In the Old Testament there is a piece of furniture referred to as the bronze altar. On it were four bronze “horns.” (Ezek. 43:15). It seems that all worshipers had access to the altar and fugitives seeking asylum might cling to the horns of the altar (Exodus 21:13-14).
The verse above come from a time where rightful King of Israel was Solomon. But one of his brothers Adonijah got it in his mind that he was to be King. Once David found out he proclaims Solomon as King and Adonijah was afraid that Solomon might kill him. His immediate reaction was to run the place of worship and grab the horns of the altar and ask for mercy. He received it that day.
The altar has two meanings: the first meaning was that the altar symbolized the cross of Christ (Heb 13:10) and the second is that the altar symbolized fiery prayer (Lev. 6:13). One man said that, “Altars were places where the divine and human worlds interacted. Altars were places of exchange, communication, and influence. God responded actively to altar activity.”
Simply put, when we use the term “grab hold of the horns of the altar” that means we go to God with all of our hearts and cry out for mercy based on the result of what Jesus did when he died on the cross. We plead our need before God until we receive it! How we in this day need to learn how to grab hold of that horns of the altar of prayer! This is the place where God interacts with people on the basis of what Jesus has done not their misguided efforts. God the Father receives, shows favor and grants access to that praying person as he would his own Son Jesus into the throne room (Heb 4:16). A person grabs the horns of the altar he consciously mentally and spiritually grabs hold of the sacrifice of Christ! He or she says “Heavenly Father because of Jesus and what he did on the cross I need you to answer my prayer.” That is why we always in Jesus’ name.
I realize that among many of my denominational brethren loathe the altar call and think that those who practice it have replaced it with true salvation. Not so. If anyone wants the reality of salvation seen among them it is the people who love truth. Jesus Christ is the altar. He is the mercy seat. He is the high priest. He is the slain Lamb. He is the tabernacle of God. Jesus is everything. The altar call is not to come to a certain part of the church that is holy. It is not a forward motion or kneeling up front that is holy. But what is holy is the act of faith in prayer. The altar call is a time of prayer. It is a time when we call for people to respond to the gospel. Where people can come and be prayed for as they lay hold of God for healing, deliverance and the baptism of the Holy Spirit. No one prays to be seen by man but public or private, the right kind of prayer is where people do business with God! Grabbing the horns of the altar is where a transaction that takes place between heaven and earth! God and his sons and daughters commune together in sweet fellowship.
The Christian want to pray so somehow they are sedated or they just feel better or perform some religious exercise that is like therapy rather than communicating with God! But rather they want to grab the horns of the altar! They offer the kind of prayer that gets an answer from God. They seek to pray in the Spirit! To have prayers ignited by the Spirit. The Bible says, “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much! (James 5:16). James says that the person who gets an answer to prayer has a sense of urgency. Their prayer has the intensity of a cry for help. That is why a person who grabs hold on the horns of the altar does it energetically. The prayer they speak is from the heart and it is red hot, it burns like the unyielding fire on the bronze altar. It is heated by the fire of the Holy Spirit upon the altar of the heart not manufactured by emotion. James says that this produces powerful results. It accomplishes MUCH. Whether in private or in public when we come to the altar of prayer we lay hold upon the God of Jacob and will not let go until we get a blessing. We go to the altar for our lost loved ones. We fear that they will die and go to hell and we beseech the God of heaven as we grab the horns of the altar until they are saved. We see the sick the diseased healed as we grab a hold of the horns of the altar. The kind of prayer is grabbing hold of the horns of the altar!
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