“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.