“MY HOUSE” shall be called a House of Prayer


Ever since I joined the House of Prayer, people have often asked me “Where is this in the Bible?” Where does it say that all we are to do is pray all the time? I have often wondered that myself… Of course you have your verses that many people throw out there… My personal favorite is Isaiah 62 because God has put a heart in me for the nation of Israel. Day and night worship and intercession before his throne is to me the most logical thing that we as a body of Christ can think of doing simply because the God who created the earth put that in the scriptures for one. And you never see God in a hurry to do the things that we as a church are in such a hurry to do. Jesus waited 2 days before going to see Lazarus on his deathbed and by the time he got there Lazarus was dead and buried for 4 days yet wisdom was justified when Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. Now it didn’t make much sense to the disciples that Jesus waited as long as he did.. but Paul reminds us that the foolishness of God is wiser than the wisdom of men (1 Corinthians 1:25).

So by that standard in the scriptures, we must conclude that whatever God says goes. No matter how foolish it may sound to us or not. We may not get the whole picture. Our Lord works in mysterious ways does he not? Now, when it comes to the way that we gather and meet as a body; who should have the say so in what goes on? We Charismatics love to ‘let the Holy Spirit lead’ and whatever happens happens hallelujah and amen. What does the scripture say that we’re supposed to do while we’re there? What is God’s house supposed to be known for and hence called? Isaiah 56:7 clearly says that God’s house is to be a House of Prayer for all nations. If something is called by a particular name that should mean that’s what it is known as. For example: What do those Christians do over at that building, they pray… it’s known by all men as a House of Prayer. I wouldn’t go to the House of Blues and not expect music almost all of the time. The same with a House of Prayer. If a House of Prayer isn’t praying more than any other thing then by common logic, it’s not a house of prayer. It’s a house of whatever they do the most. Just as IHOP (pancakes) is known for their pancakes IHOP (prayer) should be known for prayer. Not that it is the only thing they do, but the majority of what goes on there is prayer. Or else it is only pretension that they call themselves that.

Mat 21:12 And Jesus went into the temple of God and cast out all those who sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the money-changers, and the seats of those who sold doves.
Mat 21:13 And He said to them, It is written, “My house shall be called the house of prayer”; but you have made it a den of thieves.

Jesus made it clear what the context of his house was to be. He made it clear. I want to point out a particular phrase in this passage… shall be called. Meaning if I were to be talking to someone about God’s house all he could say about it is that every time he goes there all he sees is people praying. It’s a house of prayer, that’s more than a sign on a door, it’s an identity, it’s a reputation that you can’t shake off. The world does not understand prayer nor will it. I don’t believe that the church really understands it either. We call ourselves a house of prayer, but does the world know us as that? Sadly, no. To be known as House of Prayer is to embrace death in the sight of the world. To have the reputation of a House of Prayer is not a romantic ideology. The Church today wants the title without the reputation. We are quite content to wear the garments of a priest without actually doing it. We are a culture that is obsessed with title and privilege but little responsibility.

When Jesus was clearing out the temple he cleared out the money changers with violence. Romans believed that a good standing with the gods depended on the precision of the performance of religious rituals. The people in the temple were selling the animals for sacrifice. The Pharisees were sticklers about how things were done they didn’t care about the person’s heart. When Jesus cleared out the temple it was his zeal against compromise. The Jewish religion was trying to make itself relevant to the Romans by emphasizing ritual over that what God values. The people of God have always struggled with the temptation of being relevant to the world around us. Even today.

Now, I want to clear something up here… When I say that a House of Prayer is to be known for the House of Prayer that does not mean that’s all they do. While the International House of Pancakes is known for pancakes and that is the majority of what they serve, it is not the entirety of what they serve. While Waffle House is known for their waffles, that is not the entirety of what they serve. The same thing applies to the House of Prayer. While the majority of our ministry is prayer and ministry to the Lord, that is not the only thing. The need for teaching and outreach to the poor is an essential part of a Christians duty to the world but only out of the place of intimacy and prayer and ministry to the Lord. So while the majority of our ministry is that of prayer, it is not the entirety.

But, one thing is reality. If it’s going to be God’s house, it’s going to be a house where the majority of the ministry is that of prayer. He says in Malachi 1:11

Mal 1:11 For from the rising of the sun even to its going in, My name shall be great among the nations; and everywhere incense shall be offered to My name, and a pure food offering. For My name shall be great among the nations, says Jehovah of Hosts.

He makes it clear that incense will arise to him day and night in every place. In heaven incense is prayer for example Revelation 5:8:

Rev 5:8 And when He had taken the book, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each one having harps and golden vials full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.

This is the reality of the end times. That if the name of Jesus is to be associated with something, it will be a place of prayer primarily. Otherwise it is something other than his house. For it will be out of the place of prayer that God will ordain his kingdom on the earth. This is the reality of the church in the end times. We will be a house of prayer or we will not be his house.

