Jesus would have been a great Bible quizzer. He often repeated the words of Scripture. In fact, three of the gospel writers recorded Jesus referencing the same Old Testament passage, “Mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people.”
In the past, I’ve read and even spoken these words of Isaiah without realizing the significance of their original context. Prior to their declaration, the Lord disclosed His intention to do something that had previously been forbidden. He would allow eunuchs (“blemished” people) and strangers (non-Jews) the opportunity to worship among His people. With beautiful language the prophet declared the Word of the Lord:
“Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people” (Isaiah 56:7).
The God who gathers outcasts is gathering people of all nations and backgrounds unto Himself. His expressed desire is to make each person who enters covenant with Him joyful in His house of prayer. Those who have experienced Jesus for themselves can attest that God is keeping His promise.
Life’s challenges, however, can threaten to rob believers of their joy. How is it possible to retain the joy of salvation in a world of chaos?
- First, we must realize prayer is much more than a special time of devotion or a segment in a worship service. Prayer is communion with God. Every moment we live is lived in God’s presence. What a gracious privilege we have been given. God has invited you and me to join Israel’s song of praise in an unseen yet very real house of prayer. Beneath the borderless pavilion of God’s presence, eternal transcends temporal and the Kingdom of Peace reigns in our hearts.
- Secondly, when life surprises us with ups and downs, we must hold to God’s Word. In the same way a song has highs and lows, rests and rushes; varying themes and tones compose our days. Like a composer sets a tempo for notes to travel up, down, and through a musical score, the Word of God pulses continually and bids us to embrace the reality that every life experience is part of one divine composition.
On our journeys we face peaks and valleys, but throughout God’s Word the prevailing themes of His faithfulness and lovingkindness unite human experiences into one individual song-your “new song” and mine. We sing the glad song of the redeemed with our lives. Each is a unique composition with distinct lyrics that testify to the Lord’s overarching goodness and remind us always we can indeed remain joyful in our Father’s house of prayer.
BY LORI WAGNER
Lori Wagner is an ordained minister, international evangelist, and a bestselling author of twenty-four books. She and her husband Bill have four children and live in Clarkston, Michigan.
Reprinted with permission from Ladies Prayer International.