This month’s prayer tip will require time to process each step. Try not to rush through the steps and allow God to reveal His truth to you. We suggest that you print this monthly prayer tip and allow the Holy Spirit to work on each portion of the prayer in your life or visit our website to continue with each step of this prayer.
Exodus 20:24-26 ‘Make an altar of earth for me and sacrifice on it your burnt offerings and fellowship offerings, your sheep and goats and your cattle. Wherever I cause my name to be honored, I will come to you and bless you. If you make an altar of stones for me, do not build it with dressed stones, for you will defile it if you use a tool on it. And do not go up to my altar on steps, lest your nakedness be exposed on it.’
We are always building or rebuilding something. Whether it is a new relationship, a marriage, a ministry, a new job, our lives, or godly children.
God has given specific instructions in His word on how we should build “…Wherever I cause my name to be honored, I will come to you and bless you. If you make an altar of stones for me, do not build it with dressed stones, for you will defile it if you use a tool on it. And do not go up to my altar on steps, lest your nakedness be exposed on it.”
God has provided each stone that we need to build our relationships, our ministry or any other building project that we are undertaking. He gives us these simple instructions “do not build it with dressed stones for you will defile it if you use a tool on it” Many times we try to make things better for God so we add more than He has instructed or required of us. Or, we say “God told me to do such and such” when in fact our own flesh got involved and we defiled the building project with man made tools. These tools could be our words, our actions, or any attempt to “help God out” with what He has already promised to do.
In addition to defiling the God’s work with tools, as we build and see God blessing the work pride begins to creep in slowly and we elevate ourselves over God. Ultimately, we then attempt to take credit for the work that God did. We may give the religious answer like “Praise God” or “To God be all the glory” but deep inside our heart attitude says “I did good”.
Step 1 – Take some time to pray this simple prayer and allow the Holy Spirit to reveal His truth to you over the next few days before proceeding to Step 2
“Dear Lord, please show me where I may have used my hands, my mouth, or my feet to defile the stones that you have given me to build ________. I humbly ask for your forgiveness and I commit myself to removing all that I have defiled. In Jesus Name. Amen”
Let’s look at some examples in scripture of famous building projects. Remember Solomon’s temple and palace? The grandeur of it? Here’s what happened… 1 Kings 6:36 “And he built the inner courtyard of three courses of dressed stone and one course of trimmed cedar beams” The temple took 7 years to be completed.
1 Kings 7:9 “All these structures, from the outside to the great courtyard and from foundation to eaves, were made of blocks of high-grade stone cut to size and trimmed with a saw on their inner and outer faces.” Solomon’s palace took 13 years to be completed. Let us not forget the harsh labor that he put the people under to get this grandeur. I’m sure you know what happened to the temple.
This does not mean that we should not aim to give excellence to the Lord. We should. The point is that we should always search our hearts and our motives as we build anything in the Lord’s name. We have to be careful that we are not doing the work to impress others. “And do not go up to my altar on steps, lest your nakedness be exposed on it.”
Step 2 – Take some time to pray this simple prayer and allow the Holy Spirit to reveal His truth to you over the next few days before proceeding to Step 3
“Lord, forgive me if I have elevated myself above You in my relationships with others, or the ministry that You have entrusted to me. Forgive me for my pride and teach me how to walk the path of humility. Lord, I must decrease so You can increase in my life. May everything that I say and do point to You. Glorify Yourself in my life. In Jesus Name. Amen”
Approximately 70 years after Solomon’s temple was destroyed and the Jews came out of the Babylonian captivity, the Lord commanded the temple to be rebuilt. Here’s what happened…
Haggai 2:3-9 ‘Who of you is left who saw this house in its former glory? How does it look to you now? Does it not seem to you like nothing? But now be strong, O Zerubbabel,’ declares the LORD. ‘Be strong, O Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest. Be strong, all you people of the land,’ declares the LORD, ‘and work. For I am with you,’ declares the LORD Almighty. ‘This is what I covenanted with you when you came out of Egypt. And my Spirit remains among you. Do not fear.’ “This is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘In a little while I will once more shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land. 7 I will shake all nations, and the desired of all nations will come, and I will fill this house with glory,’ says the LORD Almighty. ‘The silver is mine and the gold is mine,’ declares the LORD Almighty. ‘The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house,’ says the LORD Almighty. ‘And in this place I will grant peace,’ declares the LORD Almighty.”
Those who were there to see Solomon’s temple were grieved because this new temple looked worse in their eyes. God now tells them that the silver and gold are His and if He wants the temple to look better than Solomon’s temple He can do it. He then tells them the best news of all ‘The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house,’ says the LORD Almighty. ‘And in this place I will grant peace,’ declares the LORD Almighty.”
