45 He went into the temple and began to throw out those who were selling, 46 and he said, “It is written, my house will be a house of prayer, but you have made it a den of thieves!” 47 Every day he was teaching in the temple. The chief priests, the scribes, and the leaders of the people were looking for a way to kill him, 48 but they could not find a way to do it, because all the people were captivated by what they heard.
Do you ever get so angry that you just want to throw something? Jesus did. One of the few times we are witnesses to the intensity of Jesus’ passion is when He enters the temple and becomes outraged at how it is being used. He quotes Isaiah 56:7, “For my house will be called a house of prayer.”
I can’t help but wonder what He would think of our churches today. Are we as dedicated to prayer as we are to other activities? Have you ever attended a prayer meeting that was packed? I can recall vividly a past effort to engage the congregation in a concert of prayer for our church family, yet only a handful responded. We can draw “standing room only” crowds to choral presentations and covered dish suppers, but only a few people will show up for prayer meetings. We fill our time in His house with worthy activities, but how much time do we dedicate to prayer?
In a recent blog on prayer, Jonathan Graf shared some of the benefits of engaging in corporate prayer. He wrote, “There is a different atmosphere in churches that pray together and who have praying people. Worship seems more powerful. There is a sense of connection with God that is not there in non-praying churches.”
Of course, when Jesus was crucified, the curtain which separated the people from the holy of holies was torn from top to bottom. We no longer need the temple or its priests in order to approach God. Paul states in 1 Corinthians 6:19, “Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God.” If that is the case, we don’t just have an obligation to continue corporate prayer. We are His house, and we must be individually dedicated to prayer in order for “His house” to be a “house of prayer.”
I hope we will once again consider the call to become “a house of prayer.” How can we accomplish this? The next time a corporate prayer meeting is announced, give it as much priority as any other church activity. In addition, make personal prayer time a priority in your daily life.
What a privilege we share when we go before the Lord and pray for one another. Let’s make a sincere effort to see that God’s house is always called “a house of prayer.”
Questions to Ask Yourself
- Have you ever made prayer a priority in your life?
- Do you spend as much time talking to the Lord as you do to other important persons in your life?
- Have you ever given thought to how your body is God’s temple and should be a “house of prayer”?
This week, as a family, make prayer a priority. Pick a time that works best for your family and have one of you or all of you pray together. Prayer is simply talking to God our Father. One way to pray is to use “The Five-Finger Prayer” model. Each finger on your hand has a specific people group to pray for and it starts with your thumb.
• Thumb: Pray for those closest to you and your family.
• Pointer: Pray for your teachers and pray for wisdom.
• Tallest: Pray for those who lead us, like your pastors or people in government, and pray for guidance.
• Ring: Pray for those who are weak, sick, in trouble, or need healing.
• Pinky: Pray for yourself.
Pray for Coulson and May, global workers from our church family. They work to bring the gospel to the people of Southeast Asia. Pray for health, protection, favor with local authorities, and wisdom in next steps.