Building Prayer Altars

Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen and called its name Ebenezer; for he said, “Till now the LORD has helped us.” So the Philistines were subdued and did not again enter the territory of Israel. And the hand of the LORD was against the Philistines all the days of Samuel—I Samuel 7:12-13


In I Samuel 7, Samuel was leading the people of God in a sacrifice, in confession, in prayer, and fasting, when the Philistines tried to make a surprise attack and overcome them. The people of God were frightened but God fought against the Philistines and in a panic they ran away. As Samuel offered the burnt offering, the Philistines came to attack. But look what is recorded in I Samuel 7;

“As Samuel was offering up the burnt offering, the Philistines drew near to attack Israel. But the LORD thundered with a mighty sound that day against the Philistines and threw them into confusion, and they were routed before Israel. And the men of Israel went out from Mizpah and pursued the Philistines and struck them, as far as below Beth-car.” (I Samuel 7:10, 11)

I encourage you to read the entire seventh chapter of I Samuel. It’s a powerful text for praying and remembering the power, presence and help of God as He comes and will come to rescue His people from enemies that come to overtake them!

What battles are you fighting right now? What people or powers or circumstances have you trembling in fear? How has Satan tried to ambush you with a surprise attack against your life or your family? Have you invited God into the situation? Have you asked him to come and fight the battle for you? Have you fasted and confessed? Have you taken a prayer stance?

This passage encourages us in two ways:

  • First, God will come and He will fight valiantly on our behalf!
  • Second, God will fill us with courage and we will be able to fight also! The Israelites might have stated out trembling but when the LORD showed up He filled them with so much courage they raised up and pursued their enemy so far down the enemy never returned to bother them again!

We can all look in the mirror today and ask ourselves; what are you shaking for? Why are you allowing a defeated and impotent enemy to frighten you with this thing? Let God enter in and fight! Let us be filled with courage to pursue this enemy until he has also run off into the wilderness!

In Grateful Response

The Israelites were so grateful to Gd they asked Samuel to build an altar for them. So Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen and called its name Ebenezer, saying “Till now God has helped us” (7:12)

After God has brought victory in our lives or whenever we enter a new time and season it’s a good time to remember what God has done in our lives till now. As we reflect on God’s goodness to us we are also strengthened and encouraged knowing He will be with us in the unknown days ahead and keep on fighting our battles against enemy forces no matter who or what they are.

What battle has God fought and won for you? Already He has fought against sin, death and the devil by sending Jesus Christ! Jesus crushed Satan and his plans to destroy us by dying on the cross of Calvary. Consequently, every believer has this assurance in his or her life no matter how the devil comes against them, no matter what destruction he tries to bring, regardless of the chaos he stirs up.


Here is a prayer project for you and your family to undertake.

  • Find a good spot in your home: a flat surface is preferable.
  • Gather up rocks you find around your house or purchase a bag of large River Rocks which can be found in any craft store.
  • Set up your own Ebenezer. Begin with three stones which will represent the battle God has fought and won against sin, death and the devil.
  • Next add a stone for the battles you can remember God fighting till now. Arrange the stone any way you like. Name each one.
  • Every time you pass your Ebenezer you will remember God’s presence, power and love for you! As often as you are led, pause and say a prayer of thanksgiving to God for all He has done and all he does in your and your family’s life!

Note: While you want to put the stones out of the reach of very small children, older children will appreciate the meaning of this stone altar and may want to add their own stones to it. This also serves as a great lesson to children that prayer can be more than kneeling beside our beds or spoken on bended knee. Prayer can be walking, talking and very visual!

Lord Jesus,

I remember the battle you fought on the cross and won for us against Satan and the forces of evil. Even now You come and fight every enemy who fights against us! And now the gates of hell cannot prevail against us! Thank You for Your help in battle, whether against physical foes, systems, or the forces of evil! Today I am reminded of Your great power and provision, but especially of how much You love your creation and will help us! I confess my sin of self-dependence and self-reliance. All too often I forget to call on Your powerful name and invite You into my problems and battles. I take off on my own, I wish, I hope, I imagine, and approach the enemy with my handmade weapons and I am sent scurrying back into my corner, defeated, confused, and afraid. But today, I come in confession, fasting from my own independence and rededicating myself and my life to You, my King and Victor! Today I place my Ebenezer in thankfulness and praise for the battles You have fought and won on my behalf and those You will fight and win presently and in the future! Jesus, take this battle away from me presently… and Receive my thankfulness and praise for those You have already secured in my, and my family’s life……

I pray for                      who is also under attack and ask You to come into their situation with Your power and might. run their enemies so far away they will not return. Help them to see Your mighty hand at work in their lives so they too can raise their Ebenezer when the victory has been won! In Jesus’ name. Amen.


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