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Monday, March 27, 2023
Bible Meditation: 
Matthew 21: 12-17

“...It is written, ‘My house shall be called a HOUSE of PRAYER,’ but you have made it a ‘den of thieves’” Matthew 21:13

The habit of quoting Old Testament texts by our Lord Jesus Christ reflects His Practice of PRAYING SCRIPTURES: “And He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a HOUSE of PRAYER,’ but you have made it a ‘den of thieves’” (Mt.21:13). Here, our Lord Jesus Christ was referring to Isaiah 56:7: “Even them I will bring to My holy mountain, and make them joyful in MY HOUSE of PRAYER. Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be accepted on My altar; for My house shall be called a HOUSE of PRAYER for all nations.” He was also demonstrating the importance He placed on Prayer. The Master’s Model accentuates the intricate link between The Word and Prayer.

During His ministry, Jesus Christ cited scripture from the Old Testament quite often. He did so in both public and private settings, during His sermons, and in less-formal conversations. He quoted scripture in the Temple of Jerusalem (Mk.11:17). He also did on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, and in the synagogue. He most often cited passages from the books of Isaiah and Psalms. During the final moments on the cross, while experiencing the agony of the Crucifixion, Jesus uttered words that hearken back to one of the Psalms: “My God, My God, why have You forsaken me?” (Psa.22:1a; Mt.27:46b; Mk.15:34). Even His final cry was an Old Testament scripture: “Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit” (Lk.23:46). David had spoken likewise: “Into Your hand I commit my spirit...” (Psa.31:5a).

Jesus was so filled with Scripture, even the agony of the torture on the Cross squeezed from Him only Utterances from the Word! By citing several Old Testament passages, Jesus confirmed His profound understanding of these scriptures. In most settings, He cited scriptures from memory. He rarely had copies of scripture in hand to cite from. In particular, Jesus cited many Old Testament prophecies to prove that they were fulfilled in Him. Jesus placed great value on The Word, but also prioritized Prayer. As early as age twelve, the parents “found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions” (Lk.2:46b). This was the same temple He was to defend in later years of ministry.

Andrew Murray wrote: “Little of the Word with little prayer is death to the spiritual life. Much of the Word with little prayer gives a sickly life. Much prayer with little of the Word gives more life, but without steadfastness. A full measure of the Word and prayer each day gives a healthy and powerful life.” All through His life and ministry on earth, Jesus treasured the Word in His Heart. At the temptation in the wilderness, He declared to the devil: “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God” (Mt.4:4; Lk.4:4). There, He quoted Deuteronomy 8:3. On every opportunity that presented itself, Jesus showed that the Word filled His Heart.

Jesus displayed two things in His Prayer Life. First is that God’s Word supplies us with contents and material for prayer and encourages us in expecting everything from God. The second is that it is only by prayer that we ca live such a life that every Word of God can be fulfilled in us. We also must get to the place in which the hunger after God’s Word and the thirst after His Spirit express themselves in prayer. We must come to the understanding that the Holy Spirit is essentially the Spirit of the Word and the Spirit of Prayer! He will cause the Word to become a Joy and a Light in our souls, and He will also help us in prayer to know the Mind and Will of God, and find in it our delight.

We must learn from Peter to continue in Prayer, backed up by Ministry of the Word (Acts 6:4). Like our Lord Jesus, the more we know and declare what is WRITTEN, the more effective and productive we’ll be in PRAYING SCRIPTURES.

Adetokunbo O. Ilesanmi (Meditations)

Lord, let Your Word fill our hearts, to be able to always declare what is written and be productive in PRAYING SCRIPTURES, in Jesus’ name.
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