A good deal of my childhood was spent in a white clapboard farmhouse with grey shingles. A long concrete sidewalk drew visitors to the house between outstretched arms of elm trees and smiling faces of daisies. The raised, wooden porch welcomed as it hugged two sides of the house with sturdy pillars and a picket railing.
Granddaddy built the three-bedroom in 1942 and my family moved there once my grandparents moved to town. Mother made the property our own by planting petunias and geraniums; daisies and verbenas. Together, we pulled weeds, planted potatoes, raised cattle and snapped black-eyed peas.
Our picture windows saw company coming and dust blowing. Our shag carpet huffed during parties, whispered during prayer meetings and laughed every time my Aunt Ruby came to call. Our spacious kitchen entertained craft socials, missionary studies, and something my mother called “club” in which just about anything could happen. I cried in that house. Laughed in that house. Slept and ate there. Those walls teemed with life.
In time, I grew up, moved away and started my own family. The house aged too and wasn’t as noisy as before. I visited as often as possible, but various moves culminating with one overseas made trips less and less frequent. My daddy passed away and subsequently my Mother moved to town.
No one wanted a sixty-year old farmhouse sixty miles from the nearest city. With no residents, the house fell eerily silent. The porch grimaced with rot. The banisters groaned with weight. The carpet slept under a blanket of dust.The place that once buzzed with activity, now stood deserted, uninhabited and abandoned. My childhood home became desolate.
Seeing this reality first-hand proved one of the most difficult stateside returns I ever experienced. I sobbed for days.
Today, the memory of this sobering experience allows me a glimpse into the heart of God. He too has a broken heart. “My house lies desolate, while each of you runs to his own house,” He cries (Haggai 1:9).
No, God’s house isn’t a white clapboard farmhouse, but our innermost being (1 Corinthians 3:16). His desire is that we become His “house of prayer” (Matthew 21:13).
His desire is that we become His 'house of prayer' Click To Tweet
How often does our interior teem with vibrant prayer?
For me, I tend to use my prayer closet like an event center, useful when in need but vacant when satisfied. Doesn’t even the most beautiful destination necessitate constant care? Complacency results in vacancy, Vacancy in decay.
'Father, stir me out of my passivity and into prayer' Click To Tweet
“Father, stir me out of my passivity into a life of prayer. Inhabit my desires so that each heartthrob emits the fragrant essence of precious communion with You (Psalm 141:2; Exodus 30:8; 2 Corinthians 2:15). Although I often don’t know how to fill this house with prayer, I’m thankful for Your Holy Spirit Who intercedes through me, allowing me to please You greatly (Romans 8:26). So be it, Lord Jesus.”