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Author Topic: Praying at the altar  (Read 12041 times)

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keys2heaven

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Praying at the altar
« on: January 24, 2007, 12:39:49 PM »

To all:

I still attend a Nazarene church, although I have been wrestling in my mind about withdrawing my membership. However, leaving the church is not the topic of this question. During our services, we often have a spot for an altar call (a time of prayer before God). Personally, I've never liked the altar call. Many find it humbling going before the congregation and submitting themselves to God when they ask for prayer. I, however, find it a bit too much like airing your laundry and very uncomfortable. Even though most don't know why you are up front, they know that it must be "bad". Then you end up getting asked questions about why you went to the altar.

So, does Ray have any teachings about this? I'd like to know if this is scriptural or ritual. And, if it is scriptural, does it mean I have too much pride because I don't want to go down to the altar? Why do I have to go down to an altar. You know, sometimes I like to talk to God just driving around town.

Peace,

Mike
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PKnowler

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Re: Praying at the altar
« Reply #1 on: January 24, 2007, 12:53:35 PM »

I don't know what Ray has to say about it but I wanted to give you my thoughts. There was a time when I loved going to the altar at church. I spent a lot of time there broken and seeking direction. I knew I could receive prayer there from my brothers and sisters in the Lord as well as just come before God on my own. I believe the spiritual significance of the altar was all in my mind. I perceived it as symbolically Holy and therefore it felt Holy.

I know I can worship and talk to God anywhere but sometimes I want to go to the altar (in my mind) or sit at His feet (in my mind), or fall on the Rock that is higher than I (in my mind). I no longer have to be in Church to do these things. Praise God!

That's my 2cents

Blessings, Paula  :)
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Dennis Vogel

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Re: Praying at the altar
« Reply #2 on: January 24, 2007, 01:41:32 PM »

This (homepage) email is in the spirit of your question, but does not address your question directly. It's titled "NOTHING Physical Saves Spiritually!" 

http://bible-truths.com/email6.htm#nothing

Dennis
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longhorn

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Re: Praying at the altar
« Reply #3 on: January 24, 2007, 03:16:30 PM »

I go to the "Altar" of the flesh once a day, twice after chilli with beans.

Longhorn
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brothertoall

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Re: Praying at the altar
« Reply #4 on: January 24, 2007, 04:46:06 PM »

What a great question or thought this is. I too realize now that it was more of a pride thing and also I felt I would be closer to God if I went down front with about a 100 or so people watching you do this.

 I too would wonder what is going on with the person that is going down there and what it was they did or did not do. I never asked anyone but I would still wonder what it was that caused them to go to the alter.

 Now I was in churches that when a lost or someone being drawn by the Lord, went down to the alter the preacher and 3 or 4 of his cronies would pray over this person and I never saw them explain the gospel to them.

 I will tell you my first expierience at the alter. The Lord was dragging me and it came time for the alter "call". I went down front and on that particular morning there were like 3 or 4 other preachers visiting that sunday. Well I no sooner fell to my knees and the preacher and 4 other preachers surrounded me and all I could hear for the whole 10 minutes I was down there was:

" Oh Lord",chiberish,chiberish,chiberish."Oh Lord",chiberish,chiberish,chiberish. To this day I can not remeber one thing they all said as they prayed over me. This I did know that I felt excited and knew my life was going to be different. The thing about it was that not one of those preachers told me how to accept the Lord but instead it was just a bunch of praying and very loud I might add.

 This bothered me because I would think I did not say the 10 second prayer and I constantly wondered if I was really what they call saved.

 Well to make a long story short this is where I am at now here at the forum and when I look back and remember that particular sunday I never imagined that God would bring me to the realization that He will save all and all those things I did were nothing.

 Thank you Father that you revealed your love to me and your truth through Christ by using Ray and this computer that is in an office that measures about 8' X 15' and it was just YOU and me.

bobby
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brothertoall

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Re: Praying at the altar
« Reply #5 on: January 24, 2007, 04:47:11 PM »

OH!!!

Longhorn you are a nut!! ;D ;D ;D ;D

bobby
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keys2heaven

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Re: Praying at the altar
« Reply #6 on: January 24, 2007, 06:16:49 PM »

Hey, thanks for the replies. But, just to clarify, I sometimes wonder if I am being prideful for NOT going down to the altar. Am I not humbling myself? Since attending our current church, I've been to the altar a handful of times. Most of the time its to pray with someone else (that I usually knew what was happening with that person and I kep quiet about it when praying). However, there have been a couple of times when I went down to pray and knew nothing about the person before going down but probably knew more than I should have afterwards (someone who knew about the situation was praying out loud for everyone to hear). That was the part I didn't like. I figure that if I were to know that God would have had me talk to that person one on one. That and there were times where I felt like you Bobby, wondering how the person got anything out of the altar call because it was so noisy! How could anyone concentrate?!?

