Building a House of Prayer
“The sons of the foreigner Who join themselves to the Lord, to serve Him, and to love the name of the Lord, to be His servants… Even them I will bring to My holy mountain, And make them joyful in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be accepted on My altar; For My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations.” (Isaiah 56:6-7, NKJV).
When you think of the church, what’s the first thought that comes to your mind? For many people, it’s a place to go for praise and worship or preaching, or a place for potluck dinners. And those things are all well and good: worship, the Word, and fellowship. But God said, “This is my heart for my house, my church – that it would be a house of prayer.” And remember, it’s God’s house! He wants His house to be a house of prayer – a place of prayer, blessing and ministry. For all nations – all people groups regardless of race, colour or creed – would be able to come in and experience the love, acceptance and grace of God as we pray for them.
It’s interesting to note that this one Old Testament Scripture is quoted three times in the New Testament by Matthew, Mark and Luke. It happened when “Jesus went into the temple and began to drive out those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves.” (Mark 11:15).
- “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a ‘den of thieves.” (Matthew 21:13).
- “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations’? But you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’” (Mark 11:17).
- “It is written, ‘My house is a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’” (Luke 19:46).
Jesus was angry that they had neglected the most important thing in His house – prayer. After Jesus cleaned out the temple, “His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for Your house has eaten Me up.” (John 2:17). Do you see the zealous, passionate heart of God for His church? That it would be a house of prayer. Not just a house of praise and worship. Not just a house of preaching. But a house of prayer.
The great revival preacher Leonard Ravenhill said, “Without prayer, we cannot live the Christian life. Prayer means power. More prayer means more power. Prayerlessness is disobedience, for God’s command is that men ought always to pray and not to faint. The place where the Christian stops to refuel is prayer.” (Revival Praying).
I believe that we need a revival in the church today. When the people of God in the house of God can go days without even thinking to go to the prayer closet to meet with God, we need revival. When the only time we think to pray is when we’re eating, “God bless this food to our bodies in Jesus’ name, amen” – a religious ritual, not really talking to God or thinking about what we’re praying – we need revival.
May God stir our hearts again so that we won’t be content to go to church and be religious and go through the motions, but that we would realize that the Creator of the Universe longs to have a personal relationship with us. Not just where we talk to Him, but where we learn to hear His voice, and He talks to us as well. That’s Christianity – a personal relationship with God.
Maybe you don’t really believe that God answers prayer. Maybe you don’t really believe that if you were to pray that it would make any difference. My hope is that as you read through this booklet, that your faith would be stirred up, and that you would begin to believe and trust the promise of God. Amen!
Pastor Chris Jordan