The Church the House of Prayer

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By Newton Gabbidon

What is the Church?  And what exactly is God expecting of the church today in order to fully accomplish His will on earth through the establishment of His kingdom?

An interesting response to these questions is provided by Jesus in Luke 19:46: “My house shall be called the house of prayer”…a house that He would build and the very gates of hell would be unable to prevail against.  This is the church, which actually came into being on the Day of Pentecost in ” the upper room” in Jerusalem, where His disciples, numbering some one hundred and twenty, in response to instructions He had given to them prior to His ascension into heaven, had continued in one accord in prayer and supplication until they were all filled with the Holy Spirit ( Acts 1: 13-1 4).

After the Day of Pentecost, this small community of believers did not stop praying. Jesus had not changed his modus operandi: building a house of prayer. In Acts chapter 2 Luke reported that they continued steadfastly in prayer. So prayer became an integral part of the life of the early Church (Acts 2:42 ). It grew rapidly as it impacted Jerusalem, Samaria and other cities with the supernatural power of God. This was the Church that was destined by God through His eternal purpose to establish the reign of His kingdom on the earth. The members of that first congregation understood that prayer was the very life breath of its existence. Jesus had called it into being to be nothing else than to be a house of prayer. They understood that its mission in the world could only be accomplished through prayer and this led them to commit themselves wholly to prayer.

Why did Jesus choose to model His Church as a house of prayer? Paul E. Billheimer answers this question in his article, The Mystery of Prayer. According to Billheimer, “God will do nothing in the realm of human redemption, outside of the scheme of prayer and intercession.” Is not this the reason that we find so many of God’s pressing invitations to prayer in His Word? Because of this scheme of prayer, Billheimer states that “God proposes, but a holy church disposes.” In other words, God has already decided in heaven His plan for mankind, but He has placed “the responsibility and authority of the enforcement and administration of this decision upon the shoulders of the Church.”

In His infinite plan, God has chosen prayer as the means by which He will fulfill His will on earth. In response to this plan, Christ has therefore modeled his Church as a house of prayer. This is the model that he expects every local congregation to follow. Embrace Jesus’ vision for his house. Support prayer in your local church.

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