The conviction body slammed me. Everywhere that Abraham went, he built an altar to God (Genesis 12:7-8; 13:4; 13:18; 22:9). So … where’s my altar?
I know, it is not exactly the same, but there’s an underlying principle: where do I regularly go to offer myself to God and invite Him to take control of my life, my family, and my influence?
So I’ve decided to have a family altar. For years, when my kids were still home, the family altar was tuck-in-time. We would read a Bible story, share prayers, and have a good night kiss. But there is not a set place anymore with our kids grown and gone. So I decided to do two things.
First, designate me a place in the den where we already had some things set aside for the Lord and designate that as my “altar” — a place to go when I wanted to consciously offer myself to God and wait on His presence. I have a couple of devotional books and a small sign that says what this space means to me. It is a place to pray and read and intentionally be in the presence of the Lord.
Second, I wanted to have a way to take my altar with me when I traveled. So I came up with a couple of ideas, one of which I chose, but I think you could choose either of them:
- Put together a small bag or box to take on trips as the family altar. While I know most of us don’t want another thing to travel, if you have kids, you know you are going have a bunch of stuff to lug around, so why not one that reminds you and your family of allegiance to the Lord? You can have small Bible, Bible story book, pictures, and a small notepad where you record prayer requests. You may want to add other things. You may even want to add a small rock, leaf, picture, or some other momento to remind you of places you’ve been.
- Use your mobile device or laptop to be your family altar — notice the screenshots from an Android device, iPad, and computer for the program mentioned in the next sentence. There is a wonderful, free, app available for most mobile devices and computers called Evernote. It allows you to created separate notebooks where you collect things — voice recordings, pictures, notes, webpages, articles, devotionals, and other things. I love this app for so many other things, but it dawned on me that this was the perfect tool for my 2:00 prayer time each day when I pray a special prayer of blessing on people all around the world. So this is now my portable altar. I have a few Scriptures in this digital notebook, pictures of several of the people I pray for, Passion for Praise excerpts, an article or two, and will soon add some voice recordings of prayers some of my international students and grandkids have prayed.
I know none of this is revolutionary, but I hope it is helpful. If you have other ideas about a family altar or a traveling altar that blesses you, I’d love to hear about it!
Finally, the place of conviction for me is Romans 12:1-2:
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Of course we all know the problem of being a living sacrifice is that the sacrifice keeps crawling off the altar. So, I’m committing to spend more time offering myself at one of my family “altars” in hopes of keeping my heart in the right place with God — holy and pleasing to God!