Praying Through the Bible #81
TEXT: Isaiah 56:1-7
We are all familiar with the story in the New Testament about how Jesus Christ goes into the Temple and finds that the religious leaders have turned it into a marketplace. There is all manner of buying and selling going on there. Jesus made a whip and began driving the merchants out of the temple. He famously said, “It is written, my house shall be called a house of prayer, but ye have made it a den of thieves.”
John tells us that the disciples recalled an Old Testament passage that says, ‘Zeal for thine house hath eaten me up.’ However, another Old Testament passage is also involved in this story, and that is the passage we just read. Jesus Christ was quoting the message that God the Father had given to Isaiah when He said, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer.’
It is a tragedy today that many Christians — just like the Jewish religious leaders — have abandoned one of the main purposes of the church, and that is to be a ‘house of prayer.’ According to the book, Evangelism: Christ’s Imperative Commission, by Roland Leavell, statistics show that while 30% of people who claim to be Christians never attend a Sunday church service, 80% of people who claim to be Christians never attend a prayer meeting. What is perhaps even sadder is that 20% never even pray.
Today, I want to share with you briefly from Isaiah on the subject of the house of prayer. From this passage, we notice three things.
1. The house of prayer is a place for obedient believers. Notice some of the people whom God says He will bring into His house of prayer: “For thus saith the Lord unto the eunuchs that keep my sabbaths, and choose the things that please me, and take hold of my covenant…Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer…”
2. The house of prayer is a place for all people. Verse 6 reads, “Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to the Lord, to serve him, and to love the name of the Lord, to be his servants… Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer.”
3. The house of prayer is a place for blessed people. Verse 7 reads, “I will make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people.” There are blessings to be received if you go to the house of prayer.