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~ by timbrownlee on August 25, 2008.

28 Responses to ““MY HOUSE” shall be called a House of Prayer”

  1. […] this morning there was a long post from Tim Brownlee of “Not So Daily Timmy” titled, “MY HOUSE” shall be called a house of prayer…. that addresses this very question from an insider’s […]

  2. It is so easy to talk about prayer. Doing it is another matter entirely. Continuing in prayer is almost unheard of. Thanks for the reminders. Keep it coming. God bless.

  3. Tim,
    I read Kathi’s post at iamhealed and she referenced your post. I will paste the comment I made to her here.
    Blessings,
    Joanne

    Kathi,
    thanks for your interesting post. I just wanted to say that a building or a church or a prayer room, isn’t what Jesus was refering to. That is an Old Testament paradigm. In the New Testament WE, his Body, are HIS HOUSE:

    Heb. 3: 4 For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything. 5 Moses was faithful as a servant in all God’s house, testifying to what would be said in the future. 6 But Christ is faithful as a son over God’s house. And we are his house, if we hold on to our courage and the hope of which we boast.

    When Jesus quoted Isiah he was refering to the Temple that existed at that time, but he was also refering to the Temple that is his body.

    Mat 21:13 And He said to them, It is written, “My house shall be called the house of prayer”;

    In the above verse “shall be” is a future tense, not present… so it was pointing to the ekklesia.

    We are to be individual houses of prayer being built into a spiritual temple where God dwells by his Spirit. That is why Paul tells us to pray without ceasing. That is why IHOP is not based on the NT model. In other words we don’t “go to God’s house” WE ARE GOD’S HOUSE!!

  4. While it is true that we are the temple of the Holy Spirit and he dwells within our bodies, that’s not what Jesus was referring to… although it can have a secondary application to us..

    He was referring to the gathering of believers… the corporate gathering of the ekklesia…. the body of believers… The prophecy made by James in Acts 15 tells us that there is going to be a place where believers will meet corporately… that was for then and it is for now…

    Isaiah 56 speaks of a gathering to a house of prayer, and God makes it clear that his house shall be a House of Prayer for all nations… it’s not just him coming inside of people, that is the only way we will be able to sustain and persevere in the pursuit of night and day prayer…

    so while it can apply to us as individuals, the primary application is a literal house where believers gather to worship the Lord corporately.

  5. i agree. i also think that we in the western world don’t understand the power and effectiveness of prayer. we pray but then we feel we have to put our hands to something in order for something to be done. although there are times and places for us to partner with God in a physical dimension, there are some things that only God can do and requires us to pray and not try to force things to happen in the flesh.

    houses of prayer are one of the most effective things on the earth. :-)

  6. I’ll repost something I had posted earlier on another site:

    Regarding “house of prayer.” Jesus uses this term as he’s driving out the money changers [Matthew 21:13, Mark 11:17, Luke 19:46] which is a reference to Isaiah 56:7:

    7 these I will bring to my holy mountain
    and give them joy in my house of prayer.
    Their burnt offerings and sacrifices
    will be accepted on my altar;
    for my house will be called
    a house of prayer for all nations
    .”
    [NIV, emphasis mine]

    Jesus uses just the words I’ve bolded above in the Gospel accounts. His point is that the money changers, who were in the outer courts, were preventing Gentiles from worshiping. The Isaiah passage in its full context is referring to the fact that with Jesus’ shed blood on the cross all nations; i.e., all people, will be able to come to salvation by faith. From the NIV text note on the Gospel passages:

    a house of prayer for all nations. Isa 56:7 assured godly non-Jews that they would be allowed to worship God in the temple. By allowing the court of the Gentiles to become a noisy, smelly marketplace, the Jewish religious leaders were interfering with God’s provision.”

    These passages do not speak of or prophesy about 24/7 prayer at all. It’s just a proclamation that even non-Jews would be saved!

    You may wish to see my post on the fallacy upon which the Bickle model of 24/7 worship is built here.

  7. Well… my friend… I am very much in the movement that Mike Bickle has started…

    as far as your issues with Mr. Bickle, I find what he is doing far more biblical than what you are doing by discrediting him.

    with all due respect and love brother, please explain Malachi 1:11 when it says in every place this will happen on the earth… besides, what harm does night and day prayer does to the body of Christ.. it’s more than biblical and I support it

    as far as Mike Bickle is concerned, I will not tolerate anybody discrediting him or any other minister on my site. so you can take your ‘ministry’ elsewhere…

  8. Tim,
    I would like to address two points that you made;

    First, the restoration of the tabernacle of David that was addressed by James in the book of Acts was NOT referring to restored prayer and worship. If you read it in context it is referring directly to bringing the Gentiles into the Church.

