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Commands of Christ

Be a House of Prayer

Where is this command found?

“It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer . . . ”

Matthew 21:13

Applying This Command

A house represents a man’s authority, protection, and provision. It is understandable, therefore, that on two occasions Jesus would exercise great zeal to restore the purpose and order of His house. His great concern for the proper use of His house is expressed in this prophecy: “For the zeal of thine house hath eaten me up” (Psalm 69:9). God’s house reveals His glory to the world when properly used, especially as His people use it to cry out during impossible situations.

At the end of the first century after Christ, the Temple was destroyed according to the prediction of Jesus to His disciples. “Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down” (Matthew 24:2).

Now that the Temple has been destroyed, God dwells within the life of every believer; therefore, every believer is a temple of God and is to become a house of prayer.
The holiness of this house of prayer is emphasized by Paul when he writes to the Corinthian church in their carnal state.“Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are” (I Corinthians 3:16–17).

Bible Verses for Meditation

In addition to meditation on Matthew 21:13, meditating on the verses below will provide you with further insight and understanding of Christ’s command: Be a House of Prayer.

Isaiah 56:7

“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.”

I Corinthians 3:16–17

“Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.”

Acts 2:42

“And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.”

I Peter 4:17

“For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?”

Ephesians 6:18

“Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.”

Colossians 4:2–4

“Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving; withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds: That I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak.”

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Weekly discussions on the Commands of Christ with accompanying resources for deeper application and growth. New episodes release every Monday.

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Study Question

Q: The house of God that Jesus cleansed for prayer is now destroyed. How, then, can we make it a house of prayer for all people? (See Mark 11:17.)

A: At the end of the first century, the Temple was destroyed according to the prediction of Jesus to His disciples. “And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down” (Matthew 24:2).

Now that the Temple no longer exists, God, through His Holy Spirit, dwells within the life of every believer. Therefore, every believer is a temple of God and is to become a house of prayer.

The holiness of this house of prayer was emphasized by Paul when he wrote: “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him God shall destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are” (I Corinthians 3:16–17).

One of the important functions that took place previously in the Temple was the burning of incense day and night. This is related to the prayers of the saints according to Psalm 141:2, which says, “Let my prayer be set forth before thee as incense; and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.”

This, then, is to be one of the regular functions of every believer and is consistent with the Biblical instruction to “pray without ceasing” (I Thessalonians 5:17). In order to be an effective house of prayer, God asks believers to dedicate their bodies to God as living sacrifices. “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service” (Romans 12:1).

For Further Study

You can learn more about the command Be a House of Prayer in the book Commands of Christ: Series 5.

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