Mark 11:15-19 House of Prayer
15 And they came to Jerusalem. And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who sold and those who bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. 16 And he would not allow anyone to carry anything through the temple. 17 And he was teaching them and saying to them, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations’? But you have made it a den of robbers.” 18 And the chief priests and the scribes heard it and were seeking a way to destroy him, for they feared him, because all the crowd was astonished at his teaching. 19 And when evening came they went out of the city.
This has been a typical case until today when people turn the church into a marketplace. Maybe not literally, but many people who dislike Christians observed that some churches would use the “church” for business. Though not true, there is some sort of reality to some churches who have made it into a business. But I won’t dwell on that because we know that Jesus did not like that idea and despised the practice.
Instead, as I was reading the text, the Holy Spirit reminded me of how I sometimes treat the church as “business as usual.” That we have a tendency, including me, to just go through the motions of how we do things. I was in our family business for the longest time before becoming a pastor. As somebody who handles a retail store – business as usual means having the same routine without any effort to innovate or add more emotion to the routinary things we do to earn money and make more sales. It is the kind of attitude that long-term affects business because it is devoid of any emotions.
When Jesus overturned the marketplace inside the temple, he was emotionally affected by what was happening. The people have exerted their efforts towards earning money in the church rather than doing God’s business of prayer.
Yesterday, I went to church to finish my work and sermon preparation and saw our staff coming together to pray and worship. I didn’t know that they had a once a month prayer meeting – so I went in and asked what was happening. They told me they were about to start praying and worshipping. My mind was wrestling whether to join them or not because of the many deadlines I have to pass this week and the two messages I am preparing yet I felt prompt by the Lord to stay and worship with them.
I have no regret to have to spend an hour and a half yesterday after all is said and done. I felt rejuvenated, and my heart was encouraged as I come to seek God in prayer. The spiritual practice of prayer did something to me yesterday, and I do hope prayer does its work for you also.
My house will be a called a house of prayer for the nations – a good reminder every day as a church to come to God in prayer!