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A House of Prayer

Also, the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to the LORD, to serve him, and to love the name of the LORD, to be his servants, every one that keeps the sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of my covenant; even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon my altar; for mine house shall be called a house of prayer for all people.

Isaiah 56:6-7

Many Israelites assumed the only thing that mattered in their relationship with God was being descendants of Abraham. They may have been surprised by His comments to Isaiah. There, He declared that His temple was to be “called a house of prayer for all nations” – for everyone!

Jesus quoted this passage when He went into the temple and “drove out all those who bought and sold.” He stressed that anyone was welcome (Matthew 21:12-14 NIRV). God’s house was not for commerce but a place of worship and prayer.

Anyone can approach His throne, even Gentiles. However, there are conditions. You must commit yourself to Him, serve Him, love His name, keep from defiling the Sabbath, and hold fast to His covenant. And you have to be clean.

The Bible reminds us that God is holy (Isaiah 6:3). David asked Him who could worship in His sanctuary and enter His presence. God answered, “Those who lead blameless lives and do what is right, speaking the truth from sincere hearts” (Psalm 15:1-2).

As people entered His presence, God promised to “make them joyful” (Isaiah 56:7 NIRV). This was the fruit of a life spent serving Him. He promises joy when our hearts are pure, and we please Him.

No matter what your background, God welcomes you into His presence. But first, purify your heart and mind. Seek to be clean in His sight. Focus on Him. Praise and worship Him.

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