3 Reasons for Joy in the House of Prayer

“These I will bring to my holy mountain and give them joy in my house of prayer.”  Isaiah 56:7 (NIV)

There is something captivating about the promise of joy as a desired end of prayer.  Joy is typically not something that we freely associate with prayer – solemnity yes, sobriety, stamina, even anguish, but not joy.  But contrary to conventional wisdom, God is saying in this verse that an accompanying and abiding experience in prayer is meant to be joy.

Practically how does that happen?  David who continually spent time in God’s house of prayer gives us some insight.  “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” (Psalm 16:11 NIV)

From this verse we discover three primary reasons for experiencing joy when we pray.

1) God shares His secrets with us when we pray by giving us a “path of life” revelation.  One of the great sources of joy in the place of prayer is the revelation we receive for ourselves, others and the direction in which to pray.  Jeremiah puts it this way “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” (Jeremiah 33:3 NIV)

2) God’s promises His presence when we pray and the “fullness of joy” that accompanies His presence.  The essence of that joy is simply spending time with Him.  It is in getting to know Him, His nature and character and learning His ways.  Moses, who experienced God’s presence as few men, cried out to God “Now if you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favor with you.” (Exodus 33:13)

3) We have the “pleasure” and privilege of exercising Kingdom authority when we pray.  The right hand of God is where Christ is seated in heavenly places, far above all rule and authority; and it is there in the Spirit we are seated with Him. (Ephesians 2:6)  From a place of prayer we enter into the non-stop intercession with Jesus – that “His name be hallowed, His kingdom come and His will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”  I believe that “the pleasures forevermore” at the Father’s right hand are the sense of purpose and accomplishment we feel when we are making a difference in the world through our intercession with Jesus.

Like many people, I can personally confirm for the reasons just given that there is a remarkable release of joy when entering into a season of concentrated prayer.  Such joy is typically not attendant to the casual or intermittent pray-er, but reserved for those who with diligence set their hearts to seek the Lord with regularity and over extended periods of time.  Believe me, I have learned this by experience.  That is not to say the God will not break in with His joy upon anyone who prays under any condition, for God is sovereign, but the abiding experience of joy comes most readily to those who abide in His presence.

As I think about the times in prayer when I have been overcome with joy, it has invariably been a result of one or a combination of the three causes of joy listed above.  God has given me joy in His house of prayer when I’ve heard His voice, sensed His manifest presence and/or felt the anointing to make a throne room proclamation of His will.  In those times I can certainly identify with Joshua when he chose to stay in the Lord’s presence, rather than accompany Moses back to the camp. (Exodus 33:11)  I want to linger in His presence myself and let the rest of the world go by.

Please share your joy-filled experiences in prayer.  Under what circumstance has the Lord given you joy in His house of prayer?

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2 thoughts on “3 Reasons for Joy in the House of Prayer”

  1. Tom, As a child I lost my Father at age 8. My mother had a “nervous breakdown” trying to raise 4 small children. She was desperate and used to awaken all of us to pray for her in the middle of the night. Prayer was always associated with fear and crying and pain at that point. I grew up in a very strict religion and prayer there was demanded and forced on us. Today prayer in the Mountain of the “house of prayer” has become so different…it is pure joy and life….non stop…love this post…

  2. Steven, Thanks for sharing your childhood reflection and insight. It illustrates the misperceptions and laborious connotations about prayer that are shared no doubt by many of us whose introduction came through a religious and/or legalistic setting. The idea of joy, which comes when God “brings” us to his mountain house of prayer is such a contrast to when we strive in our own strength, often out of a sense of obligation, to pray. As always, your comments are so edifying and appreciated.

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