It's amazing how we can so easily let the business of life distract us from the importance of prayer. The "business" going on at the Temple may have even been well intended, making it easier for people to come to the Temple and purchase their sacrifices there instead of having to bring them along on a long pilgrimage. We can let the horizontal overcome the vertical if we aren't careful. Prayer was definitely central to Jesus' ministry.
This devotion hit me specifically because even the business of ministry can sometimes be a distraction from our relationship with God. One of the big things the professors warned us about at Johnson Bible College was to make sure the Bible remained the Holy word of God and the food by which we lived on instead of letting it become simply a text-book we had to study to get the grades. Even in preaching, ministers should read the word, while also studying it, and then preach from the over-flow of what has impacted them. We have to be careful not to just read the text with the intention of writing a three-point sermons. We all should read God's word with the expectation of encountering the living God. Part of that requires constant prayer over the text as we read it and as we are challenged or convicted by it.
Just recently, we had a New Year's Eve party in cooperation with Brownstown Christian and Brownstown Church of the Nazarene. While we tried to keep God at the center, we also got so busy that we actually forgot to pray for the pizza! It can be so easy to forget our purpose for gathering when things start moving. Let's all make an extra effort to keep things vertical with a focus on God.
Mike @ DCC