The House of Prayer

By Francis Frangipane

Jesus said His Father's house would be a "house of prayer for all the nations" (Mark 11:17). True intercessory prayer is born of love and comes in the midst of sin and need. It comes not to condemn, but to redeem. The truth is that all nations sin. All cultures have times of crises. Yet these times can become turning points if, in the time of distress, intercessors cry to God for mercy. Thus, prayer brings redemption from disaster.

We must understand: the church is created not to fulfill God's wrath but to complete His mercy. Remember, we are called to be a house of prayer for all nations. Consider passionately this phrase: "prayer for." Jesus taught us to "pray for" those who persecute and mistreat you. Paul tells us that God desires all men to be saved. Therefore, he urges that "entreaties and prayers . . . be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority" (1 Tim. 2:1–2). When Job "prayed for" his friends, God fully restored him (Job 42). We are to "pray for" the peace of Jerusalem (Ps. 122:6) and "pray for" each other, that we may be healed (James 5:16)

"But," you argue, "America is a modern manifestation of ancient Babylon." I disagree. But even if it was, when the Lord exiled Israel to Babylon, He said, "Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you . . . and pray to the Lord on its behalf; for in its welfare you will have welfare" (Jer. 29:7).

Over and over again the command is to pray for, not against; not vindictively, but mercifully; not with condemnation, but with compassionately, appealing to God to bring forgiveness and redemption. The problem is that too many Christians have become disciples of the news media rather than followers of Jesus Christ. We think conforming to our political party is the same as attaining the standards of God. It is not.

Study Isaiah 53. It reveals in wondrous detail the Savior's nature: Christ numbered Himself with sinners. He interceded for transgressors. He is "with" us and "for" us, even when He must reveal to us our iniquity.

But the world sees a church with rocks in its hands looking for adulterers and sinners. We have become the "church of the angry Christians." In the drama that is unfolding in America today, we must learn the role of Christ, but rather than that of the Pharisees. Let us drop the rocks from our hands, then lift our hands, without wrath, in prayer to God (1 Tim. 2:8) who desires all men to be saved, including kings and all in authority.