Scripture: Isaiah 5:7b-8 CEB “My house will be known as a house of prayer for all peoples, says the Lord God, who gathers Israel’s outcasts. I will gather still others to those I have already gathered.” Over the years our home has been many things. It is the place we gather as a family for meals, games, laughter, and some tears. Our home has been a place of safety and a refuge from the events of the world. Our home has also been a place where friends were welcomed and relationships were built. Even today our home is a place where friends are welcome and where our kids know they can invite people over whenever they would like. It is our hope that one day our house will be remembered as the place people liked to gather, felt welcomed warmly, and where friendships were built for a lifetime. I believe that is, in part, what a home should be for everyone. In The Book of Isaiah, there are some pretty bad things happening to God’s people. Much of it because the people of God had decided to wander far from God. God had made it pretty clear as to what the people should do, and even not do. However, the people of God did what they thought was best and were not following God. Of course, there are consequences to their actions. In the midst of the descriptions of all of the consequences of their actions there is a promise of refuge. There is a promise that God will still be there for them. God’s promise has to do with God’s house. God promises, through Isaiah, to rescue his people, but God also makes a very specific promise about God’s house. Isaiah tells the people of God’s promise in chapter 56 verses 7b and 8 where he says, “My house will be known as a house of prayer for all peoples, says the Lord God, who gathers Israel’s outcasts. I will gather still others to those I have already gathered.” There are two pretty major components to God’s promise about God’s house. First, it will be a house of prayer. This is the passage of Scripture Jesus referred to when he overturned the money changers' tables in the temple courts. The money changers had helped to make God’s house known as something other than what had been promised. It wasn’t just about the money changing hands. It was also about the disrespect toward God of making God’s house into something they thought it should be. Second, God’s house will be a house of prayer for all people. God promises through Isaiah to welcome all people to God’s house for prayer. This would indicate that all who would turn away from sin and turn to God would be welcome. This is a statement of God’s radical divine grace. This is the kind of hospitality that God alone is able to offer to a sinful people. This radical hospitality meant that God’s house would be a place of refuge where all could go and pray for repentance. This is to be how God’s house will be known. Reading this passage of Scripture brings me back to my home. For what will my house be known? For what will your house be known? Will our homes be places of refuge and hospitality, love and grace? Take inventory of your home today. Not a physical inventory, but a spiritual and relational inventory. Ask how open your home has been to those in need, those who are in your family and those who are not. As you take inventory of your home ask yourself what part prayer has played in your home becoming what it is. As followers of Jesus, I believe above all our house should be a house of prayer. This is foundational to all of the rest. Of course, the sanctuary [church] should be a house of prayer as we gather collectively for worship. I also believe that this practice starts at home. For what will our house be known? Prayer: Most gracious God, thank you for making your house a house of prayer for all people. Thank you for your house being a place of refuge for all people who seek to follow you. I long for my home to be a place where you are praised and honored. A place where people feel welcomed and loved. May this be so for all of my life today. In the name of Jesus. Amen.