In this competitive climate, churches are thinking outside the box to attract perspective families and individuals. One of the latest trends involves offering guests a cafe, food court or cook out to influence people to attend. Those with more resources may host a week long carnival, summer camp or vacation Bible school to sway those on the fence to join. Yet, beyond all this window dressing, each congregation should be a house of prayer.
On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple courts and began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves, and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts, Mark 11:15-16.
Perhaps the first century Jews overlooked this fact, turning God’s temple into a Flea Market. Sometimes funds are low causing leadership to develop alternative views. Thus, instead of trusting God to supernaturally provide, temple leaders looked toward the world. Based upon the reaction of the chief priests, their hearts had become hardened, trying to get rid of their main critic.
And as he taught them, he said, “Is it not written: ‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations? But you have made it ‘a den of robbers.” – Mark 11:17.
Any type of competition can take your eyes off of your main purpose. Unfortunately, during my time as a youth pastor, I lost sight of the fact the church is a house of prayer. Sure, its nice to be wooed with creative ideas. Nonetheless, prayer is what will change the hearts of men and woman. Therefore, as you search for a church to call home, make sure prayer is a core principle, practiced inside and outside its doors.
by Jay Mankus