The Lord says to the church that the gates of hell will not prevail against her, and yet when is the last time your church had to bring in extra chairs for prayer? Most likely, it was for a concert, block party, preaching service, Christmas Eve service or a potluck dinner. But when is the last time the church called on her members to move over and make more room for the prayer meeting?
Charge for a weekend event with a popular speaker and see what may come. They’ll come from far and near. But announce that your church is gathering to ask and seek the face of Christ and you may be all alone. The One who commands through His word that all men everywhere are to pray, and this praying shakes the gates of Hell. And what do we do? We brag about how many balloons we paraded in front of ourselves. We talk for months about how funny that skit was. We worry ourselves sick that a visitor may come in and find us doing what we are commanded to do. They may not come back if they don’t laugh.
Jesus was sickened at the sight of His Father’s house. It had become a circus. It had become a business. It had become what all secular people wanted it to be. Secular. Our Lord, the Lamb of God, was not happy with what He discovered.
He charged them of being thieves. “MY HOUSE SHALL BE CALLED A HOUSE OF PRAYER’; but you are making it a ROBBERS’ DEN.” (Matt 21:13).
There is a multitude of people who don’t want a funny skit to motivate them. There are women who don’t want another craft bazaar with hot-glue. There are men who don’t want another wild game night with lessons on duck calling. There are children who don’t want another movie night to show them how to act like the world.
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Don’t get me wrong; there’ll be a survey out this coming year that will convince some pastor somewhere of a new trendy way to gather a massive group of people. And he’ll spend all of his energy working up his people to spend all of their energy to accomplish it. And at the gates of hell, all who hate God will be laughing at the foolish hearted people who call themselves the church.
But, there is a people, a church of the redeemed, who want to shake the gates of Hell. They will do it unlike all in their community.
They will do it by obeying the Lord. They will humble themselves and pray and seek His face and repent of their sins. And the Lord will heal their land and all those at the gates of Hell will be shaken.
Humble yourself: Your church prayer gatherings will not entertain your flesh.
Pray: read Scripture and let your prayer be influenced by the things of God.
Seek His face: set you gaze upon his glory and don’t become pleased with anything less.
Repent: This may be one reason (among many) why so few will gather at your next prayer gathering, no one wants to repent anymore.
The Rev. Paul Thompson is the preaching pastor at Eastside Baptist Church, 204 Eastland Drive N., Twin Falls. The congregation gathers at 10:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. Sundays. For more information, call 208-734-7041 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or go to esbcTwinFalls.com.