He said to them, “The Scriptures declare, ‘My Temple will be called a house of prayer for all nations,’ but you have turned it into a den of thieves.”
Mark 11:17 NLT
As Jesus begins the last week of His earthly walk, He descriptively defines His coming Kingdom.
Redemption replaces religiosity . . .
Love instead of legalism . . .
Mercy instead of manipulation.
Grace is given and reconciliation received.
Scripture tells us, “So Jesus came to Jerusalem and went into the Temple. After looking around carefully at everything, He left because it was late in the afternoon. Then he returned to Bethany with the twelve disciples.” (Mark 11:11 NLT) Jesus returns the next day “and he stopped everyone from using the Temple as a marketplace.” (Mark 11:16 NLT)
Many speculate on the reasons for Jesus “clearing” the temple. The Gospel writer, Mark records some thoughts . . . the holiness of God’s house . . . the power of pure worship . . . the importance of intercession. Jesus gives some precepts on prayer.
Prayer Is Consecration. The place of worship would no longer be a “hangout for robbers”, but a “house for righteousness”. Our places of supplication are sacred. The psalmist reminds us, “For I cried out to Him for help, praising Him as I spoke. If I had not confessed the sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened. But God did listen! He paid attention to my prayer.” (Ps 66:17-19 NLT).
Corrie ten Boom writes, “Don’t pray when you feel like it. Have an appointment with the Lord and keep it. A man [and woman] is powerful on his [her] knees.”
Prayer Is Collaboration. As Jesus displaces those who were trading on pseudo righteous requirements, He teaches about the priority and parameters of His Father’s house . . . “My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations” (Mark 11:17 NIV). All nations, all creeds, all walks of life . . . all are accepted and acknowledged. Entrance into His presence is not earned by our accomplishments but extended by Jesus’ atonement. Its not what we do but what He’s done. Prayer is a shared supplication with God, the Son . . . God, the Spirit . . . God, the Father . . . and God’s sanctified saints. Paul encourages a partnership of prayer with Christ followers in Corinth. He writes, “And you are helping us by praying for us. Then many people will give thanks because God has graciously answered so many prayers for our safety.” (2 Cor 1:11 NLT)
Prayer Is Conviction. Our discouragements must drive us to the Divine. Our fears, failures and faults must yield to faith in Him. Oswald Chambers reminds us, “We have to pray with our eyes on God, not on the difficulties.” Purposed prayer has proven power. Jesus tells His disciples, “Have faith in God. I tell you the truth, you can say to this mountain, ‘May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and it will happen. But you must really believe it will happen and have no doubt in your heart. I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you’ve received it, it will be yours.” (Mark 11:22-24 NLT). The writer of Hebrews reminds of the blessing of believing, “It’s impossible to please God apart from faith. And why? Because anyone who wants to approach God must believe both that He exists and that He cares enough to respond to those who seek Him.” (Heb 11:6 MSG)
Charles Spurgeon writes, “If you want that splendid power in prayer, you must remain in loving, living, lasting, conscious, practical, abiding union with the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Purity . . . Partnership . . . Purpose . . . Power . . . Prayer.