Some houses of prayer have become dens of thieves

A few days before his arrest and crucifixion, Jesus entered the Temple and saw the blasphemy perpetrated by the participants. The faithful bought and sold inside the Temple of God. He overturned the table of the moneychangers and the benches of the sellers of doves. He said to them, “The Scriptures say, ‘My Temple shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a den of thieves!’ »

His quote was from the book of Jeremiah and Isaiah. God was angry with the Israelites who abused their privileges as religious leaders and violently took what was not theirs. “Do you not yourselves recognize that this Temple, which bears my name, has become a den of thieves? Surely I see all the bad that is going on there. I, the Lord, have spoken! (Jeremiah 7:11).

“I will bring them to my holy mountain and rejoice them 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” (Isaiah 56:7). God’s purpose is for anyone who enters His temple to receive joy by praying and offering sacrifices.

As we only have a few days to commemorate the arrest and crucifixion of Christ, I want to remind us that this scenario that Christ encountered in his earthly ministry is eerily similar to today. It is also important to note that God observes all the atrocities that take place in the so-called “houses of prayer”.

Oppression and intimidation in the Church are all noticed by God. During the time of Christ’s earthly ministry, the rulers of the Temple perverted the ways and purposes of God. They deceived the faithful and sold animals intended for sacrifices at exorbitant prices. Jesus felt bitter and violently addressed the wrongdoers and quoted scripture to prove the legality and authority of his actions.

I can’t imagine what Christ would do today if he physically entered some of our churches. Aprons, anointing oils, protective bracelets, holy water, and miracle jackets are marketed inside houses of prayer without recourse to the chastisement of Christ.

Spiritual trade through barter is now rampant in churches. Many believers are no longer interested in what God says but in what their pastors say. Many Christians no longer read the Bible but read books written by their pastors – books that often deny the teachings of Christ.

When the house of prayer becomes the den of robbers, the sheep are injured. Today, many so-called gospel keepers live in abundance while those they rob live in abject poverty. In Nigeria, many universities are built by the poor, but they cannot afford to send their children to these schools. Many of these worshipers are hypnotized and are prepared to defend their hypnotists.

Worse still, prayer houses can also become the den of kidnappers where even children are regularly kidnapped. In one of the churches in Ondo State, Nigeria, Mrs. Modupe Kolawole took her son to a prayer service at the church. She heard wonderful testimonies from church members about alleged miracles happening there. Ms Kolawale’s expectation turned sour when she went to pick up her one-year-old son after the service, but couldn’t find him. The woman who went to church to pray ended up losing her only son to kidnappers. It shouldn’t be!

As we soon celebrate Easter, let us remember that the house of God is a house of prayer, not a den of thieves. Christians are representatives of Christ on earth and should resist all forms of corruption and commercial activity in churches, just as Christ did. We may not have the power to overturn the tables of money changers, but we can bring ourselves to speak up or refuse to associate with the false teachers who inhabit our pulpits.

Oscar Amaechina is the President of Afri-Mission and Evangelism Network, Abuja, Nigeria. His calling is to take the gospel where no one has preached or heard of Jesus. He is the author of the book The mystery of the cross revealed.