fruitage of the spirit's journal

Expressions from the Heart

A Clean House of Prayer

A Clean House of Prayer by Julie McAllen

In the same way He took the cup also after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” (1 Cor 11:25)

A covenant relationship. That is what we enter into when we receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. And as often as we partake of the communion, we are reminded of that.

The blood of forgiveness has cleansed us to enter in and  approach the throne of Grace with Jesus as our only mediator, thus ending the need for any religious channel who claims to be the voice of God. We also have no requirement to be in a particular building to navigate our way to God as the Jews did in the days before their temple was destroyed. We  can pray, worship and repent right on the spot since believers in Christ are now the temple of His Holy Spirit!

Or do you not know that  your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God,  and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price:  therefore glorify God in your body. (1 Cor 6:19-20)

you also,  as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood,  to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. (1  Pe 2:5)

Spring clean signChristians are a spiritual house designed for a holy purpose. We’re given the right as children of God to sprinkle the blood upon others needing God’s mercy. That is an awesome priestly privilege for no one can enter the presence of a HOLY  God without the sacrifice of an unblemished lamb. And we thank Jesus for being that sacrifice. But with this privilege, is there also responsibility? If you were given a new house, wouldn’t you want to keep it clean?

King David prayed, “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139:23-24) As we pray for others, we must also be aware of the need to cleanse the temple in which we pray. I do not want the temple of the  Holy Spirit to be contaminated, so I also ask God to search me and identify what needs to be brought to the surface for repentance that I may be cleansed.

About 40 years  before the destruction of the physical temple in Jerusalem, Jesus entered it  upset at the things it contained. He knew the purpose of such a building was to  be a holy place and yet found reason to condemn it.

And Jesus entered the temple and drove out all those who were  buying and selling in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money  changers and the seats of those who were selling doves. And He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer’; but you are making  it a robbers’ den.” (Matt 21:12-13)

I often think about that scene as happening within my own body, which is now His temple of praise, worship and prayer. If Jesus was upset with the unholy things taking up  residence in the physical temple, then doesn’t it make sense for us to ask Him if there is anything in our personal  vessels that needs to be overturned in order to make it a holy place of prayer? The Lord has given me a desire  to cleanse this temple for the seriousness of prayer, but how?

In casting out demons, Jesus taught that there were some that would not leave without PRAYER and FASTING (Matt 17:21) Why would my fasting have anything to do with someone else’s demons? But given the context that we must pray from a clean temple, it started to make sense.

Fasting is an intention to  give something up, but often times we relate that only to food. For me right  now it’s not about abstaining from food as much as it is my sense of humor. I have a quick wit and if the opportunity arises, I’m right there with the off color joke, the sexual innuendo, or the easy put down claiming “you left the door wide open for me on that one!” Boom batta boom. The Lord loves a sense of humor I’m sure and I don’t deny the way He  made me, but sometimes I jump in too fast with a joke simply because the door is  open for it. But that’s a door of temptation waiting for me to say the unclean thing. Is that really any different than a wide open door of temptation of  sexual gratification for the person struggling with lust, the easy cash for the person struggling with greed, or the open door of free beer for the person  overcoming an alcohol addiction? So when praying about the ‘search and rescue,’ God has chastised me more than once in Ephesians.

Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear. Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. (Eph 4:29-30)

But immorality or any impurity or  greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints; and there  must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting,  but rather giving of thanks. (Eph 5:3-4)

I am in a covenant relationship with God which means I’ve given Him permission to fill me with His life at the cost of my own. As Christians, we die to self. When communion comes around, we’re asked to examine ourselves even as David prayed about the Lord finding any wicked way in him. Is it any surprise that through the reminder of our covenant by “doing this in remembrance” of Him that He would also remind us of His right to discipline us?

But to the wicked God says, “What right have you to tell of My statutes And to take My covenant in your mouth? “For you hate discipline, And you cast My words behind you. “When you see a thief, you are pleased with him, And you associate with adulterers. (Psalm 50:16-18)

As sons and daughters of God, we undergo the discipline of a loving Father whose intention is to keep us from harm. Whatever He has given us, an enemy would like to steal. I know the ministry God gives me is one of words. He gives me words to edify the church and He gives me words to pray for the lost. Over and over He reminds me that these words matter. Stay in the word. Pray the word. Use the word. And so, I’ve made a covenant with my body yes, but more particularly, the members of it: my mouth and hands which are used to communicate His words. If my mouth is in covenant with God, how can I allow the unclean wisecrack escape while at the same time announce God’s purpose to cast out a demon or edify the church?

But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God; from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way. Does a fountain send out from the same opening both fresh and bitter water? Can a fig tree, my brethren, produce olives, or a vine produce figs? Nor can salt water produce fresh. (James 3:8-12)

We pray from one fountain. And so fasting makes sense if our vessels contain the Spirit of God from which flow rivers of living water. (John 7:38)  This river bears fruit for the healing of the nations (Rev 22:3). The water is pure, but the vessel in which it resides always needs attention. The blood cleanses us of all sin, and through personal fasts brought to our attention, God is purifying the vessel so that the water flows free from contamination to fill the thirsty soul of the ones for whom we pray.

Brothers and sisters, we are a house of prayer. Do you suppose it’s any coincidence that the season in which we celebrate the resurrection to new life is also the season many of us think about spring cleaning? Every spring, it’s as if angels carry the message to “get your house in order.” Have you done your spring cleaning?

Keep yourself in God’s love, Julie

clean bucket

March 27, 2013 Posted by | According to Scripture, Expressions, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

   

%d bloggers like this: