Prayer To Present My Life As A Living Sacrifice
Christ’s Sacrifice and Prayer Times
The Apostles and the believers of the early church set the third (9:00 a.m.) and the ninth (3:00 p.m.) hour as the times for prayer, and they prayed to God every day at these times.
These hours were not randomly chosen, nor are they coincidental.
The third and ninth hour are the times when Jesus—the reality of all the sacrificial offerings in the Old Testament – was crucified and finally passed away.
Jesus was put on the cross at 9:00 a.m. and He passed away at 3:00 p.m. The disciples kept these hours as the time for prayer every day.
The prayer times kept by the disciples in the New Testament are related to the regular burnt offerings that were offered daily in the morning and in the evening.
God established the heavenly sanctuary as a place to offer sacrifices for the forgiveness of sins; to save all mankind.
And after He showed the heavenly sanctuary to Moses and made him build the shadow; the sanctuary on earth, and ordered him to offer the sacrifices according to His laws (Hebrews 8:5).
The Regular Burnt Offering of the Old Testament
According to God’s command, not only did His people offer sacrifices in the sanctuary to repent of their sins, but also, other sacrificial rituals took place there.
Obviously, all sacrificial rituals were the model of the true sacrifice that would be accomplished in the heavenly sanctuary through Christ (Hebrews 10:1-10).
One of the sacrifices offered in the Old Testament times was the regular burnt offering.
The regular burnt was offered daily in the morning and at twilight, this was done by presenting two male lambs in sacrifice alongside drink and grain offerings. These sacrifices were established as a prophecy of Christ, who is the true sacrifice.For this reason, Christ was put on the cross at the third hour (9:00 a.m.) and died at the ninth hour (3:00 p.m.).
Since Christ became the ultimate sacrifice, when we pray at the third and ninth hour, our prayers are conveyed to God along with the sacrifice
Ancient Time Keeping vs. Modern Time Keeping
The time system that was kept by Early Church used a different method than what we use today. Although today we are using the 24-hour system, the members of the early Church used a different calculation method for the daytime and the night time.
For the daytime, they used a 12-hour system and set hour zero at the time of the sunrise, and the twelfth hour at the time of sunset (Matthew 20:1-16).
The night was divided into the first to fourth watch, and a watch was made up to three hours (Matthew 14:25, Luke 12:38).
Since the time of sunrise and sunset is different according to the season, there is a time difference for the prayer times in the summer and winter season. For the summer season, the prayer time is at 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m., and for the winter season it is at 10:00 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. (1)
The Meaning of the Sacrifice At “Twilight”
Some individuals will have a question that could be a potential stumbling block. The command in Numbers and Exodus says to offer one daily lamb sacrifice at morning and the other a twilight.
Because twilight is generally known as the moment of time between day and night, some people would ask why is it that the afternoon prayer time is at 3:00 p.m. and not later when the sun is setting.
The fact is that in the original Hebrew text, the time of the second burnt offering was described as “towards twilight” or “between twilights.” So it wasn’t actually at twilight when the lamb was sacrificed, but the priest would sacrifice the second lamb of the daily sacrifices at 3:00 p.m.
, and it was left burning until twilight and cleaned up before nightfall. The priests conducted the first sacrifice at 9:00 am and leave it burning until 3:00 p.m., then they would sacrifice the second lamb and leave it burning until the end of the day.
This is why Jesus was crucified at 9:00 am and have His last breath at 3:00 p.m., fulfilling the sacrifice of the temple.
Prayer Times Should Be Kept Daily
By Levitical definition, the daily burnt offerings were known as the “perpetual sacrifice.” Perpetual means never ending. Since prayer is “breathing for the soul,” only those who keep the prayer times are the ones who are spiritually alive.
Today, the World Mission Society Church of God (WMSCOG) is the only the church that follows the daily prayer times. As the Levitical priests made so much effort to offer the daily burnt offerings to God, then how much more effort should we make to meet God through prayer? The value of prayer time cannot be compared.
Let us keep the daily prayer times remembering Christ’s sacrifice for our salvation.
Who benefits when we thank animals for their lives?
This post is a continuation of my series on vegan misconceptions and questions.
This week when we got back from our trip to the West Coast, weary from a day of travel, we pulled into the driveway, ready to unpack. A group of guys in a car were traveling down our road, stopped at the end of the driveway, and started screaming. They were yelling at the family of deer who were eating grass in our yard.
I’d admired how beautiful the deer were as we pulled in. There are many things I don’t about living in a small town, but having deer come and feast in my yard is one of the exceptions. Having my life intertwine with theirs is a blessing.
It took a second to register what the guys were saying, and when I did, my heart sunk.
“Bang! Bang!” they yelled. “I’m gonna shoot you! Bang! Bang!”
We live in a big hunting community, and it’s not unusual during hunting season to hear gunfire pretty regularly. I knew these guys weren’t making idle threats. They were making promises for the winter months.
That experience was still in my thoughts when I noticed that on my blog searches the next day, someone found my blog by searching for prayers to say at dinner-time for the animals who sacrificed their lives to be meat. This post is for them…
What I’m about to tell you is a story. It’s not true and it never happened. In this story there’s a guy named Bill. His neighbor has a house. It’s not flashy. It’s not a mansion. It’s just your everyday, normal house, but to the person who owns it, it’s the only one she has.
One night Bill gets cold. Winter is bearing down, and he’s chilly. He could put on a sweater or turn on his heater. He could cover up in blankets or take a hot shower.
But instead Bill goes to his neighbor’s house, strikes a match, lights the house on fire, watches it burn, and basks in the warmth. In the coziness of the heat emanating from the house, he feels fulfilled. His neighbor stands aghast as she watches her house burn from the safety of her yard.Bill turns to her and says, “Hey, thank you for providing me with warmth. Much appreciated.”
I tell you this totally made up story, because this is not so far off from when I hear questions this one…
“I know some people who pray over their meat before they eat it. Don’t you think it makes it better when people really appreciate the animal and give thanks to her for sacrificing her life?”
A thank you to some degree requires a gift or a free will offer. A thank you is for a present and a sacrifice is a selfless deed. I guarantee you, where meat is concerned, no such offer was made.
The lamb didn’t die pushing a small child the way from an oncoming bus… She didn’t sacrifice her body in the way that a person may choose to sacrifice a kidney for someone else or a parent sacrifices to put a child through school. For the lamb, there was zero choice in the matter. The so-called sacrifice was chosen for her.
There are some basics in all animal lives, both human and non-human, and one of those basics is the will to live. Especially when we are young and healthy, as most animals are when they are killed for food, staying alive would be the highest desire on the course of needs.
And really, who is it that feels better after saying a prayer of thanks?
It’s not the deer or the lamb. It’s not the chicken or the rabbit. It’s not the calf. It’s not the pig. They are long since gone. The one who feels better, the one who feels absolved, the one who maybe even feels generous that they thought of the animal at all is the person uttering the prayer.
So to me it feels a bit self-congratulatory or at least disingenuous to take someone’s life (or pay someone to) and then pat one’s self on the back by saying “thanks.”
If I was the chicken, or the calf, or the pig, and I spent my life stacked in a cage, hidden in a shed, or stuffed in a space where I couldn’t turn around, I wouldn’t feel relieved that someone said, “thank you” before tucking into a dinner of my leg.
Even if I’d lived a more idyllic life as, say, the deer roaming wild in my yard, trotting around with my pack, stopping for a nibble on the green hills, I wouldn’t think I was being done any favors if after my head was part trophy/part decoration on a wall and my body had been ground into sausage that this person who shot me said thanks after stealing my own life from me.
I feel sad for the guys screaming from their car, taking such joy in the thought of hurting someone. But obviously I feel more sad for the deer who will die for it.
