A House of Prayer Renovation -Part 3

As we read Matthew 21:12-16, it reminds us that there will be challenges facing us as we follow the call of being God’s house of prayer.1 We can’t remain the same if we are to go the next level with God.

Change Is Strange

The first challenge that faces us, according to Matthew 21, verse 15, is that it may not be what we’re used to. It says the chief priests became angry because the children were saying, “Hosanna to the Son of David.”

Some would argue that these kids didn’t know what they were talking about. They probably were just repeating what the crowd was saying earlier outside. Jesus affirmed their praise, because these children were open to see what God had really come to do.

Not some political thing, not some political deliverance. People were being healed inside the temple. The priests were thinking, “We’ve never seen that before.” Like the priests back then, we will need the faith of a child to see the new things God is doing and will be doing.

Change Is Hard

Some of you may know this already, but this is the second time Jesus comes in the temple and cleanses the temple. According to John, chapter 2, he had done this before earlier in his ministry. Before we judge these people and say, “Uh, these people can never learn,” let’s look at ourselves.

It is so easy to go back to business as usual. It is so easy to fall back into our destructive patterns. It is so easy to settle into apathy. So what are we supposed to do when fear and habits pull us back into stuff away from what God has called us to be?

The Hope of Change

Most of us who have had some life-changing experience with God want to be the kind of people God has called us to be. We can’t do it by ourselves. That’s our heart cry. It’s a deep desire for God’s healing. The heart cry is a deep desire for our relationships to be healed. We can’t do it by ourselves.

So what do we do?

We cry out, “We need you, God.” When we cry out to God and tell him, “We need you,” it allows God to drive out the things that stand in the way of his blessing. It allows God to drive out the things within us that stand in the way of the supernatural blessing He has for each one of us.

Verse 14 of Matthew 21 says the blind and the lame came to Jesus at the temple and Jesus healed them. The noise of the moneychangers, the buyers and the sellers, and the noise of the cattle is gone. Now there’s room for the people who need Jesus. What does it sound like? What’s the sound of people set free and healed? It sounds like the laughter of children from verse 15, shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David.” Translated it means, “Yes, God is healing us. Yes, God is saving us.”

It’s the sound of the joy that God has promised in his house of prayer. God wants all of you, not just the acceptable part of us, or what we think is the acceptable part of us. God is searching and looking for people who are broken and people who need Jesus and who know they need a Savior. If that’s you, He makes room for you. He makes room for true worship in His house. He makes room for the prayer of our hearts,”I need you, God.”

A House of Prayer Renovation Part 1 Part 1 of 3

A House of Prayer Renovation Part 2 Part 2 of 3

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)