[Exclusive] Building a House of Prayer, Introduction, Series #1

Building a House of Prayer

Eighteen Prayer Models for Approaching God’s Throne

Author | Dr. Joshua Young-Gi Hong

<Introduction> Series #1

 

The Holy Place of Our Soul

  In many countries, the problem of nominal Christianity is prevalent. South Korea is no exception, for recently its churches have been losing their spiritual fervor. According to a Gallup Poll in 1998, “Fifty-two percent of South Korean Christians do not read the Bible at all, and thirty-five percent do not pray regularly.” This report shows that there are many Christians who come to church but do not have a personal encounter with the Lord. If there are too many Christians in name only, then the churches become spiritually feeble.

  The reason for spiritually laxity in today’s Christians is that the hearts of many believers have grown cold. Many people live as nominal Christians. In Western Europe there are self-professed Christians who do not even attend worship services. What we call nominal Christians comprise some forty percent of the European Christian population. Similar conditions occur around the world—particularly in nations with a long culture of Christianity as opposed to many recent conversions.

 

The Laodicean Church

   Many modern Christians have lost their passion. Today’s situation is very similar to that of the church in Laodicea, which the Lord rebuked in Revelation 3. The Laodicean church was the last church among the seven churches in Asia Minor. Some people interpret that it represents the last Church just before the Second Coming of Jesus. The Lord reprimanded the Laodiceans: “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other!” (Revelation 3:15).

  The Lord did not speak of the activities of the Laodicean church but was speaking of the people’s spiritual status. The Lord does not mention how many people the church had or how much was collected in stewardship. The Lord speaks of spiritual hotness or coldness. We are the same. The Lord does not hold against us how many times we have been to church, how much we have read the Bible, or how many years we have served the church as a choir member or Sunday school teacher. The Lord understands the depth of our spirituality—which will result in Christian behavior. Because the Lord watches us with His fiery eyes, we cannot deceive Him even if we deceive other people. How would we and our church look to God?

  The Lord warned that because the Laodicean church was lukewarm in its spirit, He would spit it out of His mouth. Laodicea had a number of hot springs. The water from these regions at room temperature had a strange odor and taste due to its high mineral content. For the best taste, it had to be consumed when hot or cold. Otherwise, it would induce vomiting. Those Christians with lukewarm faith give out unsavory odor and taste.

  The biggest problem of modern Christianity is that it lacks passion. The heart to love and long for the Lord has been cooled off. Our casual, easygoing attitude is evident even in our walk with God. These Christians do not realize they are spiritually naked. Material wealth is partly the cause of the lukewarmness of Laodicean Christians. “You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked” (Revelation 3:17).

  Laodicea was located at the crossroads of three churches in Asia Minor and was a center of administration and trade. Financial institutions and medical practices were advanced. Because of this comfortable environment, the Laodicean Christians had an easy lifestyle. They were in a state of spiritual blindness and nakedness in the eyes of the Lord. Yet, they did not realize they were spiritually naked.

  The Lord reprimands lukewarm faith. He warns notational Christians. Superficial Christianity makes the church deviate from its course, thus weakening it. In the end, it loses its trust by society. In order for today’s Church to revive spiritually, each Christian should renew his or her passion for personal relationship with God. Too many believers have only the form of a Christian. They appear to be actively involved in church activities, so by many accounts they are church-going Christians. However, their love for God has grown cold. Their confession of love for God is weak. Even when they praise the Lord, they lack the passion that springs out from their heart. They pray routinely and perfunctorily. They lack power in their prayer. The Apostle Paul said of such Christians, “Having a form of godliness but denying its power” (2 Timothy 3:5). The Lord has said clearly that we have to make an about-face from our lukewarm spiritual life.

 

The Fire that Burns in Our Spirit

  What was your state of mind as you opened this book? Is your spirit lukewarm also? Has your spirit cooled off? When you call out to the Lord and think of Him, is your heart lukewarm? When was the last time that you had a loving conversation with God?

  If you are not in a state of love with God, you most likely have neglected meeting with Him. We must repent if our faith is lukewarm. Thus, we have to pray, “Oh, Lord, please forgive me for having had lukewarm faith. I have lived the easy and comfortable life. Forgive me. I want to long for You from now on.”

  The Lord advises us as He did the Laodiceans, “So be earnest, and repent” (Revelation 3:19). Those who repent are humble, for the worship the Lord seeks comes from a broken spirit. The Lord receives a broken and contrite heart (Psalm 51:17).

  We have to strive for earnest faith. Romans 12:11 states, “Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.” The Bible is telling us to keep our spiritual fervor. The Lord tells the Laodicean church, “I wish you were either one or the other [hot or cold]!” (Revelation 3:15). Do you believe that the Lord wanted the Laodicean church to be cold? What the Lord meant is that it is better to be cold than lukewarm—better not to believe in the Lord than to believe half-heartedly. This shows the Lord’s burden paradoxically. How frustrated must the Lord have been to say such a thing? To strive for spiritual fervor earnestly means not just a change in thought but also a change in our deed. It is about working for the Lord more strongly.

  Earnest fervor for the Lord begins with opening our heart to Him. In Revelation 3:20 He said, “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.” This is a verse often cited to non-believers for evangelism. However, based on the context, this was first given to believers. It means that Christians who believe in the Lord with a lukewarm heart should open their heart. An artist drew this scene where a door was locked from the inside. Opening the door is our responsibility. We have to open our heart and receive the Lord. We should recover our intimate love for Him. Our spirit should be burning with passion for the Lord. If your heart is cold and hardened, it should burn once again with love. You should not have lukewarm faith but a passionate faith. If the Lord should take out a thermometer and measure our spiritual temperature, what would it be?

  We have to resume our meeting with the Lord through prayer in order to inflame our heart with the Holy Spirit. A prayer is the shortcut for Christians and the Church to recover the love and passion for the Lord. Hebrews 4:16 says: “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

 

To be Continued…

4 Comments

  1. Nitraloshe Parker

    Thanks for an idea, you sparked at idea from a perspective I hadn’t considerd before . Now lets see if I can do something productive with it.

  2. Yes, we need to hear first and then practice!
    You are a man of faith when I see your words.

  3. Thanks a ton for this, I appreciate the info

  4. Thanks for an idea, you sparked at idea from a concept I hadn’t thought of before . Now lets see if I can do something productive with it.

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