Before we give thanks for the sacrifice or ritualize the gift that an animal made by giving her life, we need to be honest that we’re romanticizing it for our own gain. If the animals really had a say when it came to that sacrifice, the prayer they would have said would have been one for their own lives.
Present Your Bodies a Living Sacrifice | Rick Renner Ministries
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies
a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
— Romans 12:1
When Mary’s days of purification were finished after the miraculous birth of Jesus, Luke 2:22 tells us that Mary and Joseph brought their son to Jerusalem to dedicate Him to the Lord. It says, “And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord.”
Mary and Joseph came to Jerusalem with the express purpose “to present” the young Jesus to God. To make such a journey to Jerusalem required finances to pay for the journey itself and to purchase the turtledoves and pigeons that would be offered to God at the time they presented Jesus.
This was no casual, accidental, haphazard, unplanned event. Presenting Jesus to the Lord in the temple was a serious occasion, as it was for all males in Israel. Such an event was planned in advance and done with great reverence toward God.
Thus, it was a very hallowed, consecrated, holy moment as Joseph and Mary approached the Temple at the time set for Jesus’ dedication.
Luke 2:22 says that Joseph and Mary came “…to present him to the Lord.” The word “present” comes from the Greek word paristimi, which is a compound of the words para and istimi. The prefix para means alongside, and the word istimi means to place.When these two words are compounded together, the new word means to place beside; to place at one’s disposal; to surrender; to offer,as to offer a sacrifice to God; or to present,as to present a special offering to God.
This word undoubtedly communicates the fact that Mary and Joseph were coming to the Temple on this day to intentionally place their newborn son into God’s close care. They were dedicating and entrusting Him into God’s protection.
They were surrendering Him to God’s supervision and making a pledge that this new baby boy was God’s possession and that God could therefore use Him however He wished.
This Greek word paristimi (“present”) is precisely the same word that Paul used in Romans 12:1, when he wrote, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” The fact that Paul used this same word sheds some very important light on Romans 12:1.
First, we know that Paul was very earnest when he wrote Romans 12:1 because he began by solemnly telling them, “I beseech you.…” The word “beseech” comes from the Greek word parakaleo. As noted in other Sparkling Gems, the word parakaleo is a Greek compound of the words para and kaleo.
The word para means alongside, and the word kaleo means to call or to beckon.
When these two words are compounded together, the new word pictures one who comes alongside someone else, as close as he can get, and then begins to passionately call out, plead, beckon, beg, and beseech that other person to do something on his behalf.
In many places, the word parakaleo is used to depict a person who is earnestly praying. Therefore, the word parakaleo is also a word that can depict a person who is sincerely expressing his heart to God in prayer.In light of this fact,one Greek scholar says that it is almost as if the apostle Paul dropped to his knees in this verse and began to prayerfully plead for his Roman readers to hear his petition.
His heartfelt request was that they would present their bodies a living sacrifice to God.
It must be noted that the word parakaleo also described what military commanders did before they sent their troops into battle.
After summoning the troops together, their commander would beseech or exhort them as he warned them of the realities of warfare.
The commander would describe in detail what they were going to face in their battle; then he’d urge them to keep on fighting bravely until the victory was won. All of this is included in the word parakaleo.
This is very significant in the context of Romans 12:1. Paul was urging believers to dedicate their bodies to God.
However, Paul knew that when a believer makes the decision to dedicate his body to God, the carnal nature may respond by going to war against the spirit. The flesh just doesn’t want to submit to the law of God or to do what God wishes.
So when Paul besought his readers to yield their bodies to God, he was also warning them that such an action might stir up a battle in the flesh.The carnal nature has long been the driving force for what is done with the body; therefore, it will most ly rebel when it is told to submit to God’s control. This is why anyone who decides to present and dedicate his body to God must be ready and willing to fight the battle with the flesh until victory is achieved.
As mentioned earlier, Paul uses the Greek word paristimi when he says we are to “present” our bodies as a living sacrifice. This is exactly the same word used in Luke 2:22 to depict that moment when Jesus’ parents presented baby Jesus to God in the Temple at Jerusalem.