    Here is the scripture in context… note that it is talking about bringing the Gentile nations in:

    6The apostles and elders met to consider this question. 7After much discussion, Peter got up and addressed them: “Brothers, you know that some time ago God made a choice among you that the Gentiles might hear from my lips the message of the gospel and believe. 8God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us. 9He made no distinction between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith. 10Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of the disciples a yoke that neither we nor our fathers have been able to bear? 11No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are.”

    12The whole assembly became silent as they listened to Barnabas and Paul telling about the miraculous signs and wonders God had done among the Gentiles through them. 13When they finished, James spoke up: “Brothers, listen to me. 14Simon[a] has described to us how God at first showed his concern by taking from the Gentiles a people for himself. 15The words of the prophets are in agreement with this, as it is written:
    16″ ‘After this I will return
    and rebuild David’s fallen tent.
    Its ruins I will rebuild,
    and I will restore it,
    17that the remnant of men may seek the Lord,
    and all the Gentiles who bear my name,
    says the Lord, who does these things'[b]
    18that have been known for ages.[c]

    The tabernacle is restored so that the remnant of men may seek God’s face.. the GENTILES that bear his name. This verse can not be used to talk about restored 24 hour prayer and worship.

    Secondly, your reference to Mal.1:11 where it says:

    11 My name will be great among the nations, from the rising to the setting of the sun. In every place incense and pure offerings will be brought to my name, because my name will be great among the nations,” says the LORD Almighty.

    In EVERY PLACE prayer and worship will go up to God.. anywhere we are.. alone or where two or more are gathered… not just where there is a 24 hour prayer center…. that limits the location.

    I still contend that WE are God’s house and we are each individually and corporately houses of prayer. It is not limited or constricted. It is not elitist. It is fluid and organic…. wherever we are and wherever we are gathered.

  9. Well… my friend… I am very much in the movement that Mike Bickle has started…

    With all due respect did Bickle start this movement or did God start it? If God truly started it then one would say it’s the way to go. If this vision of a 24/7 church is based in full or in part on Bob Jones — a known false prophet — then it cannot be of God for God is not a man that he should lie. Who do you serve man or God?

    I don’t have ‘issues with Bickle’ as that would not be right. However, I do take issue with some of his teachings. Did you read my article? I encourage you to read and find where I’ve discredited Bickle personally as I’ve not done that.

    I did my best to be fair in my analysis. In one aspect there is an obvious discrepancy which leaves either Charisma or Mike Bickle wrong as they both can’t be right. I encourage you to read the article and point out any factual error I’ve made regarding the Tabernacle of David.

    with all due respect and love brother, please explain Malachi 1:11 when it says in every place this will happen on the earth… besides, what harm does night and day prayer does to the body of Christ.. it’s more than biblical and I support it

    If you look at Malachi in its full context it is not saying what I believe you are suggesting. Do you believe that all peoples of all nations will worship God? What about the ‘narrow gate’ spoken of in Matthew 7 and the apostasy Jesus speaks of in Matthew 24? And what does this have to do with 24/7 prayer anyway? Seriously, I don’t understand the connection. If I am wrong in my comprehension of your understanding of the Malachi verses please correct me.

    as far as Mike Bickle is concerned, I will not tolerate anybody discrediting him or any other minister on my site. so you can take your ‘ministry’ elsewhere…

    1) Do you believe that all ‘ministers’ out there teaching are truly of God? What about the wolves in sheep’s clothing Jesus speaks of in Matthew 7? Obviously this means there are wolves posing as sheep which means these wolves must be in the church. Certainly they are out there. Hey, it could be me, right? If you believe so; then, I challenge you to show me where my teachings are wrong. In fact the Bereans were commended by Paul for doing just that. We are to test all things against scripture.

    2) You suggest I take my ‘ministry’ elsewhere — does this not sound like you yourself are discrediting me and my ‘ministry’ (your words, not mine). That appears a tad hypocritical.

    Once again, if you believe my analysis is wrong, I welcome you to click on the above link and make comments on that thread to that end.

    In search of Christ’s Truth for He is the Word made flesh,

    – Craig

  10. I truly believe that any one teaching that holiness and the word of God is of God… Jesus said that you will know a prophet by his fruits… the fruits of righteousness… All anyone has on Mike Bickle is the past… and those were pride issues in his heart that we all struggle from.. he has since repented… as far as his ministry… Yeah… God started it… but Mike Bickle is the man God is using to do that…

    I follow the word of God and I trust any man who searches for truth…

    as far as any minister… There is nothing in scripture that condones… I am not here to defend Mike Bickle or any other minister… I bless Mike and the work that God is doing through him… I stand with him and his ministry only because I find nothing in the Bible that is against his ministry… we are called first to be lovers of God and called first to prayer… any other ministry comes out of the place of waiting on the Lord…

    I am not going to try to go around and spend my time defending a ministry that the word of God clearly mandates… God did Genesis 1, he can certainly vindicate Mike, and remember wisdom is justified by the children… look at the children a few years from now and then make your judgements of his ministry… my story is that I have grown more in God in the past year due to the lifestyle of prayer and fasting in the prayer room and the teachings of Mike Bickle and IHOP than the 10 years I spent before…

  11. I truly believe that any one teaching that holiness and the word of God is of God

    Theosophists/esotericists also teach holiness and they use our scripture. So, what is the difference? It’s a matter of walking in the Spirit rather than trying to achieve holiness in and of ourselves.

