A House of Prayer, a Temple of God

Mt 21:13 (NKJV)
And He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’   but you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’

Mark 11:17 (NKJV)
Then He taught, saying to them, “ Is it not written, “My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations’? But you have made it a ‘den of thieves. ’”

Lk 18:1 (NKJV)
Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart,

1Th 5:17-18 (NKJV)
Pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

(Col. 3:17 NKJV)
And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

2 Peter 1:1-4 (NKJV)
Simon Peter, a bondservant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:
Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

1 Corinthians 3:16-17 (NKJV)
Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? 17 If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (NKJV)
Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.

John 17:20-23 (NKJV)
I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; 21 that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. 22 And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one:23 I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.

Jn 20:21-23 (NKJV)
So Jesus said to them again, “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” 22 And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, “ Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.

Some of my thoughts on these scriptures:

I have been about discipleship and Intimacy (a close, personal, dynamic fellowship) with God and prayer (conversation, communion with Father) most of my Christian walk. Talking with Father (listening and obeying) has kept me. I live in search of a greater understanding and knowledge of Him, so therefore I must communicate and walk with Him more. These previously written scriptures and a few more on prayer and relationship (sonship) are my foundation. Jn 17:3 tells us that eternal life is to “know” Father and Jesus His Son. If you want to know someone you have to walk with them, talk with them, do things together and spend time just being with each other. Jesus in the “first-born”, modeling what a “son” of God is to be. He also manifests the actions we are to live, demonstrating, living out the commands of Father. Salvation being fulfilled with His life, as an example and model for us to follow as we are “ambassadors of the Kingdom”

Throughout the Bible we see “prayer”. There are so many forms of this; supplication, intercession, thanksgiving, communion, worship, etc. I am going to focus on prayer in the New Testament, because in the NT we have been translated into a new position. We now are “sons” (children of God). Jesus makes a distinction from the Old Testament to the New. He fulfilled and did away with the past covenant based on the Law and revealed the reality of what Father has always wanted God and man to be –family! As servants (Old Testament) we behave and hear differently than we do as children (New Testament). There is no comparison between the two. It is like apples and oranges – two completely different fruits. Our position changed and that changes everything else.

A servant mentality is about performance and “my needs”. He does what he does out of a desire to “get”. The relationship between the master of the house (Father) and the servant is all about pleasing Father by work done for the sake of being “kept”. Accomplishments, tasks completed are done for the reward. It is not about being a part of the family. Though loved, the relationship exists because of the servant pleasing Father by actions of obedience done to maintain a place in the masters kingdom. The quality of the performance of his duties is generally based on fear of losing his position, relationship by not doing what he was told to do well enough. A son’s mentality is totally different. He does things to please father also but it is out of relationship with Father, not to gain one. He does not fear losing his position, because he is a son, not a servant! He is not worried about provision; His needs are taken care of by Father whether he performs perfectly or not!

To be “a house of prayer” or to “pray without ceasing” you may have to adjust what you think is prayer and how you have been taught to pray. A house of prayer is a place of communion. It is a place of intimate relationships –family.

To always pray is to live in the place of hearing, listening and responding.  It is like putting a cell phone ear bud in your ear, dialing Jer. 33.3 and never hanging up.  Being “the temple of God” is a place of living with God’s promised presence in us, anticipating a naturally supernatural God to walk and live through us.

Do all things “in Jesus Name” (as Jesus would do them).—“giving thanks in everything”— God is not telling me to end everything I speak with, “in Jesus Name”, nor just to do them, I am to be thankful and do what HE would do like He would  – giving honor to Him.

This word is saying “do things the way Jesus did or would “. In Christianity we have made those 3 words “In Jesus Name” a magical statement/formula almost. I do not believe that was what the Lord wanted. We might need to reverence His name a bit more and be careful how we inject those words into our speech. He is and was a manifestation of Father and I doubt Jesus would use his authority as loosely as we attempt to. 

I believe that Father wants us to live differently than Israel. He wants us to see differently and to commune with Him from a different position than they saw themselves in. If they had known, not just identified God as Father, would it have changed the way they saw things? If they had really realized that God was not just for them but saw them as His children, would they have reacted and “prayed” what they prayed. I believe had they known who they were and who God is it might have changed what they prayed about Egypt to something like this; “Father, please deliver these Egyptians from their iniquities and forgive them. They don’t know you and are so lost”. Instead of, “Oh God deliver us from their hand, smite them, look upon their treatment of us, how long must we suffer?”. (neil paraphrase)

I recognized early on that Jesus never did anything unless He heard from Father; He knew Father’s character, purpose and desire. He is a son! He was led or directed by Father specifically each day.  This concept that Jesus models changes prayer, it puts a need for intimacy with Father into it and a requirement for prayer to be in response to Father’s direction. No matter what it looks like, be thankful that you get to hear, trust and obey. Jesus’ time with Father (prayer time) ended with Him being with people and naturally supernatural, carrying out Father’s purpose and desires.

