There are many instances of prayer in the Bible, but many times we see them only as examples of devotion by those whom we consider saints. Prayer, after all, is little more than a crying out in times of desperation for most. However, there is one event in the life of Jesus which reveals the priority He placed upon prayer–when He cleansed the Temple.
The world and those who love it are continually attempting to fill our life with junk…. that is, unnecessary and unimportant stuff which robs our time alone with our resurrected King. The very joy, peace and strength we long for is replaced by stuff, stuff and more stuff. And we wonder why we get stressed out, fatigued, depressed and frustrated. We fall from the sustaining power of God’s Grace when we attempt to live the life of a believer apart from the abiding presence of Christ. And we forfeit the abiding presence of Christ when we place our own ‘doings’ ahead of getting alone with the Lord in prayer. We become spiritually defeated Christians.
This passage reveals the seriousness Jesus has about His temple and prayer.
“And Jesus entered the temple and drove out all who sold and bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. He said to them,“It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you make it a den of robbers.” (Matt. 21:12-13)
We see the demonstration of the righteous anger of Christ, and it is in connection to prayer! What does this text say to you and me? How can we apply it to our life? How does it speak to the modern man?
Today, God’s Temple is no longer brick and mortar. As Christians, we are the temple of God. (1Cor. 3:16) The Holy Spirit lives in the heart and life of every person who belongs to Christ. And yes, Jesus is every bit as concerned about His temple today as He was when He walked the dusty streets of Jerusalem. The great mystery of the Christian faith is that our God comes into and lives in the heart of those who surrender to Him through faith and repentance. No other religion holds to this existential reality. ‘Christ in us’ is the distinct claim and experience of Christianity. We do not have to work ‘for God’ as other religions teach. Instead, the Lord works through us! (Col. 1:29) Our work is to simply trust Him to do His work. (John 6:28-29)
With that in mind, and reflecting upon our text, let us ask ourselves three questions:
*Are we busy about activities which rob us from prayer?
*Will we ask the Lord to show us the things in our life which are robbing us from being a temple of prayer?
*Will we let Him overturn and drive out the obstacles and idols from our heart and return us to a life of personal prayer?
Three simple questions; but our spiritual life hinges upon them.