By Jennifer Rubino
When Jesus entered the temple courts, he began to drive out those who were selling. 46 “It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be a house of prayer'; but you have made it ‘a den of robbers.'”(Luke 19:45 NIV)
In the days leading up to Jesus’s death, he experienced and showed a variety of emotions. On this day, upon entering the temple courts, he became angry and let everyone know it. He had every right to be angry. The people in the temple courts were selling goods such as cloth, food, and livestock. They had set up tables that were being operated by the money changers. I can only imagine it was a smelly and filthy place, full of sweaty animals and men. It was no doubt loud and the sounds weren’t at all holy but more like men haggling and arguing over goods. It is hard to imagine a church today behaving in such a manner. However, Jesus is quick to tell us that the church is a house of prayer.
If you are reading this and attend church or have ever attended church, take warning. If you do not go to church or have never been, take warning also. This is a lesson for all of us. Many churches today are struggling with attendance and finances. They offer classes on this or that. They have fund raisers for this or that. They have entertainment that may or may not satisfy everyone entering their doors. They may have a suave preacher that preaches sermons to make them feel good. Their youth groups go on all kinds of trips. They conduct dramatic presentations and choir performances that are borderline professional. They take up offerings to construct large buildings, buy decorative items for the sanctuary, a new bus or a plane.
I am not going to judge and say any of this is outright wrong. If you need a bigger building, build it. The point is this; church is supposed to be a house of prayer. Are churches today spending more time having meetings about all the things they want or feel they need than they are praying? My guess would be yes. This time spent on all these other priorities is robbing them of precious prayer time with the Lord. Just think how much more time the people in the temple would have had with Christ that day if they hadn’t been doing all the things that made him angry.
Just take a look at a church bulletin or their website when you get a chance. Look at your church’s bulletin or website right now. How many Prayer Meetings do you have? When you have your meeting is it once a week, once a month or at all? When you meet, what are you praying for? Are you merely going down a list of names sitting in the pew or are you on your hands and knees side by side or hand in hand truly lifting up those they need it? In your prayer meetings, are you taking the time to thank the Lord for all He does for your church? When was the last time you as a member of the congregation called the church together and said, “Hey, let’s meet up on so and so day to pray for __________. I know it’s not scheduled but this is something important that we should take to the Lord.” When was the last time someone called you to do the same?
My church is as guilty as others. I am as guilty as others. Today though could be a fresh start. It would be a time when a church of ten or a church of ten thousand comes together and changes how it prays. I encourage all churches to think about how often and what they pray and if prayer isn’t taking up most of the time in church or isn’t a priority then change it now. If you aren’t a church goer, be wise upon choosing. Make sure the church you go to is a house of prayer and not just a building to only serve the needs and wants of its congregation or worse yet, the outside world.
Jennifer Rubino is an author, artist and speaker of Christian genre. She is the Founder of The Find HOPE Here Project and loves Christ. Her first children’s book, I SEE GOD! is available at Amazon.com. Visit her website at http://www.hopeisnotlost.net.