Sunday, Feb. 26                             

I’m not going to stroke your ego with this one.  I just hope I don’t offend you.  When Jesus drove out the money changers in the Temple (John 2:12-16), he said “My house will be called a house of prayer.”  It is easy to pass right over this.  It was a major rebuke, and Jesus went on to express his disapproval by driving out the money changers with a whip.  His disciples remembered what was said about Jesus in Ps 69:9, “Zeal for your house will consume me.”  Jn. 2:17.  Our churches today do not focus much on prayer.  How often do you see the word “prayer” included in a church name—or on a church marquee for that matter?  There is a good deal of preaching and teaching in our churches.  There are Sunday school classes, Bible studies, pot lucks, business meetings, youth groups, sporting activities, clubs, et al.  Of all the hours of activities in our churches today, how many hours are actually spent in prayer?  Probably less than 3 %.  And most of that prayer is perfunctory, routine, shallow and ritualistic.  How would you answer a person coming into your church for the first time who wanted to know where the prayer room was?  Then we wonder why there is so many problems and divisions within the church and so few unbelievers won to the Lord.  Obviously, the people of Jesus’ day were not paragons of prayer, either, or Jesus would not have reacted the way he did in John 2.  I’ll grant you that there is some effective prayer outside the church building.  A few people make prayer a priority, but most Christians would be embarrassed to answer questions about their prayer life.  For the record, I’m one of them.  Our messed up churches are because of lack of prayer.  “What causes  fights and quarrels among you?  Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?   You want something but don’t get it . . . because you do not ask God . . .  you ask with the wrong motives.”  James 4:1-3.   We are told to pray without ceasing.  1 Thes. 5:17.  Paul said that centuries ago, but the message still applies.  He said what he said to bring about a change.  May it be so!

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