My house will be called a house of prayer. (Mark 11:17)
Not a house of preaching, or of singing, or of fellowship with other believers - but a house of prayer.
These other things are part of the church of Christ and rightly so. In the Old Testament and the New Testament they each had their place. But prayer is given a special place.
The disciples seemed to recognise this when they asked Jesus, 'Teach us how to pray'. Perhaps they had seen the emptiness of much that was called prayer in the lives of the Pharisees and in the synagogues. And perhaps they had seen how often Jesus drew aside to pray alone.
What does prayer mean to us? Sometimes it is a cry of need. Sometimes it is a petition on behalf of others. Sometimes there is an anointing to break through into a new place for yourself or for others. These things are very much part of prayer. But prayer should be a two-way communication. We speak to God, but God wants to speak to us.
We should speak, but we should also listen. Sometimes we will find that He turns us in a different direction - remember Paul, who asked three times that the thorn in his flesh would be removed and then heard God say, 'My grace is sufficient for thee for my strength is made perfect in weakness'. Listening is so important because He knows what we need to hear and He knows when our focus is not where it should be. Let us try to be more tuned to the One to whom we pray, than to the need that we are praying about.
O Thou by whom we come to God,
The Life, the Truth, the Way!
The path of prayer Thyself hast trod,
Lord, teach us how to pray!
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Struthers Memorial Church is a registered Scottish Charity No. SC 006960 | Struthers Memorial Church is a company limited by guarantee incorporated in Scotland Company No SC335480 | Registered Office: 33 West Stewart Street, Greenock, PA15 1SH.