Here are three steps you can take to fulfill what God calls us to be.
Posted in , Aug 5, 2021
God wants you to be a house of prayer. Sounds weird, right? Like saying, “God wants me to be a fried green tomato.”
But on the day Jesus cleansed the Jerusalem Temple, He explained His actions by quoting the Father’s words to the prophet Isaiah: “My house will be called a house of prayer” (Matthew 21:12-13, NIV).
And Paul told the church at Corinth, “your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit” (1 Corinthians 6:19, NIV).
No wonder Jesus got so upset when He saw greed, wickedness and exploitation in the Jerusalem Temple, because that’s not what a house of prayer is like, and that temple was a prototype. It represented each of us as followers of Jesus.
“But,” you may say, “I am a lot of things, but I am nowhere near being able to call myself a house of prayer.”
That’s fair. But there was probably a time when you were nowhere near being able to call yourself a follower of Jesus. The question is not, “Am I a house of prayer?” but “Am I willing to cooperate with God in becoming a house of prayer, as God calls me to be?”
If you are, then here are three steps to bring you closer to that place:
1) Ask for a Clean Sweep
As Jesus evicted the moneychangers from the temple, so He will sweep clean the temple of your heart. His actions show us that we can’t become a house of prayer without throwing out the greed, bitterness, unforgiveness, lust, pride or other uncleanness that live within us. Invite Him to make a clean sweep of our souls.
2) Make a Fresh Start
You may be like many who have tried repeatedly to pray every day or to read through the Bible in a year or any number of things to make prayer more a part of your life. And maybe it even worked for a while before you lost momentum. Still, it’s likely that every good habit you have today—such as making your bed or locking up your house at night—was repeated many times before it became habitual. So why not make a fresh start today on something that will change your heart, soul and mind into a more prayerful place?
3) Accept a Humble Beginning
Most of my past efforts at making prayer a daily part of my life failed, not because I wasn’t sincere, but because I was arrogant. Oddly, I tried to start each new prayer habit in a spirit of pride and self-sufficiency. For example, I somehow thought that I, who had hardly been praying at all except to say grace before meals, could start by praying an hour every day! No wonder such resolutions failed. I became more a house of prayer, though, when I bowed before God and asked Him to grant me the grace of a praying heart and made that my first prayer of the day.
Regardless of how prayerful or prayerless you’ve been in the past, try this: make it your goal for the next 28 days (that’s how long they say it takes for a practice to become a habit) to do something more than you’ve been doing to cooperate with God in making you a house of prayer.
That may be five minutes of prayer every morning or a few short prayers at bedtime or enlisting a prayer partner two days a week. Or maybe it’s praying while you exercise or something else entirely. Whatever it looks like for you, start today to let the temple of the Holy Spirit that is your body, heart and soul become more like a house of prayer.