You can gain by losing

When Jesus confronted the money changers in the temple in the week before his crucifixion he told them that his father’s house should be a house of prayer and not a den of thieves. Sometimes I wonder whether the church has really paid enough attention to that verse, not because I want to suggest that it has become a den of thieves but because I wonder sometimes if we have taken seriously enough the idea of it being a house of prayer.
In his article on the nine changes the church must make or die, Thom Rainer highlights particularly his ninth change which is that we must become house of prayer, we are very busy doing things in our own strength, but we are not doing the business of God.
I think that he has a very valid point. I think it is very sad that most ministers have their studies or office at the Manse instead of at the church. I think it is very sad that for most of the week the church is locked up and the community is locked out. Instead of the church being a locus of prayer, it is something that we just drive by for most of the week.
I am excited that now at Kinnoull we have what has been labelled the secret garden. I would prefer it to be called a place of contemplation. It is lovely with a view out over the Tay and a simple cross on which to meditate. I hope that people will find it, that it is not a secret but instead a place of prayer and meditation for the church and for the community.
Prayer is so important for the life of our church. I heard of one person who was asked what he gained by prayer. The man replied, “nothing….but let me tell you what I lost: Anger, ego, greed, depression, insecurity and fear of death.” Sometimes, the answer to our prayers is not gaining but losing; which ultimately is the gain.

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