40-Day Prayer Challenge // Day 34
Jesus entered the temple and began to drive out those who were selling, saying to them, “It is written, ‘And My house shall be a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a robbers’ den” (Luke 19:45-46).
Jesus placed great value on the unchanging word of God, and the life-changing power of prayer. His followers should never yield to the temptation to change the price tags on His core values. Jesus denounced prayerless people as thieves because prayerlessness robs people of the Presence, Person, and Power of God.
In Luke 19, Jesus rebuked the charlatans who hijacked the Temple, and turned it into a moneymaking mockery of God’s original intent. God’s sacrificial system pointed people to their need of a Savior and confronted people with the high cost of their own sin. By bringing their best to a public place and placing their hands on the head of an animal that would die in their place, they owned their sin. The shed blood of a genuine sacrifice revealed their obedience to God, and restored their intimate communication with Him. The atoning blood of a substitutionary sacrifice was drawn from the very best that they had, not from some poor, old beast dragged gasping and wheezing all the way to the altar. Sacrifice is not bought on the cheap. It comes with a very high price. Look at the Cross.
By this time in Luke 19, the system had long overshadowed the Savior. God’s redemptive work at the Temple no longer expressed a lesson of His undeserved forgiveness. It was a manmade business motivated by greed and fed by corruption. Jesus showed zero tolerance for anyone or anything that robbed God of His glory. He still does. When the system overshadows the Savior, it is time to return to Jesus: the way, the truth, and the life (see John 14:6).
In the mind of Christ there is no substitute for prayer.
NO prayer = NO presence and NO power.
When the calendar, clamor, and chaos of the system in your house, your heart, or your church drowns out the still, small voice of the Spirit calling you to pray, it is no longer serving the purpose of God. In the eyes of the world, the Temple business was booming. In the eyes of God, it was stealing. A church may pay its bills, but if it doesn’t pray, it will not do God’s will.
Easter Challenge: With six days till Easter left, ask yourself if anything in your house, your heart, or your church is stealing your time with God? Every house has several rooms designated for a specific purpose. Without these rooms, daily life would be chaotic. Make a place in your house and in your heart for daily prayer.
Prayer for the Day: Father, forgive me for allowing the system to overshadow the Savior. Convict me to set aside a place in my house and my heart for daily time with You. I pray for my ONE to hear Your voice calling them to come to Jesus, and to accept my invitation to be my guest at our Easter services, in Jesus’ name, AMEN.
Our one great business is prayer, and we will never do it unless we fasten to it by all binding force. —E.M. Bounds