pray

Moved to Pray

Original Intent

When what is intended as one thing becomes a different thing we have to ask ourselves if it’s the right thing.

I was reminded of this recently when I was driving to Omaha, Nebraska with my wife & son.

My son’s baseball team was playing in a big tournament so we were on the road making our way to Omaha. I’m driving. My son is in the back seat. My wife is sitting next me looking at her phone when all of a sudden she starts laughing out loud.

So I ask her, What’s so funny?

That’s when she tells me that apparently IHOP is changing it’s name to IHOb.

Did you hear about this?

IHOP, The International House of Pancakes, first announced the change on June 4 but didn’t say what the “b” would stand for.

Of course, the internet went wild with speculation. Some people thought the “b” would stand for bacon. Other’s thought biscuits. But they were all wrong.

IHOP announced that they were temporarily changing their name to IHOb as a part of a marketing campaign to get the word out as they launched a new item on their menu.

The “b” stood for burgers!

Well, as you might imagine, the twitterverse had a field day with that.

Netflix tweeted, “brb changing my name to Netflib.”

Burger King changed it’s logo to “Pancake King.”

White Castle tweeted that they were changing their name to “Pancake Castle.”

Whataburger said, “As much as we love our pancakes, we would never change our name to Whatapancake.”

Somebody tweeted to Wendy’s asking if they were really going to let IHOP sell burgers on their block. Wendy’s tweeted this in response: “Not really afraid of the burgers from a place that decided pancakes were too hard.”

We laugh at IHOb, but this happens to all of us.

When what is intended as one thing becomes a different thing we have to ask ourselves if it’s the right thing.

The Garage

When our family moved into our house a few years ago, we did what a lot of people do. We tried to move in quickly, get settled, get boxes unpacked & the kid’s rooms set up.

Everything that wasn’t mission critical went into the garage.

Well, you know what happened. The garage, which was intended for cars… especially when there’s a Texas hail storm outside, became something different. It became a storage unit.

What was intended as one thing became a different thing & it wasn’t the right thing.

So last summer Alisha & I ended up with a couple of weeks at home without the kids. They had gone to spend some time with the grandparents.

You know what that meant! Two weeks, home alone, no kids! Exactly. It meant that it was time to clean out the garage! What were you thinking?

The problem was that the garage was so full, there was really no way to fix it unless we first took the time to completely empty it & start all over. So that’s what we did. We completely emptied the garage. And then we set it up the right way.

The only way to restore it to it’s original purpose was to make some hard moves.

The Temple

That’s exactly what happened in Mark 11. Jesus is preparing to make His move toward the cross but before He does He enters Jerusalem & makes a move in the Temple.

The people of God in the Temple of God were not captivated by the Spirit of God dwelling in that place. The Temple was no longer filled with the sounds of people praying & people worshiping.

When the Temple was first opened, that’s all you could hear.

But something had changed. God didn’t change. God didn’t move. His Presence was still dwelling in the Temple. But the people had changed. Something had moved in their hearts & lives.

What was intended as one thing had become a different thing it wasn’t the right thing.

This broke His heart. This made Jesus very angry.

Mark 11.15-18

When they arrived back in Jerusalem, Jesus entered the Temple and began to drive out the people buying and selling animals for sacrifices. He knocked over the tables of the money changers and the chairs of those selling doves, and he stopped everyone from using the Temple as a marketplace.

What Jesus found at the Temple wasn’t a place of prayer & worship. What Jesus found was a place of chaotic activity where people were leveraging the worship of God to turn a profit!

Jesus is sickened at the sight of His Temple, a place where the Spirit of God resided in order to bring people into spiritual community with each other & back into relationship with God, now serves as a center for sin. A place where greed & selfish gain had taken over a place designed for prayer & worship.

Jesus gets angry at the sight of sin invading sacred spaces & places.

So Jesus drives out all those who were there for the wrong reasons & STOPS all the activity at the Temple.

What was intended to be one thing has now become something entirely different all together.

He said to them, “The Scriptures declare, ‘My Temple will be called a house of prayer for all nations,’ but you have turned it into a den of thieves.”

The original intent of the Temple was to be a place where the people of God could experience the presence of God & come near to God to pray. It was to be a place where ALL NATIONS could come & learn of the great love of God.

The Temple was no longer that place. Something had changed.

But here’s the thing. Jesus wasn’t just upset about the Temple.

Jesus was upset because God had made a significant move towards His people, He had made the first move, He had moved His Spirit from Heaven, from the Mountain, from the tabernacle into the Temple to be near the people. But the hearts of the people were far from God even though they were physically close to His presence.

They couldn’t have been closer to the presence of God & at the same time further away.

How could they have allowed the Temple, the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit of God, to become a den of thieves?

How could they forget that God was so near & live like He was a million miles away?

Before we judge them to harshly, ask yourself…

How could you?

A few years after Jesus cleared the Temple, one of His followers by the name of Paul wrote a letter to a church in the city of Corinth and Paul told that church something really interesting.

He said, Don’t you realize that all of you together are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God lives in you? …For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.
1 Corinthians 3.16-17

Paul says that now, you & I are the temple where the Spirit of God resides.

Here’s the move I want you to think about making today. What do you need to let Jesus MOVE in your heart & in your life or REMOVE altogether so that you can MOVE toward God in prayer?

My guess is that if Jesus were to walk into your heart & your life today, that there are a few tables he would flip over & a few things He would want to drive out of you!

WHY?

Because YOU are the TEMPLE of the LIVING GOD!

But what’s happened is that what was intended as one thing has become a different thing & it’s not the right thing.

Moved to Pray

I believe that the most significant thing you will do today is spend uninterrupted time with the Living God.

I believe you believe that!

But I also believe that so few of us take time to STOP, to be still & to be quiet before the Lord.

But here’s why this is SO IMPORTANT. Because…

God will start moving in you when you stop moving and are still.

Everyday there are things that get in our way that we either have to move, remove or move around in order to move forward. This same idea is true in our spiritual lives as well. Life with God is rarely in a straight line.

We are constantly moving things & making moves in order to draw near to God.

So what do you need to move to it’s proper place or remove so that you can make a move towards God in prayer?

What move do you need to make?

It’s your move.

I serve as the Preaching Minister at Riverside Church of Christ in Coppell, TX. I enjoy sports, running, fishing & life with the family. I’ve been in ministry since 1999. My wife Alisha & I have three amazing children, Will, Ella Grace & Emma Love. Thanks for stopping by my blog.