    After much pressure Bickle did make some corrections on his website for faulty exegesis on the ToD; however, he did not correct it all as I point out in the article. If the Truth is important to you — as you say it is — why not query Bickle as to why there is still some faulty teaching associated with the ToD?

    Also, given that the recent Charisma article is at odds with IHOP’s Affirmations and Denials page, wouldn’t it behoove Mike Bickle/IHOP to point this out to Charisma so that a correction and retraction could be instituted? If Charisma should refuse (I doubt that), then a correction could be put on the Affirmations and Denials page.

    The bottom line is still that the ToD is not exactly Biblical. There is no Biblical call for a physical building to be used as a ‘house of prayer’ for 24/7 worship. We ALL are supposed to worship Him 24/7 and we do this in thoughts, words, deeds, prayers, etc. — our lifestyles.

    Yeah… God started it… but Mike Bickle is the man God is using to do that…

    Bickle himself admits that Bob Jones and Paul Cain provided “foundational revelation” for IHOP. Both of these have been discredited as false prophets. Has he publicly renounced his association with Jones and Cain? Not that I’ve heard or seen.

    wisdom is justified by the children

    I’m not familiar with this. Which scripture are you referring to?

  12. as far as ToD.. I have no idea what you speak of….

    as far as a building used as House of Prayer… I interpret House as a literal building… it is not biblical to say that we alone are God’s house… the disciples met in buildings and they prayed… the Temple was a building… and Jesus clearly said that the scriptures mandated that that house was to be a House of Prayer…

    even with the foreknowledge that the spirit was going to be poured out on us and that we would have his spirit inside of us, he still mandated his house his temple would be known as a House of Prayer…

  13. btw… the scripture is Matt 11:19

  14. ToD = Tabernacle of David which is referenced on the link @4:45 Aug 28 above.

    On the Matt 11:19, the NIV text note reads:

    “Apparently means that God (wisdom) had sent both John and Jesus in specific roles, and that this would be vindicated by the lasting works of both Jesus and John.” So, I presume you mean essentially ‘time will tell?’

  15. well… this is operating in the spirit of the Tabernacle of David… only the format… Just as most charismatics say the Spirit of Elijah mentioned in Malachi 4:6 will not be just one person… I truly believe that the Tabernacle of David will not be in just one specific location… but it will be all around the world when Jesus comes back… but the Bible says that this will happen before he comes back… that it will take a prayer movement that will save Jerusalem, win the lost, and glorify God in the way that he wants to be glorified…

    the only way you test a movement such as this one is to let the fruit of it mature… let the children testify of this one…

  16. Tim,

    I can see by your responses that you sincerely belive you are being biblical, but you are using an Old Testament paradigm.

    You said:

    “as far as a building used as House of Prayer… I interpret House as a literal building…”

    I thought I already explained that when Jesus cleaned out the temple he said “my house SHALL BE a house of prayer for ALL nations”. This is future tense (shall be). He was refering to the Gentiles being grafted in as part of his house.

    One of the reasons that the temple was destroyed was because it was the end of that age (Matt. 24 is talking about the destruction of the temple). God NEVER told David or anyone else to build a temple. That was David’s idea to honor God and God let him do it. The current temple during Jesus’ day was actually built by King Herrod (who did it for political reasons and was far from the will of God). God’s idea was always a tabernacle… a movable and flexible and non-permanent structure. In John 1 where it says that “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us” the word dwelt is “tabernacled”. Jesus’ body was the tabernacle of God ….The human body is now the “tabernacle” of God.. YOU ARE THE TEMPLE, it’s NO longer in a building or structure. Hebrews says that WE are his house and Peter says that WE are a holy temple. This can be individual or corporate. It’s organic and flexable. Nowhere in the NT does it refer to a building. The English word “church” is a mis-translation of the world Ekklesia. “Church” comes from the Scottish word “kirk”, meaning “house of God”, but Ekklesia actually means “called out to assemble”. Jesus didn’t say “on this rock I will build my church”. he said “on this rock I will build my ekklesia” or called out people. The ekklesia is wherever two or more are gathered and is not restricted to a location where “a house of prayer is”:

    John 4: 21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when NEITHR ON THIS MOUNTAIN NOR IN JERUSALEM will you worship the Father. 22 You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 But the hour is coming, AND IS NOW HERE, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him.”