Just as Jesus’ dedication was no casual, accidental, haphazard, unplanned event, now Paul is telling us that the presentation of our bodies to God is a serious occurrence in our lives.
This is no light affair, but one that should be done in a very hallowed, consecrated, and serious manner. It is a crucial, historical moment in our lives when we intentionally place ourselves in God’s close care.
We surrender ourselves and all that we are to God’s supervision, making a solemn pledge that we are His and that He can therefore use us in whatever way He wishes.
You may wrongly assume that because you are a believer, this act of surrender has already occurred. But just because you are a believer does not mean that you have completely surrendered your body to God. If becoming a believer automatically caused this act of surrender to take place, Paul wouldn’t have found it necessary to earnestly urge the Roman believers to do it.
Notice that we are to present ourselves as a “living sacrifice.” In the Old Testament, an animal sacrifice would be offered upon the altar. Because the animal was dead, it could only be presented to the Lord once as a sacrificial offering.
But in the New Testament, we are urged to present ourselves to God as a living sacrifice. This implies that we must live in a continual state of surrender and consecration.Our commitment may begin with a momentous, “once-and-for-all” decision, but it must be followed with a daily decision to keep on surrendering ourselves to the Lord.
Thus, we must see every day of our lives as another day — another opportunity — to yield our lives to God.
Each new day necessitates new surrender and consecration. What you surrendered to God yesterday is already old. Today is a new day and demands a new and higher level of consecration.
Therefore, as you awake each morning, train yourself to begin your day with a prayer of consecration in which you solemnly and in holy reverence present yourself and all that you are to God’s purposes.
Don’t assume that because you did it yesterday, you don’t need to do it today. What you did yesterday remains in yesterday’s sphere.
Each new day beckons you to take a step closer to the Lord and to make a commitment more serious than the one you made before.
Have you willfully, deliberately, and intentionally presented your body to God? Just as Jesus’ parents brought Him to the Temple to present Him to the Lord, God is asking you to reverently come into His Presence to offer yourself as a living sacrifice to be used for His purposes.
If you haven’t ever taken this step of faith, are you ready to take it now? The carnal nature may declare war when you make the decision to surrender completely to the Lord, so be prepared to deal with the flesh.Just determine that you will not stop until the victory has been won!
Today is the day to surrender yourself into the hands of God. Don’t wait until tomorrow — and don’t depend on what you did yesterday. This is a new day, and God is calling you to surrender yourself anew. So don’t let ANYTHING hold you back from taking this step of faith right now!
My Prayer for Today
Lord, today I am surrendering myself as a living sacrifice to be used in whatever way You choose. I know You are beckoning me to come higher and closer than ever before, so right now I approach You with great reverence and surrender myself more fully to You.
With all my heart I vow to give You my soul, my emotions, my spirit, my body, and everything else that I am and that I possess. I want to live for You and to serve You for the rest of my life. Starting today, I yield to You completely.
When You speak, I will do exactly what You tell me to do.
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
My Confession for Today
I confess that I am surrendered to the purposes of God. I daily consecrate myself to God — to do what He wants and to live a life that is pleasing to Him. My flesh may try to wage war against this consecration, but I take authority over my flesh and I tell it what to do.
My body does not control me. Instead, I control it, using it as my instrument to do whatever God asks me to do. Every day when I awake, I renew my consecration and personal commitment to serve God with all my heart. I am His completely, and I will obey whatever His Spirit prompts me to do.
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
Questions to Answer
1. Has there been a moment in your life when you seriously consecrated yourself more fully to God’s purposes? When was that moment? How did this deeper commitment affect your life?
2. Do you daily consecrate yourself to the Lord? If the answer is no, how long has it been since you dropped to your knees and reverently surrendered your life, your mind, your emotions, your talents, your money, your family, your job, your friends, your plans, and all that you are to the Lord?
3. Would God say that you live your life a “living sacrifice”?