“My house will be called a house of prayer…” – Matthew 21:13
Jesus visits the temple in the book of Matthew and he is frustrated by what he sees. Many people are gathered there to offer their sacrifices, to worship, and to pray. But, there are some who are out to make a profit off the holy intentions of God’s people. It is at this scene where Jesus gives us a clear showing of his passion for justice and his concern for holiness. This temple was set apart for reverent actions. It was dedicated to being used as a place where the people can connect with God. But it was being defiled by the dark intentions of some who did not know the purpose of the holy place.
Jesus was a master of taking a real-life scenario and turning it into a teachable moment. He spoke to the farmers in parables about the seed sower. He spoke to the carpenters about the wise and the foolish builders. And he called his fishermen disciples out of their vocations to become “fishers of men.” Jesus was no less intentional with his words in rebuking the people in the temple as he cleared it out. He could have said, “Get out of here. This is a place of worship.” He would not have been incorrect if he chose to say, “This temple is supposed to be a house of godly fellowship.” Certainly, no one would have corrected Jesus if he had decided to say, “You people should not be doing these things in this house of service to God.” But Jesus did not use any of these descriptions. Jesus quotes an Old Testament passage to explain to the people what the purpose of the temple was meant to be. He says, “My house will be called a house of prayer …” (Matthew 21:13).
I am so glad that Enon is known in community as a praying church. We continue to see God move and work in mighty ways. We strive to continuously do our part in preparing the way for God to change lives. But, we are well aware that God is working through the earnest prayers being lifted up by this body of believers. The temptation for many of us is to begin seeing God’s movement as a signal to let up and not pray as earnestly. Jesus’ words remind us that the urgency and priority of prayer in our lives never becomes less. Yes, we gather several times weekly for worship, fellowship, and service. But together, we are a house of prayer. Let us press on in prayer that God will continue to do His work in and through us for the building of His kingdom and to the glory of Christ.