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)

What can we expect when we turn to Jesus?

January 19, 2011

When we’re in trouble,and we turn to God, what can we expect?
The Bible paints an encouraging picture. Let’s take a look at what God does, based on what Jesus did:

1. Jesus accepted people
In the Bible, we find stories about people who came to Him. Jesus didn’t reject them-ever. He was moved with compassion for people, especially the those who were sick.
Tonight, Lyn told her story from being a woman of means and independence to becoming someone who finds herself depending on the kindness of family and strangers. She has been out of a job for almost two years, and to say that the experience has been stressful for this single mother of two is an understatement. Still, she says with gratitude and a trace of astonishment that she has been able to feed her kids and keep busy through volunteering. Her life has been enriched by the lesson on depending on God and keeping the faith. Please pray for Lyn and her search for employment. Of course, she is not the only one who has been on a long-term search for a job.

A whole family came with their three children to the House of Prayer. An unexpected bill caused them a lot of stress. Husband and wife Al and Maria pleaded: “We just want a victory, and to hold on and not be discouraged!” As in the case of Lyn, people who could relate to their situation simply surrounded the young family who came to find spiritual support tonight. They had been homeless at one point. Their ten year old girl especially remembered the prayers for her a year ago. She and her family prayed for a home of their own. She was failing in school and wanted to not be in trouble anymore. God had answered both prayers and it gave her hope that He would come through again for them.

2. Jesus prayed in different ways
Jesus sometimes used dirt, spit, and sometimes he simply spoke or touched people. There are no formulas to reach God.

He is so huge. How can we think that it’s possible that we can manipulate or box God in? We pray to Jesus any way we can. Sometimes, all we can do is yell: “Jesus, help!” or as in the case of Peter: “Jesus, save Me!

Tonight,a niece came with her friend to ask everyone to pray for her uncle Ivan. She invited people to symbolically tie knots on a prayer quilt. This way, when Uncle Ivan runs his hand over it, he would remember that people had prayed for him.

At one point, I read a letter sent by the sibling of one of the pastors on staff. Last week, this relative was anointed with oil.

“My heart is full of gratitude for strangers who were praying for my surgery, recovery and victory over cancer(…). To all the saints of God at House of Prayer, I send hugs and thank yous. I can never repay you.”

We come to Jesus anyway we can and pray to him any way we can. Sometimes through a quilt, and other times through the gift of Anointing.

3. Jesus sometimes prayed more than once for some individuals or with more intensity.
The first example that comes to the mind of many is Mary Magdalene. She had seven demons, not just one. Jesus didn’t give up on people. There are times when we have to pray longer, more often and with more intensity. Even, through fasting as He noted after casting evil spirits from a boy. (See Mark 9)

Sometimes it takes a while for the answers to come? What can we do? A young adult’s heart was breaking and children, parents, grandparents rushed all around before I even asked. The people encircled this individual and held on. They held on to one another. Together, we hold on to Jesus.

What do to when we need to be renewed mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually?
We come to Jesus.
We come any way we can.
We hold on to Jesus.
And we hold on to each other.

Praying for our Joy…and Hope for the journey.
pastor Sabine