    You said:
    “it is not biblical to say that we alone are God’s house… the disciples met in buildings and they prayed… the Temple was a building… and Jesus clearly said that the scriptures mandated that that house was to be a House of Prayer…”

    Actually, it IS biblical to say that. Yes the disciples met in buildings and homes, but they never called those buildings God’s house. That’s why the temple was destroyed… the true temple had come.

    You said:
    “even with the foreknowledge that the spirit was going to be poured out on us and that we would have his spirit inside of us, he still mandated his house his temple would be known as a House of Prayer”

    Yes, and he was referring to his Body. The temple being destroyed shows us that this model is over.

    You said:

    “I truly believe that the Tabernacle of David will not be in just one specific location… but it will be all around the world when Jesus comes back…”

    This scripture was already fulfilled when James quoted it in Acts, with the Gentiles being saved and grafted into the vine. It doesn’t have to do with prayer and worship but with the entrance of the Gentiles into the Kingdom of God. To use the scripture in Acts to say that is to take it totally out of context.

    You said:
    “but the Bible says that this will happen before he comes back… that it will take a prayer movement that will save Jerusalem, win the lost, and glorify God in the way that he wants to be glorified…”

    Where in the Bible does it say this? Please give scripture, thanks!

    Believers are already in every location around the world offering praise to God. Mike Bickle is using an Old Testament model and it loses the heart and fulfillment of everything that God desires because it limits it to only specific locations where these “specific houses of prayer” are. Mike Bickle got called for using the scripture in Acts incorrectly, so now he says that IHOP is in the “SPIRIT” of the Tabernacle of David, because if he stopped it he would have had to admit he used the scripture incorrectly.

    IHOP is based on a faulty biblical exigesis and that is why, ultimately it will crumble. You say “look at the fruit”. I have and I see a monastic organization using unscriptural methods. The bible tells us WE ARE IN THE WORLD, NOT OF IT. It never promotes living cloistered lives and paying to do so. “Intercessory missionary” is not a BIBLICAL ministry. We are all called to pray and interceed. It’s easy to pray and live in a cloistered environment, but my husband and I are missionaries and we have to pray constantly where we are. We have to fight powers of darkness on a daily basis in order to bring the Word of God to a people who do not want it. That is what Jesus and the disciples did! Jesus went off to pray alone for several hours a day, but he never left society!!

    Mike Bickle’s promotion of the catholic mystics only confirms his catholic leanings. If I were you I’d do some investigating and esp. follow the money trail.
    God bless.

  17. The fruit of a ministry is not the method. Fruit is always growth and life. Galatians 5:22-23 is clear on what the fruit of the Holy Spirit is. That is the fruit that you will know a ministry by.

    You find that there is more scripture that defends night and day prayer than any other ministry in the Bible. I don’t see a cloistered environment at all. I see a ministry who’s heart is for God’s kingdom to come to earth.

    My investigation of IHOP has led me to be a part of this movement.

    If this is not the right thing to do, what other method do you suggest? The way things are going now? Are you saying that we are doing things the right way?

  18. Tim,
    I don’t see night and day prayer as a ministry, per say. I see prayer as a requirement of every believing Christian. We are all called to pray and interceed. Paul said to “pray without ceasing”.

    But,there is no such “ministry” in the Bible as an ‘intercessory missionary’. Jesus told his followers to “GO INTO ALL THE WORLD AND MAKE DISCIPLES” He didn’t say to go to one place and pray night and day. We are called to GO. Some of the greatest saints were alone in foreign countries ministering to the lost. I’d like to spend my life doing that. As for the rest of the Church, you’re right… things aren’t where they should be there either.

    I felt led to share this with you:

    The SAINT MUST WALK ALONE-by A.W Tozer.

    Most of the world’s great souls have been lonely. Loneliness
    seems to be one price the saint must pay for his saintliness.

    In the morning of the world (or should we say, in that strange
    darkness that came soon after the dawn of man’s creation), that
    pious soul, Enoch, walked with God and was not, for God took
    him; and while it is not stated in so many words, a fair inference
    is that Enoch walked a path quite apart from his contemporaries.

    Another lonely man was Noah who, of all the antediluvians, found
    grace in the sight of God; and every shred of evidence points to
    the aloneness of his life even while surrounded by his people.

    Again, Abraham had Sarah and Lot, as well as many servants and
    herdsmen, but who can read his story and the apostolic comment
    upon it without sensing instantly that he was a man “whose soul
    was alike a star and dwelt apart”? As far as we know not one word
    did God ever speak to him in the company of men. Face down he
    communed with his God, and the innate dignity of the man forbade
    that he assume this posture in the presence of others. How sweet
    and solemn was the scene that night of the sacrifice when he saw
    the lamps of fire moving between the pieces of offering. There,
    alone with a horror of great darkness upon him, he heard the voice
    of God and knew that he was a man marked for divine favor.

