Nehemiah 10:34 snagged me.
The NIV reads, “We—the priests, the Levites and the people—have cast lots to determine when each of our families is to bring to the house of our God at set times each year a contribution of wood to burn on the altar of the Lord our God, as it is written in the Law.”
What? A wood offering?
In both Old and New Testaments, the fire on the altar in the Tabernacle, or Temple, was to burn continuously (Lev. 6:12-13) to remind the Israelites of their need for continuous worship, atonement, and reconciliation.
But there was another more important reason.
God had supplied the fire Himself (Lev 9:24).
The Israelites were responsible to keep it burning.
Fast-forward to after the resurrection. The Holy Spirit’s presence marks every believer. The Book of Acts shows Him manifesting at Pentecost as tongues of, you guessed it, fire, one that 1 Thessalonians 5:19 warns us not to quench.
As I prayed about this, God pointed me to worship. The Israelites offered whole animals to be burnt on the altar. In Romans, Paul tells us we are to be living sacrifices—and what better fuel for a living sacrifice than worship.
If you’ve never practiced a personal time of worship, I’ll warn you, once you start, you’ll never want to stop. Here are five things to keep in mind.
1. Privacy: Create a secret place. A place where you or your child can close the door and not be interrupted. If that means you need to get out of the house and walk, do it. Help your kids find their own personal space where they can pursue God.
2. Props: What ushers you into God’s presence?
- Music: Create a worship playlist.
- Nature: Choose a spot where you can see outdoors or find a scene or something specific from creation.
- Art: Find a piece of art that points to God. (Example: Guardian angel)
- Poetry: Find a piece of poetry or literature that points to God. (Ex.: “Pied Beauty” by Gerard Manley Hopkins; “Praying” by Mary Oliver; “I Thank You God” by E. E. Cummings)
- Use Scripture as a focal point by using the author’s text for your worship material. Psalm 19 perhaps?
- Imagination: Meet Jesus at your favorite place.
3. Posture: What your body does affects your spirit.
- Lie face down on the floor.
- Raise your hands.
4. Proclamation: Speak out. Journal. Record His response.
- Tell of God’s greatness.
- Speak of God’s goodness.
- Remember God’s goodness to you personally.
- Thank Him.
5. Presence: He’s there whether you sense Him or not.
- “. . . because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’” Hebrews 13:5
- “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:20
- “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth.” John 14:16
He is Emmanuel, God with us. Keep the altar fire burning as you worship Him.
1. Fix up your child’s (and your own) secret place: A good place to sit, a good light source, materials, water)
2. What props do you need? Perhaps something different for each day of the week.
3. Experiment with posture. How does each affect you?
4. Take time as a family for personal worship, then report back as a group. How did each family member approach worship and what did they learn?
For more ideas, check out my Pinterest Worship Board.