Yes, there have been "shows" where people wanted to be noticed that they are in need of prayer or that they are praying over someone. But I found this to be more true when I was attending a pentecostal church than our current church.

I figured that this was some ritualistic, corporate setting "warm fuzzy" thing. I know that there are many needs, but wonder if allocating 5 minutes out of 1 hour service to pray in front of everyone is the way to do it!
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rrammfcitktturjsp

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Re: Praying at the altar
« Reply #7 on: January 24, 2007, 06:19:55 PM »

keys2heaven,

  I feel like I was different than those who have responded from what I can read thus far.  I hated with a purple passion alter call.  It always convienently fell before the tithing.  So after the preacher would take about 45 minutes with his 3 point sermon not counting all the dang tangents that had nothing to do with what he was preaching.  We would go into alter call.  I believe that our church had people chosen everyweek to do down to the alter just to get the rest of us to do it.

  I always brought my mathematics college work and pulled it out during this part of the service, if I had not already done so during the sermon.  The alter call would be a pitch to tithe as well.  This nonsense could go on for about 10-15 minutes or even longer.

  It got to be so bad, that I would come for the music and as soon as the preacher took the pulpit I was gone looking for the nearest strawberry daquirri to wash down the memories of that horrible experience.

  I am glad that I do not have to deal with alter call.  I would always feel so far away from the Lord at these times during the church.  Never once in the bible did I see Jesus selling himself as preachers across this nation do in alter call.  No wonder so many are scared away.

  I hope that I did not rant and rave, but I am glad that I finally posted this.

  Another reason why bible truths is so liberating.  As long as Ray does not call for an alter call, I think and know that I will be okay.   ;D

  Sincerely,



  Anne C. McGuire
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rrammfcitktturjsp

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Re: Praying at the altar
« Reply #8 on: January 24, 2007, 06:24:47 PM »

To All,

  I just remembered this.  Going to pray down at the alter echoes of a paganistic practice.  Have you ever heard of knocking on wood?  Same principle.  My advice is to pray to God from where you are or better yet to go into a secret and quiet place and pray to him there.

  Churches know what they are doing when they employ this practice and like to play on emotions.  I have been through the gamut of denominations and they all derive their religious practices from one source whether they wish to acknolwedge it or not, The Roman Catholic Church.  And the RCC gets their stuff mainly through paganism as well as perverted Judiasm.

  I love Ray becuase in learning the truth, I can have a pure and holy relationship with my God and his Son.  I can love others of the similar thinkings and stuff like that.  I do know why I feel so strongly about the Churches today, is becuase I was a victim to their head games and the heartache and the emptiness of knowing that it was not enough and that there was always more.

  My advice, is to be careful.  Really search your motives and your desires for wanting to do something.  Use God's Word as the standard and you will be surprised how much you see.

  Best of luck.

  Sincerely,



  Anne C. McGuire
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gmik

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Re: Praying at the altar
« Reply #9 on: January 24, 2007, 08:50:27 PM »

Anne, boy do I remember those "danged tangents"  aaarrrrggggghhhh!!!!

Josh, I was in the Assemblies for about 12 years and 2 of my kids went to a church of God college in Tenn.  Talk about ritualistic- "the ALTAR CALL"  tHEY treated it so sacred.  I always felt I could pray where I was and would never go forward.  One time when our son was about 10, he came into the sancturary to sit with us for some reason.  When they had the altar call, for some reason he jumped out of his seat and went forward..He told the preacher he didn't know why he came down, so the preacher prayed over him for the "baptism of the Holy Spirit"  He  lifted my son's arms up and as Bobby put it "gibberish gibberish".  OOHH, but wasn't I pleased!!!!!  Well, my son, to this day (he's 26) doesn't know why he went up, and we laugh about the other stuff.  Such pomp and show!

I love the getting rid of the physical and "stripping down" to the spirit between me & Jesus.

gena :)

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brothertoall

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Re: Praying at the altar
« Reply #10 on: January 25, 2007, 09:09:06 AM »

Keys2,

 That is interesting that you said if Some did not go down front that they were being prideful. There is some truth to that but then again I can remember thinking that those that did not go down were looked down upon also.

 Some may have been thinking I do not need to go down there to talk to God. The scripture states that if we pray in secret then we will be rewarded openly.

 I can see this alter call thing as nothing but finger pointing,putting on a show for all to see.

