First of all—pray. Paul begins a list of house rules with prayer (1 Timothy 3:14–15). But this isn’t merely serial list so that number one could have easily been number two. Prayer is a priority. House rule number one is emphatically this: the family must pray to the Father. Paul says, first of all “then.” The calling for Prayer is related to the good warfare mentioned previously. In the very heat of this battle against false teachers, Paul says, first of all, pray.
When you move from the church to the temple there is continuity and discontinuity. Some things go, some things remain, but everything is changed because of Jesus. I’m afraid the American church has kept the bad and failed to carry over the good. We’ve carried over what was never meant to have a place among the people of God. When Jesus cleansed the temple He said, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you make it a den of robbers.” We have carried over the commercialization of the temple and not its supplications. The church today majors on entertainment, not intercessions; on production, not prayer. D.A. Carson captures the sin adequately,
We have become so performance-oriented that it is hard to see how compromised we are. Consider one small example. In many of our churches, prayers in morning services now function, in large measure, as the time to change the set in the sanctuary. The people of the congregation bow their heads and close their eyes, and when they look up a minute later, why, the singers are in place, or the drama group is ready to perform. It is all so smooth. It is also profane.
I don’t think God is impressed with the show. Our acting betrays a boredom with God’s drama of redemption. Our productions indicate a faith in our works instead of God’s. We must pray when there is false teaching, but what evangelicals now also know is that we must pray lest false teaching.