Ever been to Greg’s House of Guitars…you can also buy harmonicas and banjos there, but Greg primarily deals in guitars.
Ever been to Hilda’s House of Boots…you know you can get other things there, too, but boots is their specialty.
I am intently trying to hear what Jesus wanted me to hear when He stated plainly that His house was to be called a house of prayer.
Ever been to a House of Prayer…other things happen there, too, but the focus, the emphasis, the heart of what happens there is prayer. It’s the specialty of the house.
When people go there they anticipate that fervent prayer has been part of the preparation for everything that will happen. It’s not enough to gather, sit for an hour and listen to a lecture, spiritual though the lecture may be. It is not acceptable that the bulletin secretary chose the morning hymn. It is not sufficient that at the time for “special music” someone announces, “Well, was anyone asked to sing for us today?” If prayer is the specialty of the house, the worship ingredients must be soaked in prayer, bathed in it, marinated in it. This is not a plea for better planning; this is an appeal for better praying.
What does a house of prayer look like? Well, for instance…
Perhaps on Friday evening some of the members gather in the worship center. To pray. They prayerwalk the Sabbath School rooms entreating God that salvation will happen there the next morning in the hearts of their children. They prayerwalk the platform, the baptistry, the greeters’ station at the front door. They pray at the piano and the organ. They walk among the pews pleading for those who will be sitting there in just a few hours. They bless the mothers’ room.
The next morning, maybe half an hour before the worship service begins, the pastor and the elders gather somewhere – to pray. Just to pray. Some young people – or children – join them and lay hands on the pastor and intercede for him/her and the morning message. These local church leaders gather because they know they are not worthy to stand before God’s people without His cleansing first preparing them. It’s a time of confession, repentance, joyful anticipation, pleading that the Holy Spirit may find a welcome to do what He draws near to do – move the hearts of the worshipers to the cross. During the next hour the population of eternity will be changed and the enemy will suffer a stunning defeat. Praying does that. That’s why this must be a house of prayer.