    Moses also was a man apart. While yet attached to the court of
    Pharaoh he took long walks alone, and during one of these walks
    while far removed from the crowds he saw an Egyptian and a
    Hebrew fighting and came to the rescue of his countryman. After
    the resultant break with Egypt he dwelt in almost complete
    seclusion in the desert. There, while he watched his sheep alone,
    the wonder of the burning bush appeared to him, and later on the
    peak of Sinai he crouched alone to gaze in fascinated awe at the
    Presence, partly hidden, partly disclosed, within the cloud and fire.

    The prophets of pre-Christian times differed widely from each other,
    but one mark they bore in common was their enforced loneliness.
    They loved their people and gloried in the religion of the fathers, but
    their loyalty to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and their
    zeal for the welfare of the nation of Israel drove them away from the
    crowd and into long periods of heaviness. “I am become a stranger
    unto my brethren, and an alien unto my mother’s children,” cried
    one and unwittingly spoke for all the rest.

    Most revealing of all is the sight of that One of whom Moses and
    all the prophets did write, treading His lonely way to the cross. His
    deep loneliness was unrelieved by the presence of the multitudes.

    ‘Tis midnight, and on Olive’s brow
    The star is dimmed that lately shone;
    ‘Tis midnight; in the garden now,
    The suffering Savior prays alone.
    ‘Tis midnight, and from all removed
    The Savior wrestles lone with fears;
    E’en the disciple whom He loved
    Heeds not his Master’s grief and tears.
    – William B. Tappan

    He died alone in the darkness hidden from the sight of mortal man
    and no one saw Him when He arose triumphant and walked out of
    the tomb, though many saw Him afterward and bore witness to
    what they saw. There are some things too sacred for any eye but
    God’s to look upon. The curiosity, the clamor, the well-meant but
    blundering effort to help can only hinder the waiting soul and make
    unlikely if not impossible the communication of the secret
    message of God to the worshiping heart.

    Sometimes we react by a kind of religious reflex and repeat
    dutifully the proper words and phrases even though they fail to
    express our real feelings and lack the authenticity of personal
    experience. Right now is such a time. A certain conventional
    loyalty may lead some who hear this unfamiliar truth expressed for
    the first time to say brightly, “Oh, I am never lonely. Christ said, ‘I
    will never leave you nor forsake you,’ and ‘Lo, I am with you always.’
    How can I be lonely when Jesus is with me?”

    Now I do not want to reflect on the sincerity of any Christian soul,
    but this stock testimony is too neat to be real. It is obviously what
    the speaker thinks should be true rather than what he has proved
    to be true by the test of experience. This cheerful denial of
    loneliness proves only that the speaker has never walked with God
    without the support and encouragement afforded him by society.
    The sense of companionship which he mistakenly attributes to the
    presence of Christ may and probably does arise from the presence
    of friendly people. Always remember: you cannot carry a cross in
    company. Though a man were surrounded by a vast crowd, his
    cross is his alone and his carrying of it marks him as a man apart.
    Society has turned against him; otherwise he would have no cross.
    No one is a friend to the man with a cross. “They all forsook Him,
    and fled.”

    The pain of loneliness arises from the constitution of our nature.
    God made us for each other. The desire for human companionship
    is completely natural and right. The loneliness of the Christian
    results from his walk with God in an ungodly world, a walk that
    must often take him away from the fellowship of good Christians
    as well as from that of the unregenerate world. His God-given
    instincts cry out for companionship with others of his kind, others
    who can understand his longings, his aspirations, his absorption in
    the love of Christ; and because within his circle of friends there are
    so few who share inner experiences, he is forced to walk alone.
    The unsatisfied longings of the prophets for human understanding
    caused them to cry out in their complaint, and even our Lord
    Himself suffered in the same way.

    The man who has passed on into the divine Presence in actual
    inner experience will not find many who understand him. A certain
    amount of social fellowship will of course be his as he mingles
    with religious persons in the regular activities of the church, but
    true spiritual fellowship will be hard to find. But he should not
    expect things to be otherwise. After all he is a stranger and a
    pilgrim, and the journey he takes is not on his feet but in his heart.
    He walks with God in the garden of his own soul – and who but
    God can walk there with him? He is of another spirit from the
    multitudes that tread the courts of the Lord’s house. He has seen
    that of which they have only heard, and he walks among them
    somewhat as Zacharias walked after his return from the altar when
    the people whispered, “He has seen a vision.”

    The truly spiritual man is indeed something of an oddity. He lives
    not for himself but to promote the interests of Another. He seeks
    to persuade people to give all to his Lord and asks no portion or
    share for himself. He delights not to be honored but to see his
    Savior glorified in the eyes of men. His joy is to see his Lord
    promoted and himself neglected. He finds few who care to talk
    about that which is the supreme object of his interest, so he is
    often silent and preoccupied in the midst of noisy religious
    shoptalk. For this he earns the reputation of being dull and
    overserious, so he is avoided and the gulf between him and
    society widens. He searches for friends upon whose garments he
    can detect the smell of myrrh and aloes and cassia out of the ivory
    palaces, and finding few or none, he, like Mary of old, keeps these
    things in his heart.

