The Tabernacle – A Pattern for Prayer


Pastor Rick Duncan

In order to teach us how to pray effectively, Jesus gave us a Model Prayer, commonly called the Lord’s Prayer. Through the centuries, Christians have used Jesus’ pattern as a way to stay focused and fervent in prayer.

Christian leaders have also seen a pattern for prayer in the architectural layout of the Old Testament Tabernacle.

This past week, I took a prayer walk around my neighborhood and, in my heart and mind, I followed the pattern set before us in the Tabernacle. I recorded my prayer and offer it to you as an example.

Please see the following prayer as a guide, not a destination. Use your own words so that your prayer does not turn into vain repetition.

Even though we no longer need the physical Tabernacle to meet with God, praying through each station in the Tabernacle can help us experience His presence.


Today, Lord God, I enter Your Gate with thanksgiving and I enter Your courts with praise. There’s only one way I could do that. It’s through Jesus. He is the Way – the only Way. He is the Door, the pathway to You.

I see before me the Bronze Altar where sacrifices were offered for the forgiveness of sins. The blood of bulls, goats, and lambs could never atone fully and finally for anyone’s sin. But the blood of Jesus, the Lamb of God, atones for me and for my sin. So, I come to You, Lord God, forgiven of past, present, and future sins, because of the sacrifice of Jesus when He died on that cross in my place.

Now I see before me, the Bronze Basin containing water for cleansing. Yes, my sin was nailed to the cross with Christ and atoned for there, but I still sin on a daily basis. Cleanse me of my sins of omission and commission; my sins of thought, word, and deed; my sins of self-rule and self-reliance. Based on the finished work of Christ, I can be cleansed before You. So, I confess my sin and ask for cleansing, knowing that You are faithful and just to forgive my sin and cleanse me from all unrighteousness.

Next I step into the Holy Place, and I see to my left the Golden Lampstand, always lighting up the darkness. I need Your light for my darkness. I need Your guidance for my decisions. And I thank You, Lord God, that Jesus is the perfect light of the world, giving me wisdom and hope and security. Because Jesus is with me, I don’t have to be afraid. Without Jesus, I will stumble and fall. So, light up my darkness and let me reflect Your light to all those around me.

To my right, I see the Table of Bread, twelve loaves for the 12 tribes of Israel – bread available for everyone who will come. And so, once again, I come to Jesus who is Himself Bread for a hungry world. Help me stop seeking satisfaction from things that can never satisfy. Help me to find Jesus as my soul-satisfying, life-strengthening, joy-filled purpose.

Before me I see the Golden Altar of Incense representing prayer that must be continually offered to you without ceasing. Once again, I see Jesus represented. He who died is now alive, seated at the right hand of the Father, always living to intercede for me. Thank You, Lord God, for a Savior who walks with me through the challenges of life, who cares about His people, and who prays to the Father on my behalf. I know You hear His good and wise prayers for me. Thank You for answering Him.

I see before me the Veil, the Curtain that separates the Holy Place from the Holy of Holies. Thank You that when Jesus died on the cross and said “It is finished” that the veil was torn in two from the top to the bottom. This was Your doing, Lord God, so that I could boldly come into Your presence. I am unworthy to do so. But Your kindness has made a way for sinners like me to come close.

And now, I see the Ark of Your Presence before me. Inside are the tablets of the 10 Commandments. They remind me that I am a law-breaker. They also remind me that Jesus was the perfect law-keeper. His keeping of the law has been applied to me through imputed righteousness. On top of the Ark I see angelic beings representing the worship that belongs to You alone. I mingle my voice with theirs, crying, “Holy, holy, holy!”  You are seated on the throne, the Mercy Seat. Because it’s been sprinkled with blood, it’s not a judgment seat. It’s the Mercy Seat. Thank You that, in spite of my sin and rebellion, I do not get what I deserve from You, which would be separation from You in hell forever. Instead, Your mercy and grace make me safe in Your presence.

So now, Lord God, I linger in Your presence. Yes, You tell me that I have not because I ask not. And You invite me to cast all my cares on You because You care for me. But for now, I’m not going to ask. I just want to be with You. I want to seek Your face, not Your hand. I want to be unhurried in Your presence, knowing that simply being with You means that You will grant me rest, refreshing, strength, transformation, joy, and more. Thank You for letting me linger here, unhurried, before I go back to live out my life in Your world, knowing that my mundane existence will be transformed so that I am reflecting who You are to a world so desperately in need of You.