Church A is a church that hardly recognizes the importance of prayer to its ministry. It gives lip service by opening meetings in prayer and holding special prayer meetings from time to time for important issues. There may even be a few people praying for the church and its ministries, but they are not specifically given requests and are not recognized as a ministry of the church. Church B recognizes that prayer is important. It wants to see things prayed for and wants to provide die-hard intercessors with a place to plug in. It recognizes prayer as a ministry of the church, much like youth or music. People who have an inner burden for prayer are involved, but not many others. Church C believes that nothing lasting will happen apart from prayer. It believes that prayer needs to permeate every ministry of the church. Every ministry must be prayed for, and prayer must be a significant part of each ministry. Virtually everyone in the church gets involved in prayer.
Jesus entered the temple area and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. “It is written,” he said to them, “ My house will be called a house of prayer , but you are making it a ‘den of robbers.’” Matthew 12: 12-13
Why was Jesus got so angry that day? What made Him so mad? Let us take a closer look at the situation going on in the temple court that day.
<ul><li>The Outer Courts had been filled with merchants selling animals for sacrifices. </li></ul><ul><li>Every person who came to offer sacrifice would have to have their animal inspected to be sure that it passed the criteria for sacrifices. Quality Check by the Priests. </li></ul><ul><li>The Priests who were inspecting would look for reasons not to pass the animals brought in by the people. </li></ul><ul><li>Then the priests would direct these individuals to the merchants who just happened to be selling pre-approved animals. </li></ul><ul><li>So the people who were rejected by the priests would buy their animals from the merchants. </li></ul>Cartel: Merchants and Priests
Another Cartel: <ul><li>The temple had its own currency. Since the sales were happening in the temple the temple money should be used. </li></ul><ul><li>The merchants would send the people over to the tables of the money changers to exchange their currency for the temple currency. </li></ul><ul><li>The money changers set an outrageous exchange rate; and charge a fee for exchanging the money. </li></ul>Merchants and Money Changers
Jesus confronts the real problem. People were being robbed spiritually. They were being robbed of the opportunity to pray to God and were becoming accustomed to not praying. Jesus confronts prayerless people. Jesus overturned the tables and benches. In our lives, in our church do we have tables and benches that Jesus Christ need to overturn? The Reality of Our Problem > We become so busy serving that we fail to take time to spend with Christ in prayer. > We become focused on the work of the church and forget the King we serve. > We put emphasis on doing more for Christ instead of going deeper in Christ. Misused of the temple . . . Not according to its purpose . . . Why are we here?
If Jesus placed much emphasis on prayer, why we as His followers cannot place high priority on prayer? Why does Jesus do this? Jesus placed a high priority on prayer. Throughout His personal ministry, over and over again we see Jesus teaching about prayer and showing vivid example of prayer by personal practice. Jesus expects us to pray. If we are following Christ we must be praying. No other way to start.
Jesus communicates the point: “ My house will be called a house of prayer.” Jesus says that God’s house is to be a place of prayer. Jesus did not say that the church is meant to be a house of singing, a house of preaching, a house of programs or a house of ministries. Jesus clearly says here that the house of God must be, first and foremost a house of prayer. And then the rivers of ministries: preaching, teaching, singing, and the rest of ministries flow. Jesus seemed to say “ The atmosphere of my Father's house is to be prayer” . The feature that's supposed to distinguish Christian Churches, Christian gatherings is the aroma of prayer... Prayer is the defining mark of God's dwelling
PRAYER Music Preaching Teaching Healing Young People Small groups Professionals Men Women Children Outreaches Bible Studies
Why do we need to strive for such an atmosphere? Why do we need to place such a priority on prayer? Why is prayer so vital to the life of the church? Prayer is the key that unlocks the storehouses of God’s power and provision. There is nothing else that can replace genuine prayer and nothing else will ever come close. When the church fails to seek God in prayer we truly fail. More people’s lives were transformed in ten minutes real prayer than ten hours of worship services.
Prayer moves the heart of Jesus. Although Jesus wants the church to be a place of active, vibrant ministries but the reality is that if we want Christ to bless our ministry efforts, we must first be committed to prayer. The heart of Jesus is moved by a realization of personal weakness that manifests itself in fervent prayer.
Reality of Weakness “ My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weakness, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 2 Corinthians 12:9 Jesus wants for us to ASK: A – Ask: Asking – making requests S – Seek: Attitude – never giving up K – Knock: Action – putting action with our prayers
When we rely upon organization, we get what organization can do; When we rely upon education, we get what education can do; When we rely upon eloquence, we get what eloquence can do; But when we rely upon prayer . . . We get what God can do!
Breakthrough from God almighty. The Holy Spirit to invade our church. Jesus to do what only He can do. Our church is in desperate need for a touch of God – Fresh Touch of God!