    It is this very loneliness that throws him back upon God. “When
    my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me
    up.” His inability to find human companionship drives him to seek
    in God what he can find nowhere else. He learns in inner solitude
    what he could not have learned in the crowd – that Christ is All in
    All, that He is made unto us wisdom, righteousness, sanctification
    and redemption, that in Him we have and possess life’s summum
    bonum.

    Two things remain to be said. One, that the lonely man of whom
    we speak is not a haughty man, nor is he the holier-than-thou,
    austere saint so bitterly satirized in popular literature. He is likely
    to feel that he is the least of all men and is sure to blame himself
    for his very loneliness. He wants to share his feelings with others
    and to open his heart to some like-minded soul who will
    understand him, but the spiritual climate around him does not
    encourage it, so he remains silent and tells his griefs to God alone.

    The second thing is that the lonely saint is not the withdrawn man
    who hardens himself against human suffering and spends his days
    contemplating the heavens. Just the opposite is true. His
    loneliness makes him sympathetic to the approach of the
    brokenhearted and the fallen and the sin-bruised. Because he is
    detached from the world, he is all the more able to help it. Meister
    Eckhart taught his followers that if they should find themselves in
    prayer and happen to remember that a poor widow needed food,
    they should break off the prayer instantly and go care for the
    widow. “God will not suffer you to lose anything by it,” he told
    them. “You can take up again in prayer where you left off and the
    Lord will make it up to you.” This is typical of the great mystics
    and masters of the interior life from Paul to the present day.

    The weakness of so many modern Christians is that they feel too
    much at home in the world. In their effort to achieve restful
    “adjustment” to unregenerate society they have lost their pilgrim
    character and become an essential part of the very moral order
    against which they are sent to protest. The world recognizes them
    and accepts them for what they are. And this is the saddest thing
    that can be said about them. They are not lonely, but neither are
    they saints.

  19. I want to let you know that there is more than just going and doing… We won’t see Jerusalem saved by evangelizing… it will be saved by night and day prayer Isaiah 62:6-7… We won’t see Justice come to the earth by evangelizing… we will see it by night and day prayer (Luke 18:7)

    I also remind you that night and day prayer produced one of the greatest missions movements ever in history. The Moravians had a 100 year night and day prayer ministry that birthed a missions movement that dwarfs anything we have today. Yes we are called to go, but first we are called to sit. We are called to sit at his feet and get to know him. We can have a Martha spirit in the mission field.

    If the majority of your ministry isn’t in the place of prayer then you miss the point. You miss the reality that God really is in control. Leonard Ravenhill was probably the loudest voice for preachers who pray more than they do anything else. You pray in one place more than anything. We have a prayer meeting, and the Muslims have a prayer culture. They pray to demons more fervently than we pray to the God who is real and controls them. The only thing that is going to beat 5 time a day prayers to demons is to pray more than they do. Night and day is a perfect remedy.

    Then there is the wilderness principle. God is willing to have his people for years in the wilderness to get to know him. We convert someone and teach him about God and we jettison him off to the mission field without true real knowledge of a God who delights in him.

    I totally agree with Tozer, I read him alot. I appreciate the passage. The reality is the world doesn’t understand night and day prayer. Intercession is the place of God’s heart. It is the place where you identify with God and his heart. It is the place where your internal zeal to win the nations dies and it is replaced with God’s heart for the lost and the nation of Israel, and his heart for the unborn.

    Night and day prayer is the most biblical ministry in the Bible and it is one the church cannot do without.

  20. and about the intercessory missionary ministry…

    you never see the word ‘missionary’ mentioned in the Bible at any time. That is a word we have attached to one who is in the mission field.

    We call Paul the first missionary because he was the first ‘most successful’ missionary. Now if you apply this to the reality that the apostles were headed toward night and day prayer according to Acts 15 about the Lord bringing the nations to him through night and day prayer… it’s not about being the Tabernacle of David… the focus is the fact that it was going to be a prayer movement that was going to bring the nations together… Isaiah 56:7…

    About supporting Intercessory Missionaries, if Prayer is to be the primary ministry of the church, that means apostles, pastors, teachers, prophets and everybody who is a Christian should be praying… now we all have different responsibilities… Intercession should be understood… we don’t complain when someone receives money to work in a building where people only meet once or twice a week in… now to have something where people are in it all of the time means you have to have people in it all of the time… David had to pay people to keep night and day prayer moving… just like any other ministry.

    Now, prayer isn’t my only responsibility, just my primary… I preach at the local soup kitchen on Fridays, I am in charge of Maintenance at the House of Prayer… Prayer is my first responsibility

    Like I said in my blog, that’s not the only ministry the church is supposed to do… but the primary.

  21. Yay! You fixed it! Does mine work correctly? You’re in my blogroll as well. Hopefully tomorrow I’ll be able to read a few of your blogs!

