Thursday, April 27, 2023

A House of Prayer

A House of Prayer 
by David Brenneman 

Luke 19:45-46 NASB 

"When we walk with the Lord
in the light of his word,
what a glory he sheds on our way!
While we do his good will,
he abides with us still,
and with all who will trust and obey.

Trust and obey, for there's no other way
to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.

2 Not a burden we bear,
not a sorrow we share,
but our toil he doth richly repay;
not a grief or a loss,
not a frown or a cross,
but is blest if we trust and obey. [Refrain]

3 But we never can prove
the delights of his love
until all on the altar we lay;
for the favor he shows,
for the joy he bestows,
are for them who will trust and obey. [Refrain]

4 Then in fellowship sweet
we will sit at his feet,
or we'll walk by his side in the way;
what he says we will do,
where he sends we will go;
never fear, only trust and obey. [Refrain]

- Trust and Obey
  John H Sammis 1887

It's interesting in that when we lived in central Ohio, all the varieties of churches that we attended.  It's no joke that we saw everything from very good churches who held to an unwavering commitment to preaching the gospel of Christ Jesus to one that had a demon in the pulpit, a certain wolf in sheep's clothing. 

In those 20 plus years, and perhaps this too was a gift from God, or perhaps even something to never lose awareness of is our comparing these places to what we left from my hometown.  

Prayer was central to what we had left when we moved to that corner of central Ohio.  What we discovered in those years was so many "visions" that various groups there had to what "church" should look like. 

What's funny, in a very sad way, is how people try to define what church is and neglect to rely on what Jesus already said it ought to be.  A house of prayer. 

"Bear one another’s burdens and thereby fulfill the law of Christ" Galatians 6:2 NASB.  Something very clear and understandable yet you wouldn't believe how many times people gave me looks of exasperation because I was sharing prayer requests.  

Church is what the Spirit teaches it to be. Not what visions that mankind drums up.

I am not saying that all are like what we experienced but I share in order to, as always, point people back to Jesus.  

We saw so many holding a decided upon revival.  They scheduled it.  That's not what the Spirit teaches.  When the Spirit decides that the ground is ready for one, then it happens.  Spiritual growth occurs when the work of the Spirit is accomplished in the lives of people. 

"With every prayer and request, pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be alert with all perseverance and every request for all the saints, and pray in my behalf, that speech may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in proclaiming it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak." Ephesians 6:18-20 NASB.

"In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words" Romans 8:26 NASB.

"But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit" Jude 1:20 NASB. 

We also read the truth that we are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works that we might walk in them.  Hmm.  For those thinking their vision is what church ought to be...realize the order of things...we are His workmanship, not the other way around. 

Prayer was central towards that first surge in Church growth in the book of Acts.  Prayer caused the Spirit to pour out upon the Apostles to cause them to speak with all boldness.  
Prayer guided the Apostle Paul. 

Hmm seems that what Jesus Himself said is the central point is what's right and true.  

We can easily find places calling themselves churches that will tell us what we want to hear.  That way lies no conviction of sin.  Surrounding yourself with people that only make you feel good without any of what the Spirit says is necessary for growth in Christ Jesus will lead you to be among those whom Jesus said to depart from Him for He never knew them. 

"All Scripture is inspired by God and beneficial for teaching, for rebuke, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man or woman of God may be fully capable, equipped for every good work." 2 Timothy 3:16-17 NASB. 

"preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; correct, rebuke, and exhort, with great patience and instruction." 2 Timothy 4:2 NASB. 

When you think of church what DOES come to mind? 

A place of prayer for all people or a place to just be warmed and filled without any true meeting with God?

When you go to wherever you prayer a central part of the place?  

We missed that so much where we used to live.  I sorely miss that from my time before moving.  

The Pastor we had at the time more often than not would stop everything to pray for whomever, whenever, the occasion presented itself.  Be it in person or from a phone call.  Like yesterday's picture from Spurgeon, which is included again today, it should be like breathing.  It should be so natural to us that it's a permanent part of us.  

We are warned in Scripture, by the same said Spirit of God, to be watching for wolves in sheep's clothing.  To be wary of false teachers who tell people what their itching ears want to hear.  Most, if not all, also refrain from teaching the whole counsel of God. The leave out Jesus as the only way the only truth and the only life. 

What do you think of when you think of Church?  If indeed you are going to one, how does it stack up to what God's word says one ought to look like?  Are you with people who put importance on prayer as Jesus said it should be?  How often in His ministry did Jesus go away to be in prayer?  Food for thought...

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