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Institute in Basic Life Principles

Command 35 : Be a House of Prayer | Day 242

Enjoy the Essence of Prayer!

He was sitting in his tent door when he spotted three men walking by. Despite the fact that it was during the heat of the day, he ran to meet these "strangers" and urged them to let him prepare a meal for them. This significant event in the life of Abraham holds the key to what prayer really is:

The essence of prayer is entertaining God.

Scripture tells us: “And the Lord appeared unto him [Abraham] in the plains of Mamre ... and he lift up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men stood by him: and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself toward the ground, and said, My Lord, if now I have found favor in thy sight, pass not away ..." (Genesis 18:1-3).

The Lord, along with two heavenly messengers, accepted Abraham's invitation to entertain them as his guests. Abraham's hospitality parallels many worship functions that would later be carried out in the Tabernacle and in the Temple.

Abraham readily welcomed the presence of the Lord and the other guests and entertained them with a specially prepared meal. Often, we try to make God fit our schedules, when instead we should be ready to receive Him whenever He wants to meet with us. God has invited each one of us to entertain Him, as stated in Revelation 3:20:

“Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me."/

How can we entertain the Lord and delight in His presence?

  • By blessing the Lord and His name: “I will bless the LORD at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth” (Psalm 34:1). “Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name” (Psalm 103:1).
  • By singing songs to the Lord: “Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:19).
  • By praising His deeds: “... Talk ye of all his wondrous works" (Psalm 105:2).
  • By expressing thanks to Him: “Offer unto God thanksgiving ..." (Psalm 50:14). “I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving ...” (Psalm 116:17).
  • By exalting Jesus: “... Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing” (Revelation 5:12).
  • By being silent before Him: “Be still, and know that I am God ..." (Psalm 46:10). “... Commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still” (Psalm 4:4).

One of my father's most cherished memories was the night that one of my little brothers peeked out from the door of his bedroom, then quietly walked over and stood next to my father as he sat reading. My brother never said a word, and after a while he walked back to his room and went to sleep. However, the thought that his son enjoyed just being in his presence brought much delight to my father. Do we bring similar joy to our heavenly Father by enjoying His presence?

“... It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves” (Matthew 21:13).

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Contributing writer: Bill Gothard