No, no, this isn't *that* kind of altar...although that would be a wonderful experience for a romance writer like myself. *g* This is actually an encounter on a far deeper level. It's a meeting of the spirit connecting with God's spirit, where all inhibitions and pretenses are brushed aside. Where your soul is connected to your Creator and you bask in the light of His glory, majesty, love and grace. It's an awesome experience.
That's what I had tonight at the practice for Worship team at church. One of our members led the worship portion before our practice, and he encouraged all of us to be real and open before God, seeking a closer and deeper relationship with Him so we can overcome whatever it is in life that's holding us back or keeping us down. We have not because we ask not, and our roles as worship leaders require us to go down that path we're leading others to go. We can't lead someone somewhere we haven't been.
The same is true in writing. You can research for months and sometimes years, but if you don't inject personal experience into your writing and connect your personal encounters with the stories you're telling, the reader isn't going to follow the path you've laid out for them. They'll be floundering and might even get lost. And that will cause them to put down the book for something else.
Get real with your characters and connect with your story. When you do, so will your readers.