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Mar 11:17 And he was teaching them and saying to them, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations’? But you have made it a den of robbers.”
Jesus has just removed the money changers and the sellers of sacrificial animals out of the Temple. He says that this is to be a place for prayer, not commerce. Sometimes I wonder myself, many churches seem to be places for money changing and for all types of money raising and programs, but not much in the way of prayer. In the small town in South Central Texas where I live there has been only one church for a number of years. Our town boasts a population of less than 100 persons, and the Church draws an average crowd of 15 to 25 persons each Sunday. The mother church in the big town 10 miles away supplied the priest, and has now decided to close this little RC church because they have more important things to do in the bigger town. This is a shame, for this little church was serving widows and older folks and they are now told they have to travel to the bigger town to receive the sacraments of the church.
I am not saying that this is a money issue, but it does seem that little churches are being sold out all across our nation, the big mega-churches with their programs and their money are taking over. Well that is another subject for another time. Today, I want to tell you that the Lord has laid on my heart to start a house of prayer in our little town. Not a church mind you, but rather a house of prayer that will be for those prayer warriors who need a place to come to pray for our communities in our County, and for the church, and the nation. As well as whatever else the Lord may lay upon our hearts, there are a couple of folks along with my wife and I who are praying for guidance in this endeavor. As a retired pastor, I am on a fixed and small budget my wife is also retired and so we cannot just up and build a place.
However, I know that our God will bring this to fruition, and so we are in prayer for His guidance, since we do want to make, somehow, a House of Prayer for the Lord our God. Jesus said that if we walk in his ways, and do his will, then we may ask for whatever it is we need and he will provide. We need a House of Prayer to the Lord and so we will continue to pray for this to happen.
We need prayer warriors to lift this before the Lord, will you join us in the endeavor? Ask the Lord to show us the way, to open the door to this needs fulfillment? Thank you, God bless and keep you.
Jas 5:14 ”Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. 16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” (ESV)
As I was in prayer this morning about a prayer ministry in our county, God impressed upon me that my counterpart another prayer warrior, needed to be in prayer for our ministry also. Now I have been in conversation with my Lord many times over the years, and sometimes I don’t hear him as well as I did today. He always answers the prayers, because we are in conversation together. In other words, I don’t just pray and then walk away, I like to listen to hear what my Lord will say to me. It is interesting that we Christians like to tell God what we want, but we don’t wait to hear what God has for us.
It is a difficult thing this being in conversation, with other people as well as with God, since we seem to want to be sure that whoever we are talking with, hears what we have to say, but for some reason, we don’t want to wait for them to speak to us. I sometimes watch “The O’Reilly Factor” on Fox news at night, and I get irritated when he interrupts his guest and won’t let them speak unless it is what he wants to hear. I understand it is his show and he gets to set the rules, but to me, it is awfully rude to ask someone a question, and when they begin to work out where they want to go with the answer, they are not allowed to do so. They are in the “No-Spin Zone” as O’Reilly says. Of course if they are saying things that are not truthful or that are shaded as to the truth, I think I can probably figure that out by listening to the entire conversation.
Now, let me say, this used to be me. I knew my own truth and if you didn’t toe my line, well I wouldn’t let you speak. I was a rude and obnoxious person, then the Lord made it clear to me that I was rude and obnoxious. I try now to be the kind of person God wants me to be, sometimes I will slip, but I feel that gentle nudge in my heart that says I am slipping. I go back to listening rather than controlling the conversation. James puts it really well when he tells us that we are to confess our sins to one another and pray for one another, that we may be healed. He is not necessarily talking about physical healing, but rather soul healing. Jesus always worked to heal souls as well as bodies. I realized that when God made me think about what was being said in these healing times of Jesus. Hear this encounter:
Mar 10:51 “And Jesus said to him, “What do you want me to do for you?” And the blind man said to him, “Rabbi, let me recover my sight.” 52 And Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your faith has made you well.” And immediately he recovered his sight and followed him on the way.”
What a powerful statement, your faith has made you well. Note that the blind man who received his sight not only was physically healed but then wanted to follow Jesus. How many of these people were healed in their souls and spread the news that the Messiah had come? We don’t know since we don’t know how many people were actually healed and went on to speak of the Healer. The blind man, btw offered up a prayer of supplication, Mar 10:47 And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”
Jesus had compassion, how often do we pray, and wait to hear what God will say to us? I’m afraid that it is not nearly as often as we should. Brethren, take time out of your busy schedule to spend time with God today, to be in conversation with the one who loves you, and wants to share your life with you. Let me know how well you do when you converse with our Heavenly Father.
God bless and keep you, this day and all days.
2Chron 7:14 (GW) “However, if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves, pray, search for me, and turn from their evil ways, then I will hear their prayer from heaven, forgive their sins, and heal their country.”
There are many folks in our nation today, who call for rebellion, or for political action, or boycotts of this or that person or TV show. Left and Right say and do hateful things in the name of fairness or equity. Yet this nation contnues down a path that leads to destruction. There are some who are beginning to see what we can only call dissolution, decadence in our society. The scriptures tell us what we need to do. In this verse from 2 Chronicles we see a call to repentence, a call to humble ourselves before God and turn from our evil ways. When we read the prophet Daniel we find prayer and fasting by Daniel begging God to forgive the Hebrew people of their iniquity. Daniel confesses the sins of the people. When we read Ezra, we find the people crying out when they hear the words of scripture, falling prostrate before the glory of God.
Christians, when are we going to do the same. Our nation is involved in child porn, abuse of women and children, degradation in our entertainment venues, and sexual mores that would never be tolerated in a truly Christian society. We claim to be a Christian nation, 75% of people claim to go to church every week, yet, sexual degradation, moral degradation, hatreds, and myriad other sins are rampant in this society.
O God, forgive this nation, forgive this people, for we have strayed far from your ways We pray for your guidance and your direction, your Spirit to move in our lives and hearts. Turn us from our evil O God of the universe, help us to return to the path of righteousness. We are sinners living amongst a people who wallow in sin. Forgive us O God, cleanse our nation that we might once again be a people of holiness and grace. Loving our neighbor and You our God. In the precious name of Jesus. Amen.