A House of Prayer Renovation -Part 2

How many times is our deep heart prayer buried, hidden under the noise of superficial exchanges with others and with God?

We come week to week in God’s house, carrying burdens, and we leave here carrying the same burdens. Nothing changes. God says here that he wants so much more for us. The Lord says,

“My house will be called a house of prayer.”

We can read it for ourselves in Isaiah 56, verse 7. God is speaking again here.

“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.”

Who are the these God is talking about here in the text? If you look farther up, He’s talking about the eunuch and the foreigner. These people had nothing going for them. They were shunned by that culture. The eunuch complained, “I am a dry tree” in verse 3. That’s somebody who has nothing to offer, who is broken and without hope. The foreigner didn’t fit anywhere. The foreigner expects that he will be rejected by God also, but instead God has a great promise for them.

He says those who trust him, those who cry out to him, will not be rejected. In verse 7, God embraces them in his house of prayer. God accepts their offerings and their sacrifices. That means God accepts their prayers. When God talks about prayer here…

Our regular definition of prayer is to plead and to ask. Another definition in our language of prayer is this communication with God, this conversation with God. Well, the Bible in its language goes a bit further.

The Hebrew word for prayer in Isaiah, especially here, is tphillah  1 What it means is to look critically at one’s self. This kind of prayer requires us to be laid bare and to be broken. It’s a revelation of who we are truly to ourselves and to God in order to be transformed.

Out of that brokenness comes this heart prayer:  “I need you, God. I need you.”

What happens when the house of God becomes a house of prayer? The house of God then becomes a place where the deep heart prayer of people is finally heard and where we meet because God gathers all us to Himself.

A Prayer from Psalm 139:23-24-

 Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; And see if there be any hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way.

(To be continued…Part 3)

PRAY’ 11, Day 9: The Sick and Broken Hearted

January 6, 2011

Read a psalm as your prayer.*

Paraphrase the psalm in your own words to lament your particular situation and needs.

Read and pray the psalm, pausing periodically to insert your own specific feelings and questions, as in the following example based on Psalm 13:1-2,5-6:

How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I bear pain in my soul, and have sorrow in my hear all day long?
How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?

Lord, our God,we feel forgotten. This abuse rips apart our faith. The victim, our sister or brother or friend _____ is alone in despair. How long must this persist?

But I trusted in your steadfast love; My heart shall rejoice in your salvation.
I will sing to the Lord because he has dealt bountifully with me.

We long to sing praise,
To have our sister or brother or friend______ begin to sense your goodness again. For deep down, we trust in your goodness. Amen.

Other examples of Psalms of Lament:

Psalm 3: A crisis of betrayal
Psalm 10: When God is silent
Psalm 38, 41: A crisis of sickness
Psalm 142: A crisis of loneliness

* Resource: The Praying Church Idea Book written by Douglas Kamstra with foreword by Alvin J. Vandergriend/ A Time to Weep, Reformed Worship 44,p.24. by John Witvliet