(Part 3 of 3)
“And as he taught them, he said, “Is it not written: “My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations? But you have made it ‘a den of robbers.’” The chief priests and the teachers of the law heard this and began looking for a way to kill him, for they feared him, because the whole crowd was amazed at his teaching.”
Beware of becoming religious! The response to Jesus’ declaration to restore prayer to the spiritual life of Israel was swift. Unfortunately, the response was not one of repentance and vowing to return prayer to its proper place, but instead Jesus’ plea was met with a rebellious response housed in the form of religious indignation.
If fact, the religious leaders response to Jesus’ emphasis on prayer was the classic retort of many who are unwilling to repent of their sin; kill the messenger! They would rather kill Jesus before they would toss out those things that were occupying their lives; causing them abandon prayer as a vital component of their faith.
So it is with many people today. They would rather ignore the scripture, redefine faith, belittle pastors, and degrade the church before they would toss out those things in their lives that have caused them to abandon prayer as a vital component of their faith.
Their actions speak volumes to the real depth of their spiritual maturity. In fact, in my opinion, our time spent in prayer is a better indicator of our faith in God than our praise could ever be. Praise demonstrates our appreciation and thankfulness towards God. Prayer communicates our dependency on Him.
By eliminating the place of prayer, the religious leaders of Jesus day were proclaiming that they had stopped depending on God. They had no problem praising God and offering up adoration, but they abandoned the discipline that expressed a dependency on Him.
Armin R. Gesswein once said, “If you want to see how popular the church is, attend Sunday morning worship. If you want to see how popular the pastor is, attend Sunday evening. If you want to see how popular God is, attend the prayer meeting.”
How about you? Have you abandoned the place of prayer? What is occupying the time that you spend in prayer? Do you attend the prayer meeting at your church? Does your church even have prayer meetings?
It is time to toss over some tables and drive some things out so that we can once again make room for prayer!
Pastor Scott Burr