The Church is a Place of Prayer
Why do we pray? In Matthew 21:12-13 Jesus says the Temple is His house and it’s purpose is for Prayer.
“Jesus went into the temple complex and drove out all those buying and selling in the temple. He overturned the moneychangers’ tables and the chairs of those selling doves. And He said to them, “It is written, My house will be called a house of prayer. But you are making it a den of thieves!”
In our homes we don’t pray as much, I suppose the home is a house of dwelling even though we pray at times. But when we come to church it should be a given that we must pray. If God says, “my house will be called a house of prayer” then what must be predominant in the church is prayer. We must not just concentrate on items and ignore prayer. You don’t expect to find Jaloff rice at Pizza Hut. Pizza Hut is a house of Pizza. Before you even go to McDonalds you already know what food to expect there. In the same way Jesus expects his church to pray. It makes it more serious when we are called the church. We must learn to pray more than we play.
I’m sure this was not the first time Jesus walked around and passed the temple to see the moneychangers in there, selling and trading instead of praying. But on this particularly day Jesus took action and kicked them, turning over their tables. Because of what was going on in there, that house could no longer be called a temple. It was now turned into a market. The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 3:16 “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” here the bible is talking about your body, therefore there is also an expectation of prayer even for that temple which is you.
There is a key phrase that says “ you have turned it into a den of thieves”. Lets look into ourselves individually and as a church and analyse what is in our hearts and what tables have we set up in there to sell and exchange prayer for? This is what Jesus is coming to challenge because he wants the church to serve his purpose, not that of the moneychangers.
Another question to us is when did these tables come into the temple? What was in the mind of the person that carried the first table into the house of God and how could he have introduced a new concept of trading and money changing without challenge? I believe that they must have colluded with the priests whose priority changed. The priests who were in charge must have given them permission to do this in the temple and I doubt if they did it for free. They sold out the place of prayer to moneychangers for money. We must be careful what we trade for money because when Jesus comes, he will turn every table over and we remain empty handed in his presence. This is why it is important to pray for us pastors to be strong and not allow these things to happen. Otherwise, you may find dirt and waste from the selling and exchanging of doves in your hearts, or the spirit of the moneychanger. This will move you away from prayer. My house shall be called a house of prayer!
Paul tells Timothy in 1 Timothy 6:10 “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil”. This is why prayer is crucial in dealing with the spirit of the moneychanger who wants to take over your temple to display their merchandise, in the process planting all forms of evil. If we are not careful, we will be deceived to allow these things in our heart when that was not the intent and purpose of God for us. Let us keep the church for what it was intended for.
Thieves have a father and he is Satan. Therefore, through the money changing and dove selling you have allowed the sons of Satan inside your house. By so doing you open your life to destruction and plunder because the Word tells us, “the thief come only to kill steal and destroy”.
You may be tempted to think that its just a few gentle doves coming in but the mission of the thief is to kill and destroy. He will do this right inside the temple where Jesus wants to give life. Church leadership may collude with corrupt people for the sake of money and set up tables with doves, but where there are doves there is dove waste that will smell and mess your furniture. That’s why Jesus was furious and kicked them out turning the tables and saying, “This is a house of prayer”. Prayer is pure; if you pray you won’t need to waste time cleaning.
Now that you are in charge of your own temple I want to challenge you. If thieves have found a den in your heart then it is you who allowed them in, and you know how to get them out from Jesus’ example. If your house smells of dove waste it is on you. You will not be fresh until you return your heart to its original purpose. Be encouraged by the Word that says you will be restored if you accept Jesus in your temple. He will chase out every intruder. “…….for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession” (1 Peter 2:9). We are the house of God and what we must do the most is to pray.
Jesus was telling his disciple that anything they asked of the Father he would give them. But the one thing the disciples asked for was to be taught to pray as they realised the purpose of the house of God.
In prayer we present our heart to God; it’s where we repent of our wrongs and fix the things in us. We will not make it as a church if we don’t use our house for what it was meant for. If we don’t pray then soon doves will find their way inside, but know that prayer is good enough to keep the thieves and moneychangers away. A thief does not come to a house that is having a party or full of life but they seek out quiet houses that have had no movement for a long time. That’s why the bible says, “Pray with out ceasing” when you do this you keep the noise up to keep the moneychangers away.
Prayer also empties our hearts before the Father. So then church must be a place of emptying and purifying. A praying church is a church that will grow and overcome; it will express the love of God. It’s in prayer that God gives us answers and solutions to respond to the troubles of the world.
So this week I want to encourage you to get into prayer.
View Previous Articles
11 May 2014 – Values and Standards
27 April 2014 – It’s Time to Dig
20 April 2014 – Easter Sunday: The Facts About Resurrection
13 April 2014 – Our God is Holy
30 March 2014 – Mothers Day: The Great Mothers of the Bible
27 March 2014 – Beware Of Rebellion
18 March 2014 – God That Helps His People
12 March 2014 – The 5 Key Concepts of the Bible
13 February 2014 – The Power of Discipleship
19 January 2014 – Benefits of Fasting
12 January 2014 – Do Christians Have to Fast?
24 November 2013 – What Kind of A Christian Are You?
17 November 2013 – How Much Do We Trust God
10 November 2013 – Remembrance Sunday
03 November 2013 – Unity and Diversity One Body