 I went to a mega church and left several months before God revealed the truth to me. Now this church did not want to offend anyone so they or the preacher, were what you call politically correct. They did not mention the word hell or spoke of God's judgement and everything was just peachy. We would sing a few contemperary christian songs with a full mini orchestra, then they would pass the plate speaking of the building fund to build a new church plus adding on to the already exsisitng building and not to mention a summer camp for the youth and so on. Then the sermon which I got nothing out of but a feel good feeling for sunday and come monday it was no different. Then the alter call. Many would go down to the front and there was no praying there but they did lead them out the side door like cattle to a room and Lord knows what happened in there. Of course they were on a schedule of 45 minute services with 4 of them every sunday.

 In the smaller churches I attended many years ago the alter call was usually noisey and they would drag this on for up to a half hour sometimes. Now that I look back I think maybe the preacher was just adding another notch in his belt.You know " Hey Lord look I just won another soul for you".

bobby
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rrammfcitktturjsp

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Re: Praying at the altar
« Reply #11 on: January 25, 2007, 12:14:15 PM »

Bobby,

  I am so glad that I was not the only one who expereinced the alter call like I have.  Thanks for sharing. ;D :) ;D

  Sincerely,



  Anne C. McGuire
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keys2heaven

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Re: Praying at the altar
« Reply #12 on: January 25, 2007, 12:37:50 PM »

I can remember thinking that those that did not go down were looked down upon also.

I can't tell you how many times this has happened. Even my wife (whom I love with all of my heart) would try and prod me to go down to the altar if there was an issue I was struggliing with. I remember not going and having to hear later on how I should have gone and soforth. I tried to convey how uncomfortable it made me feel, but always ended up feeling that I did something wrong or that God was displeased with me because I didn't go.

I heard so many times that we need to "step out in faith" and come to an altar to humble ourselves before God. Same thing with tithing, you need to "step out in faith" and give that 10% from your paycheck so the Lord can bless you (oh, and it has to be your gross, because you want God to bless your gross pay and not your net pay). It doesn't matter if you can pay your bills or buy groceries, you need to have faith. Then they would go on to say how it would be given back to you, pressed down, shaken together...yada, yada, yada. The message I got from all of this is unless you do what WE tell you to do (not God) then you have little or NO faith and, therefore, God could not answer your prayers. Why oh why must mankind screw up all that God intended?!?
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keys2heaven

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Re: Praying at the altar
« Reply #13 on: January 25, 2007, 12:39:40 PM »

Also, I don't want to come across as bitter. But, I feel cheated knowing that I have spent so much time in the "traditions of men" when I could have really been serving God as He intended.
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dogcombat

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Re: Praying at the altar
« Reply #14 on: January 25, 2007, 12:40:12 PM »

My experience came at a "revival meeting" held at a Church Of Christ.  My brother and I were told to go down to the alter by one of the ushers, while the sermon was being preached.  I don't remember what the sermon was about, and now I think it probably wasn't worth remembering.
I recall being confused at being told where to go by the preacher to some area of the tent they were in.  My brother and mother were also there.  Brother was "baptized" in the pool at the church and was suddenly a member of that church.

I don't know what took place that caused brother to no longer attend that church.  But mom NEVER wanted anything more to do with that place.  Mom was a heavy "church goer" at the time.
Looking back now, I thank the Lord that he gave me the opportunity to see the smoke and mirrors that befall many who are, in the words of the Johnny Lee song "Looking for love in ALL THE WRONG PLACES..."

Ches
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brothertoall

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Re: Praying at the altar
« Reply #15 on: January 25, 2007, 01:25:56 PM »

Keys2,

 Yes how utterly disturbing it is but God did and will be taking you down the path He wants us to go and then has brought you and I and most everyone here to where we are all now. We truly have been born again to make a fresh start with God leading and guiding us through it all.

 How truly blessed we really are. How merciful He truly is.

 This is not an easy journey and He told us it would not be, but those early years can not compare to what we have now.It was all part of God's plan for our lives.

bobby
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SandyFla

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Re: Praying at the altar
« Reply #16 on: January 25, 2007, 04:16:52 PM »

While growing up, I heard countless "hellfire & brimstone" sermons, followed inevitably by an altar call. As a kid, I was terrified, so I'd go to the altar. I felt like God was drawing me. But when I got up there, it was like God turned His back and my prayers went no higher than the ceiling. It felt like I had to BEG & PLEAD with God to forgive my sins and "come into my heart." I always wondered why God was so fickle. People would tell me that is just Satan trying to stop me from getting saved.

The reason we were to come to an altar to pray, rather than pray in private at home, they said, was because we are to acknowledge God publicly. If we are too proud to do that, Jesus will not acknowlege us publicly before His Father:

"Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven" (Matthew 10:32-33).

It was all part of "confessing your faults to one another" (James 5:16).

Funny ... I felt holy when I got up, but I was just as sinful by the time I got home. No real change of heart. Just a temporary "feel-good" fix.

Sandy
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