Summary: The main focus of the Church is to connect people with God.
House of Prayer
Grant van Boeschoten
January 25, 2008
I heard a great joke this week about a man who himself had a great joke to share. He was in a dimly lit restaurant and he leaned over to the lady at the table next to him and said, “Hey, would you like to hear a very funny blond joke.” The lady replied, “I’m 6’3” blonde and am a personal trainer at the local gym. The lady sitting to me left is 6’4” blonde and is a world champion tae kwon do champion. The lady on my right just happens to be 5’9” blonde and an Olympic weight lifter. Are you sure that you want to tell that blonde joke.”
“No, I think I’ll just keep it to myself,” the man replied, “I don’t want to have to explain it 3 times.”
I heard another story this week about a preacher’s young daughter who always noticed when her daddy would pause and bow his head for a moment before launching into the sermon. One day she asked him why. “Well honey,” he began, thrilled that his daughter was paying such close attention to his sermons, “I’m asking the Lord to help me preach a good sermon.” To which she replied, “Then how come He doesn’t do it?”
Our key text for today is Matthew 21:10-17. Why don’t we all stand up and read it together.
10 As he made his entrance into Jerusalem, the whole city was shaken. Unnerved, people were asking, "What’s going on here? Who is this?"
11 The parade crowd answered, "This is the prophet Jesus, the one from Nazareth in Galilee."
12 Jesus went straight to the Temple and threw out everyone who had set up shop, buying and selling. He kicked over the tables of loan sharks and the stalls of dove merchants. 13 He quoted this text:
"My house was designated a house of prayer;
You have made it a hangout for thieves."
14 Now there was room for the blind and crippled to get in. They came to Jesus and he healed them.
15 When the religious leaders saw the outrageous things he was doing, and heard all the children running and shouting through the Temple, "Hosanna to David’s Son!" they were up in arms and took him to task. 16 "Do you hear what these children are saying?"
Jesus said, "Yes, I hear them. And haven’t you read in God’s Word, ’From the mouths of children and babies I’ll furnish a place of praise’?"
17 Fed up, Jesus turned on his heel and left the city for Bethany, where he spent the night.
Matt 21:1-17 (MSG)
Bless the Word of God, you may be seated.
Research at San Francisco General Hospital has revealed that victims of heart attack, heart failure and other cardiac problems who were remembered in prayers fared better than those who were not. Cardiologist Randy Byrd assigned 192 patients to the "prayed-for" group and 201 patients to the "not-prayed-for" group. All patients were in the coronary intensive care unit. Patients, doctors and nurses did not know which group patients were in. Prayer group members were scattered around the nation and given only the first names, diagnoses and prognoses of patients. The researcher said that the results were dramatic. The prayed-for group had significantly fewer complications than the unremembered group. And fewer members of the former died. The latter group was five times more likely to develop infections requiring antibiotics, and three times more likely to develop a lung condition, leading to heart failure. These findings were published in the American Heart Association.
Prayer is simple, often overlooked and many times a formality or part of a routine. Some people are terrified to pray in public, other people are irreverent towards public prayer. What do you believe about prayer?
I believe that prayer is a gift from God. It is holy, it is awesome. Through the power of prayer our heart’s desires and our requests can be made known to God, the creator of the universe. Through prayer God can make His thoughts known to man. Through prayer God speaks to our lives and gives us love, encouragement, discernment and direction.
The major events of the Churches history all have this one thing in common, prayer was the central force at work.
In Acts 2 we read about The Church as it was birthed out of a prayer meeting. It wasn’t because Peter preached a great sermon, it wasn’t because of the perfect timing of the feast of Pentecost. It was because there was 120 people praying and waiting on God, and the power of God fell on them from heaven and they received power from on high. 3000 were added to the church that day.
When major crises happened in the early church the first response was always to pray. They didn’t call in the experts on legal matters to give them council, they didn’t first go to the justice system and plead their case. They went to prayer.