Jesus intends for His house to be a house of prayer, but have you noticed that’s only half Matthew 21:13? Listen all the way through, as Jesus says to the defilers of the temple, “My house will be called a house of prayer, but you are making it a ‘den of robbers.‘ “As God watches your life, what robbers does He see (Jeremiah 7:11)? What hinders you from passionately pursuing an intimate relationship with Him? Is it distracted attention or busyness? Is it religious activity? Is it a divided heart? What are you doing that is effectively crowding God out, and why are you doing it?  What would you do if you knew that Jesus was in the house? Indeed, he is. We are his temple and he lives in us.

Busyness robs us of intimacy with God. It makes us think we are doing something worthwhile, when we are only piling up a bigger pile of wood, hay, and stubble of activities that are not God’s idea. Do you “Martha” around in a hectic blur, getting farther and farther behind? Have you asked yourself, “What did I choose yesterday that cannot be taken away?” What if Jesus had asked Martha that? How would Mary have responded to that question?

Perhaps you have never set your heart to seek fellowship with God morning by morning. Or maybe you are in a crazy season of your life right now. Could you make a commitment to give him more time than you are now giving Him in two-way conversation with Him? Praise Him, read a passage from one of the gospels or epistles (ask Him where to read), think about it, and pray it back to Him. You have the complete attention of the One who is Truth and the ministry of the Transforming One, and He has all the time in the world. Our American mindset is much too production-oriented. This is not a time for speed reading. John Piper says that he asks God to give him the gift of reading slowly.

This prayer of Charles Spurgeon expresses the heart that pursues God passionately. “Thou hast made me, be pleased to new-make me. I am thy work, complete me; I am thy harp, tune me; I am thy child, teach me.”

Will you make Spurgeon’s heart cry your own? Will you respond to God’s wooing initiative to be conscious of His presence as never before? Will you take another step on your journey, intensely hungering for God, walking in His Spirit? Will you give Him an undivided heart, undistracted attention, and unhurried time as you pursue intimacy with God in the beauty of His presence?

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Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your request to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

Thoughts on today’s verse

God wants to hear our prayers, but to keep them from becoming too self-focused, God wants us always to remember to give thanks. It is so easy for us to turn prayer into a request line. We are the ones who are left bereft when thanksgiving and praise are robbed from our prayers.

Prayer:

Gracious God, I have so many reasons to praise you. In the face of trial and hardship I have your promises to reawaken my hope. In the moment of victory I have you to thank for my abilities. In the boredom of the routine, I have great joys in your surprises. Thank you, God, for being so great and yet so loving. In Jesus name. Amen.

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