  22. Oh noes! Where do I go to fix that?

  23. Ok I think I may have found it on my own.

  24. Like Paul Harvey, I like to hear “the REST of the story.”

    …for ALL NATIONS:) Why is it that we typically never hear the whole statement? “My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations.” There’s a whole other side to ‘just the praying’ that God would like the church in America to pick up on. Malachi 1:11, which you quoted, is a wonderful example of the whole picture that God is looking for. “For from the rising of the sun even to its going in, My name shall be great AMONG THE NATIONS; and EVERYWHERE incense shall be offered to My name, and a pure food offering. For MY NAME SHALL BE GREAT AMONG THE NATIONS, says Jehovah of Hosts.” And interestingly enough, you also quoted Revelation 5:8, but if you read just one more verse, you can see the theme once again…And they sang a new song:
    “You are worthy to take the scroll
    and to open its seals,
    because you were slain,
    and with your blood you purchased men for God
    from EVERY TRIBE and LANGUAGE and PEOPLE and NATION.”

  25. OK, so I was replying to your original blog, which I came across somehow recently doing a google search on I don’t remember what:) Now I’ve had time to read some of the responses & dialog and realize that this topic has already gone in the direction I was pointing to. One thing I noticed I’d like some more input on is this quote: “It is the place where your internal zeal to win the nations dies and it is REPLACED? with God’s heart for the lost and the nation of Israel, and his heart for the unborn.” Where is this scripture??? The internal or natural zeal I may understand what you refer to, but from Genesis (Abe wasn’t a Jew:) to John 3:16 to Jesus’ ministry to the Gentiles to Paul to Acts 1:8 & 8:1 to Revelation 5:9/7:9…God’s heartbeat in both testaments is clearly for the world. I believe the Church’s zeal for ourselves & our country/culture/independence/freedom/money/
    stuff, & beloved buildings & ministers needs to be REPLACED with a zeal & passion for God, and his heart beats for the world he created. I don’t have a strong opinion or knowledge about IHOP, but I lean toward agreement with those who focus less on buildings, man-made structures & Israel/politics. I do appreciate your ministry though & am excited that you’re growing closer to Jesus in KC! I look forward to any further dialog with you.

  26. Well… the reality is that God always has a waiting period for his messengers especially in the place of prayer.

    Art Katz talks about Moses and how the place where the heart of God is found is on the backside of the desert a place of monotony and seeming waste. There are so many people who want to go and do and waste themselves away at visual and horizontal ministry. The apostle comes from the greek word apostolos which means ‘sent one’ for that person to be sent, he has to be waiting. God has to disqualify us in the place of prayer before he can send us into the pit and the grit of ministry to people.

    Moses zeal for Israel died in the wilderness. God sent him because he heard their cry, not Moses. God sent Moses when he said it was time for him to go. Even our fleshly zeal for missions and the lost has to be utterly destroyed in the wilderness. The reality that God will not move until his people pray is offensive on our parts because that involves us being weak. But God doesn’t desire the nations first, he desires the hearts of his people. If he has the heart of his bride, the nations will come.

  27. Stumbled upon this blog while doing a google search. Currently I am in Rome but for the past two years I have been a part of the Richmond International House of Prayer, and currently pondering whether or not to full time or part time just sitting in our small prayer room.

    I have been struggling with whether or not this is a viable option, if it is even a biblical option, if it is a correct option becuase i am a college student with*cough45000 dollarscough* in debt and would not know how or where to raise support. I was given a word about 2 years ago from a guy who is a “IM” at IHOP-KC who came to Richmond. Told me I was a Levite….not a clue what that means to me in 2008 but yeah…

    I’m babbling but here is what I wanted to say. Some people will definately take issue with the fact that people are sitting in a room, praying to a God that they can’t see withe there physical eyes. Some people will take issue with many things IM’s do (IM=intersssory missionary) but the fact remains that to devote oneself to a period of alone time with God and offering sacrifices of praise and just yourself could not hurt. Jesus went and fasted for 40 days, would spend hunks of time alone with God his father and Jesus was the most perfect man to ever walk the earth. And Jesus for all practical purposes had 3 years of ministry. THE SON OF GOD HAD 3 YEARS OF MINISTRY. so if he died at 33, what was he doing for the first 30? Getting oil most likely. Paul was in training somewhere for an extended period of time. Moses was on the back side of a desert for 40 years under a baking sun, learning about sheep and living with the High priest of Midian, Jethro. David spent most of his life ministering to God, while watching out for his fathers flock.

    All this to say that, the christianity of yester year is clearly, clearly not working, why? because we’ve watered it down with cheap grace and extreme sports and not enough visible abandoned lifestyle. now am i knocking ministry, nope, not in the least, but what I am saying is that if we don’t know the One for whom we are ministering for then we are screwed. Royally.

  28. Very true and very on point. Thank you for posting.

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