Do you know what it is to weep between the porch and the altar? Few, if any, of us have likely experienced this. To feel the anguish of true repentance and intercessory prayer is unpleasant for the natural man; none of us wants it. Yet, this lies at the heart of every true revival of the past. Let’s read what the pen of inspiration has to say about this important subject.
Tremble for Your Own Soul
Could the curtain be rolled back, could you discern the purposes of God and the judgments that are about to fall upon a doomed world, could you see your own attitude, you would fear and tremble for your own souls and for the souls of your fellow men. Earnest prayers of heart-rending anguish would go up to heaven. You would weep between the porch and the altar, confessing your spiritual blindness and backsliding.
“Blow the trumpet in Zion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly: gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children: … let the bridegroom go forth of his chamber, and the bride out of her closet. Let the priests, the ministers of the Lord, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, Spare Thy people, O Lord, and give not Thine heritage to reproach.” Joel 2:15-17.
“Turn ye even to Me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning: and rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord your God: for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth Him of the evil. Who knoweth if He will return and repent, and leave a blessing behind Him?” Verses 12-14.
— 6 Testimonies, pp. 408-409
Live in Great Humiliation
It is our privilege to understand the great responsibilities that God has placed upon us, so that we shall not be in darkness as to what is coming upon our world. We cannot afford to meet that day without a preparation. But when we think of this great and solemn event of Christ’s coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory, we should live in great humiliation before God lest we fail of the grace of God and prove ourselves unworthy of eternal life. When we see that the world is given up to the seeking of pleasure and the indulgence of appetite, we should weep between the porch and the altar, crying, “Spare Thy people, O Lord, and give not Thine heritage to reproach.”
— Manuscript 6a, 1886
Ministers to Weep Between the Porch and the Altar
What is the object of the ministry? Is it to mix the comical with the religious? The theater is the place for such exhibitions. If Christ is formed within, if the truth with its sanctifying power is brought into the inner sanctuary of the soul, you will not have jolly men, neither will you have sour, cross, crabbed men to teach the precious lessons of Christ to perishing souls.
Our ministers need a transformation of character. They should feel that if their works are not wrought in God, if they are left to their own imperfect efforts, they are of all men the most miserable. Christ will be with every minister who, although he may not have attained to perfection of character, is seeking most earnestly to become Christlike. Such a minister will pray. He will weep between the porch and the altar, crying in soul anguish for the Lord’s presence to be with him; else he cannot stand before the people, with all heaven looking upon him, and the angel’s pen taking note of his words, his deportment, and his spirit.
Oh, that men would fear the Lord! Oh, that they would love the Lord! Oh, that the messengers of God would feel the burden of perishing souls! Then they would not merely speechify; but they would have the power of God vitalizing their souls, and their hearts would glow with the fire of God’s love. Out of weakness they would become strong; for they would be doers of the word. They would hear the voice of Jesus: “Lo, I am with you alway.” Jesus would be their teacher; and the word they minister would be quick and powerful, sharper than any two-edged sword, and a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Just in proportion as the speaker appreciates the divine presence and honors and trusts the power of God, is he acknowledged as a laborer together with God. Just in this proportion does he become mighty through God.
— Testimonies to Ministers, p. 143
We Need a Great Reformation
Let there be less sermonizing and more humbling of the soul in prayer for the divine presence among us. Our meetings should be seasons of humble seeking after God. O that we might sense our need of Christ and by living faith claim the promise of His presence.
There are some of our ministers who are true burden-bearers, whose hearts go out in prayer to God, and who weep between the porch and the altar, crying, “Spare Thy people, O Lord, and give not Thine heritage to reproach.” There are a few who are in earnest. But there are many who have but little sense of their great need of divine blessing.
In visions of the night I was in a company where our ministers were assembled. A few were humbling themselves before God and confessing their sins. They were weeping and pleading with God to spare His people and to give not His heritage to reproach. But with many there was no special burden to get near to the Lord. I looked for the burden-bearers; but there were few who carried any genuine burden for souls. While some of the ministers were brokenly calling upon the Lord, and were weighed down as a cart beneath sheaves, the hearts of many were untouched. What kind of account will those have to give who stand in holy places of trust, and yet have little or no burden for the souls of the perishing!
There is need of a great reformation in our ranks.
— Letter 172, 1908
Will You Weep Between the Porch and the Altar?
These quotes had a great impact on us. We need a deeper understanding of our true condition and our great need of Christ. We need to intercede on the church’s behalf. We need to experience the deep anguish of heart and soul that the Holy Spirit brings. This is the only way we will ever experience true revival. But we cannot have true repentance or a real burden for souls unless God gives it to us. Will you join us in praying that God will break our hearts on the Rock of Christ?