Jesus cleansed the Temple twice – once at the beginning of His ministry (John 2:13–22), and again at the end of His ministry. He started and ended with a focus on prayer and worship. Luke 19:45-48 records, “And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who sold, saying to them, ‘It is written, ‘My house shall be a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a den of robbers.’’ And he was teaching daily in the temple. The chief priests and the scribes and the principal men of the people were seeking to destroy him, but they did not find anything they could do, for all the people were hanging on his words.”
Typical of Jesus’ actions, there were corresponding verses from the Old Testament that foretold what the Messiah would do or expressed the heart of the issue from God’s perspective. In this situation, Jesus quoted from Isaiah 56:7 and Jeremiah 7:11 as He was driving out the people who were selling in the Temple.
Warren Wiersbe made a clever but sad observation, “Instead of praying for the people, the priests were preying on the people!” Their words fells to the ground unclaimed as they bartered over prices, while Jesus’ words floated through the air as “all the people were hanging on his words.” His words were lifting them up and they wanted more. We know that God’s Word will not return void.
What is meant by a “house of prayer?” Prayer is a word that is used about 316 times in the Bible. In its purest form, it is a conversation with God. A conversation implies or entails speaking and listening.
When you come for a Sunday gathering do you place yourself in the mindset of being in a “house of prayer?”
As you are singing, are you thinking through the words, speaking the words confidently, while yet listening to that still small voice inside of you?
During the message, do you process the sermon with its interpretation and application? Do you strive to understand what God is saying through the Pastor? Are you listening to the Holy Spirit and dialoguing with Him on what you need to do?
During prayer, do you think through what you say and do you allow for time to listen to what He might say?
In giving, do we follow God’s lead through conversation with Him? Do we care what He thinks?
During communion, do we actively listen to the story and again affirm our faith?
If we do not handle these questions correctly, then maybe we just come to church to get something. It is a sort of preying on God instead of praying to God.
“Watch and pray
that you may not enter into temptation.
The spirit indeed is willing,