Our goal is to glorify the Lord so we should be excited where the Lord is glorified even if the onlookers don’t understand. Don’t compare yourself to others. Our aim should be to please God and not man.
He goes on to warn them further…
Haggai 2:11-19 “This is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘Ask the priests what the law says: 12 If a person carries consecrated meat in the fold of his garment, and that fold touches some bread or stew, some wine, oil or other food, does it become consecrated?’ ” The priests answered, “No.” 13 Then Haggai said, “If a person defiled by contact with a dead body touches one of these things, does it become defiled?” “Yes,” the priests replied, “it becomes defiled.” 14 Then Haggai said, ” ‘So it is with this people and this nation in my sight,’ declares the LORD. ‘Whatever they do and whatever they offer there is defiled. 15 ” ‘Now give careful thought to this from this day on —consider how things were before one stone was laid on another in the LORD’s temple. 16 When anyone came to a heap of twenty measures, there were only ten. When anyone went to a wine vat to draw fifty measures, there were only twenty. 17 I struck all the work of your hands with blight, mildew and hail, yet you did not turn to me,’ declares the LORD. 18 ‘From this day on, from this twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, give careful thought to the day when the foundation of the LORD’s temple was laid. Give careful thought: 19 Is there yet any seed left in the barn? Until now, the vine and the fig tree, the pomegranate and the olive tree have not borne fruit. ” ‘From this day on I will bless you.’ “
Have you embarked on a building or rebuilding project and it seems to be heading nowhere? Maybe you lost your way and you need to go back and take a look to see if there is any defilement in what you’ve been doing. Perhaps you didn’t get the results you were hoping for? Don’t continue trying to fit the square peg in the round hole. Go back to God and ask Him to show you where you went wrong and He will help you fix it.
Step 3 – Take some time to pray this simple prayer and allow the Holy Spirit to reveal His truth to you over the next few days before proceeding to Step 4
“Dear Lord, Forgive me for comparing myself to others. Rid me of a competitive spirit. Cause me to be content with who you have created me to be and with what you have given me to build. I know that wherever You cause Your name to be honored You will come and bless it. My greatest desire is to bring glory to you in my life. Help me to always consider each stone that I am laying on the foundation that you have given me. In Jesus Name. Amen”
Given the word from the Lord to Haggai. Here is what happened among the people involved.
Ezra 3:10-13 “When the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the LORD, the priests in their vestments and with trumpets, and the Levites (the sons of Asaph) with cymbals, took their places to praise the LORD, as prescribed by David king of Israel. 11 With praise and thanksgiving they sang to the LORD : “He is good; his love to Israel endures forever.” And all the people gave a great shout of praise to the LORD, because the foundation of the house of the LORD was laid. 12 But many of the older priests and Levites and family heads, who had seen the former temple, wept aloud when they saw the foundation of this temple being laid, while many others shouted for joy. 13 No one could distinguish the sound of the shouts of joy from the sound of weeping, because the people made so much noise. And the sound was heard far away.”
There will always be people with a critical spirit that will criticize the work that you are doing for the Lord. Or they give compliments and suggestions that send you in the wrong direction. We see it in churches all across America “You should do television ministry” or “I am moving to North Carolina because Prophet so and so told me to so” If the Lord did not call you into television ministry…you shouldn’t be doing it. While the gift of prophecy is used to encourage others, this should not supercede and/or send a different message from what God is speaking directly to you. The gift should be used to confirm what you already know to be true. You will achieve excellence in the areas that God ordained for you!
We should listen to wise counsel but this needs to be weighed with what the Lord told you personally in prayer and what He has revealed to you through His word. A clear indication that you are heading in the wrong direction would be a lack of peace ‘And in this place I will grant peace,’ declares the LORD Almighty.” If you tried one way and it didn’t work and you tried another way and it doesn’t work and the situation is surrounded by unrest, chaos and confusion this would be a clear sign that you missed God somewhere along the road and you should go back to Him for clarity.
1 Corinthians 3:11-13 “For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work”.
Psalm 127:1 “Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain.”
Here’s a closing prayer for you “Lord, thank you that You said that wherever You chose to honor Your name you will come and bless that place. Thank You that when You call me to take on a building or a rebuilding project no tools are required. I can trust you as the chief cornerstone. It starts with You and it ends with You. Help me to discern when I have defiled the perfection that You gave to me. Show me dressed stones that I have laid because of my flesh that I need to remove. I know that unless You build the house I am laboring in vain. I also know that You will put fire to all that I have built in that Day. Open my heart and show me where I have gone astray. I love you Lord and I glorify You in all that I do. May I decrease as You increase. In Jesus Name. Amen”