a painful, three-and-a-half-year drought (1 Kings 17:1; 18:1; James 5:17). Here’s how Ellen White describes Israel at this time:
The earth is parched as if with fire. The scorching heat of the sun destroys what little vegetation has survived. Streams dry up, and lowing herds and bleating flocks wander hither and thither in distress. Once-flourishing fields have become like burning desert sands, a desolate waste. . . . Once-prosperous cities and villages have become places of mourning. Hunger and thirst are telling upon man and beast with fearful mortality. Famine, with all its horror, comes closer and still closer. (Prophets and Kings, pp. 124, 125)
The Drought Within
Perhaps greater than the physical drought that gripped the nation was the spiritual drought that left God’s people soul-thirsty and faith-depleted. Israel was ruled by the evil King Ahab and his wife, Jezebel. Ahab’s Sidonian bride had helped weaken his allegiance to God. It was into this catastrophic spiritual apostasy that God called the prophet Elijah. Of Elijah, Ellen White writes, “there dwelt in the days of Ahab a man of faith and prayer whose fearless ministry was destined to check the rapid spread of apostasy in Israel” (Prophets and Kings, p. 119).
Elijah Rebuilds the Altar
After the prophets of Baal and Asherah failed to get their gods to send fire, it was “at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice” (1 Kings 18:36) that Elijah called the people near and rebuilt the broken altar to the true God. In a very real sense, Elijah was not just calling the nation back to the altar of true worship; rather, he was calling the nation back to the altar of regular, systematic worship of the true God! Israel’s corporate worship altar was broken, but Israel’s personal and family altars had been broken long before.
What Brings God Back
It was the restoration of true, heartfelt worship that moved God to respond at Carmel. Elijah’s first act of national spiritual revival was to rebuild the broken altar. If your personal or family worship altar is broken, rebuild it, and let the fire of God’s presence consume all who gather to worship Him!
Let’s talk to our God.
Prayer Time (30–45 Minutes)
Praying God’s Word — 1 Kings 18:30
“So all the people came near to him. And he repaired the altar of the Lord that was broken down.”
“The People Came Near to Him”
Jesus, it was Your Holy Spirit that convicted the hearts of the Israelites on Mount Carmel as Elijah rebuilt the altar. In the same way, we ask that You will convict our hearts today. Show us our sins, so we may find forgiveness and grace to overcome in Jesus. Draw us close to You, reveal the beauty of Your holiness to our hearts, and give us a longing for You like we have never had before. Amen.
“He Repaired the Altar of the Lord”
Our Father, we are guilty of neglecting regular time with You—regular worship—whether individually or as a family unit. Give us a new heart, a new mindset, and lead us to reestablish regular times of worship and devotion with You. Help us to be intentional and consistent. Invigorate our faith so we may live out true religion through Your presence in us. Amen.
More Prayer Suggestions
Thanks and Praise: Give thanks for specific blessings and praise God for His goodness.
Confession: Take a few minutes for private confession and thank God for His forgiveness.
Guidance: Ask God to grant wisdom for current challenges and decisions.
Our Church: Pray for regional and world church needs (see separate sheet with requests).
Local Requests: Pray for current needs of church members, family, and neighbors.
Listen and Respond: Take time to listen for God’s voice and respond in praise or song.
SDA Hymnal: Come, Holy Spirit (#269); Nothing Between (#322); Trust and Obey (#500)
Other Songs: I Have Decided to Follow Jesus; I Shall Not Be Moved
Published by the General Conference Ministerial Association
Daily Readings by Pr. Dwain Esmond