Have you ever pondered the term, “House of Prayer”?
It was originally coined by God and recorded by the prophet Isaiah in chapter 56, verse 7. God said,
“Then I will bring them to my holy mountain and make them happy in my house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be acceptable on my altar, because my house will be called a house of prayer for all nations”
In the example, the term can be both a noun (person, place or thing) and a verb (action, state or occurrence). Daring to be both bold, I would assert that it was towards this end, that God choose it.
Clearly, in the first usage, the term is definitely a noun. God’s house is a place. God desires to make people happy in His house in which praying is done. Further it says, God desires to take people to His house to make them happy. God, being God and creator of all things, can differentiate what makes for true happiness. Man not so much, as often is the case; we flit and flutter about for decades searching for discernible meaning of significant events or overall existence after such events. But in this verse and others, we are told simply and as a matter of fact, “We exist to bring God glory” and are “happiest when making God happy or bringing pleasure to God” (John 17; Thomas, 2013 Supreme Pleasure)
However, more than the first, I am most intrigued by the second usage. This usage is as a verb and is ambitious! God’s intent denotes action, a strong desire that is specifically directed toward a goal, an outcome i.e. prayer for all peoples who congregate within nations.
Close your eyes and imagine for a moment, this place, God’s House, the physical, Old Testament Tabernacle. Imagine the tent Tabernacle out in the wilderness moving from place to place with Moses. Now think about inner sanctum, the holy place… the holy of holies where God’s glory dwelt. Imagine Gods radiant glory in this holy place. Imagine it as Christ revealed on the mountain of transfiguration.
Six days later Jesus took with him Peter, James, and John, and led them up a high mountain, where they were alone. As they looked on, a change came over Jesus, and his clothes became shining white—whiter than anyone in the world could wash them (Mark 9: 2-3).
You may be wondering, okay… what is your point, what are you trying to say?
Okay, well here goes…. Are we not told in the New Testament that we too can be a Tabernacle of God’s glory, His House of Prayer? 1 Corinthians 3:16 says,
“Don’t you know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you?”
It says we are to behave as the House of Prayer that God has meant for us to be. Wow! What would happen if we determined to live this concept with our whole hearts?
How would things change if we decided our life’s ambition, our purpose was to become a House of Prayer?
I think for myself, if my true ambition was to become God’s holy Tabernacle, 2 Corinthians 6:16 would not sting so much…
“Can God’s temple contain false gods? Clearly, we are the temple of the living God. As God said, “I will live and walk among them. I will be their God, and they will be my people.”
Is it possible to live as God’s holy tabernacle, becoming the holy of holies, where His shikinah glory could dwell?
Christ seemed to think so…
“Then [Christ] taught the people, “It is written in the Scriptures that God said, ‘My Temple will be called a house of prayer for the people of all nations Mark 11: 17a”.
It’s funny, most of the time we act as if prayer is optional or forget to add it as part of our purpose for existence. Christ never did.
“Very early the next morning, Jesus got up and went to a place where he could be alone and pray” Mark 1:35
Christ though perfectly holy, regarded prayer paramount. If Christ, God in flesh (John 1: 14), prayed…. how much more important is it for us! Before considering any other goal, prayer should be our supreme ambition that drives all other thought and activities.
Moreover, in the book of Isaiah, God gives prayer direction. To live as God’s House, His holy tabernacle would not be for personal gain or to pray only for me and mine, but to live in active, earnest prayer for the nations… praying for peoples who don’t know God, who live in darkness, who are hostile to the truth and may have no hope of hearing about what God has done for them and His plan for rescue…
Imagine what would happen if we all became Gods house of prayer and we began to fulfill our God given purpose to shining forth out into the darkness of a cold and lonely world.
What would happen indeed…. more to come.