“Jesus entered the Temple and began to drive out all the people buying and selling animals for sacrifice. He knocked over the tables of the money changers and the chairs of those selling doves.” Matthew 21:12
Jesus was so filled with passion about God’s people being a people of prayer that He overturned the tables and removed the obstacles that were preventing the temple from fulfilling its intended purpose. I wonder what things He would have to overturn in our lives and churches in order to clear a path for prayer.
The temple was a copy of the original tent that God instructed Moses to set up in the desert as the people of Israel were traveling to the Promised Land.
“Now Moses used to take the tent and pitch it outside the camp, a good distance from the camp, and he called it the tent of meeting” (Exodus 33: 7).
Have you ever seen a person who was blocked from meeting with the one they loved? It kind of resembles the same fury Jesus expressed in the temple. Removing that separation between God and His people is the very purpose of Christ. When Jesus went into the temple that day, He saw the people being prevented from meeting with the One they loved, and the One Who loved them. Jesus wanted the people to enjoy the same fellowship with His Father that He did when He met with His Father in prayer. Prayer is exercising faith that the gap can be bridged.
God invites those crazy-faith prayers. When our requests reflect His good desires, we can ask Him with faith. What prayer would you hesitate to ask God because of the seeming impossibility of it?
I remember feeling desperate and in great need; I saw a loveless heart—my own. I tried to pray, but I felt like this great, cold, dead impossibility stood in front of me, and that made me…ANGRY. “No,” I told myself, “If God can breathe galaxies into being and bring people back from the dead, then He can resurrect a loveless heart.” As I spoke it aloud, something broke, like the obstacle that was in front of me had really only been made out of thin glass. I KNEW that this was the kind of thing that God loves to do.
Sometimes we pray with the same level of faith as when someone throws a penny into a well at the mall. That level of faith will never produce fruit for us, or others. We cannot treat God like an unreliable genie who might grant our wishes if we rub the lamp just right.
According to James 4:2–3:
“You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures.”
Like the other gifts we receive from God, prayer is meant to glorify God and serve others. I prayed for years about a certain situation and saw little change until I stopped being motivated by how it was affecting me, and started to be more concerned with how God could be glorified and how captives could be set free. That doesn’t mean we can’t ask God for personal help. We can, and we should. But we must be careful about asking God to change circumstances or people just so life will be more comfortable for us.
In the book, Doors of Destiny, love motivated Danell’s prayer, and faith fueled her request. In this story, the petition, “Cornelius lives,” swirls and beautifully turns into the new reality and command, “live.”
The Word of God is like a sword of pure light, and prayer is like a child sitting in the lap of God the Father, placing our hands on His hands as He turns His mighty beam of truth toward situations of darkness to restore order and truth.
“This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him.” 1 John 5:14–15
I pray that God will remove your obstacles of doubt and distraction. God, please give us hearts of faith, let us know the truth, and help us to pray in Your will.
Excerpts taken from Doors of Destiny Traveler’s Companion by Darlene Melcher