Father has brought me back to the reality of “being a house of prayer to all nations” recently. He then connected it to discipleship. Discipleship is bringing someone else into being “a house of prayer”-being a vessel like Jesus.  Prayer is not about sequestering yourself alone in a room, although that is a part of the relationship at times, but it is about living in God’s presence, walking and speaking from that position. It is about bringing others into His presence through a lifestyle of intimacy. Prayer is the conversation and communion of intimacy lived out naturally supernaturally in a dying world that produces God’s Zoe life in others. It is listening more than petition, it is responding more than asking. It is trusting and obeying He who lives in us, establishing His kingdom, making disciples (Mt. 28:18-20) who look and walk like Jesus. If “prayer” does not lead us to bringing others into intimacy with Father and loosing them into the world as the hand of God to fulfill God’s purpose, we may need to re-evaluate the fullness of our concept of prayer. Intercession is more about laying your life down for others – not sitting alone praying words without interaction with people. When Jesus prayed, the end of His prayer was that His prayer changed or touched people with needs that He encountered. The lost, lame, blind or dying received life. He walked amongst those He interceded for and touched them!

When I think about strategic prayer or prayer walking now, I am in a much different place than I was when Dana and I started teaching how to start a disciple making movement. I had all the teaching on prayer that everyone else had. We had the revelations of those who walked before us. But, we are to build on these past revelations, not count them as complete thus I had a hunger for more results than I was seeing. The key to Christian faith is “prayer” or “communion” with Father through Jesus.

The reality of life in Jesus and being “houses of prayer” is the continued revelation that it takes to complete a house. First the footings and the foundation, then the floor, then the walls, then the roof, then you start completing the inside. You get the idea; a lot of differently talented and equipped people are needed to make the frame of a house into a home.  I have listed all of the major structural components needed to make a house solid and able to withstand in the storms it will face. That is like the Word, it is the framework of all we do. In the Word is found all the basic elements required to frame life with God. It also gives us a framework for being a house of prayer. I believe if we are to live as “Temples of God and Houses of Prayer” we are going to have to go beyond the outline of prayer given in the word and look at prayer examples given especially in the New Testament. The examples of a life of prayer given in the NT are like putting all the finish work (cabinets, stove, counters, beds, etc) into a house to make it a home. Those components make a house livable and inviting for others to come into. Most prayer in the NT is about others, there is some about self but not a lot. As a child of God, we do not need to be concerned with our need, (Jesus tells us this several times but we do not really trust what He said about not being concerned with what we will eat, wear or where we will live). Our focus is to be the Lost, not the found.

Prayer; a few terms involved;

Prayer = devout petition, spiritual communion, entreaty, appeal, imploration, beseeching, invocation, grace = conversing with God

Strategic = crucial, critical, decisive, important, vital, imperative.

Devout = adherent, deep, earnest, faithful, fervent genuine, heartfelt

Petition = application, plea, appeal, request, solicitation,

Communion = association, interchange or sharing of thoughts or emotions, intimate communication, the act of sharing or holding in common, close fellowship, unity.

Ok, so how do we make “a house of prayer for all nations”(us) a place where Father will be happy to reside in and that the world would be interested in? How do we make it a place where His love, authority and strength not only reside but are effective in bringing His will and Kingdom to bear on earth? We must remember that God does not really care for religion. He is about relationship and; Lu 19:10, “The Son of man has come to seek and save the Lost”, along with, 1 Jn3:8b, “The Son of God was manifest to destroy the works of the devil”… So the pious aspects of prayer that make most everything about us that we have learned may have to go out the window. Look at the man Jesus walking on earth demonstrating what man and God together are to look like. He demonstrates and models for us living as a “house of prayer”. The framework of “a house of prayer” given in the NT needs to filled out and made into a home by looking at the life of Jesus, the disciples, Paul and a few other examples from the word as they lived out “being” temples of God, houses of prayer.

If we are to become the vessels (houses of prayer) that pray the “effective fervent prayer of a righteous man that makes much power available”, we may need to be willing to see what we do not want to see about our “prayers” in order to see what we want to see through our prayers.

Mt 28:18 –Mt 28:20 (NKJV)
And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”  Amen.

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