A new kind of conversion is taking place in England and Europe. Due to a steady decline of Christian belief and the high costs of maintaining churches, the ancient structures are being converted into bars and other commercial buildings. Some are even being used as mosques.

In his dedication prayer, King Solomon underscored the significance of a temple where God was to be honored (2 Chronicles 6:33). Solomon understood what a great privilege it was to have the transcendent God dwelling among His people and hearing their prayers (2 Chronicles 6:18-21). Envisioning a time when even “foreigners” would come to pray in the temple, the king asked God to answer the prayers of believing Gentiles so that “all the people of the earth [would] come to know and fear [Him]” (2 Chronicles 6:32-33). God had paved the way for all humanity to worship Him. The temple was to be “a house of prayer for all nations” (Isaiah 56:3,6-7, 66:18-19).

In Jesus’ day, the area of the temple where the Gentiles were to worship God had been converted into a marketplace—depriving them of the opportunity to draw close to Him. A few days before He died on the cross, Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there (Matthew 21:12-13). He returned the temple to its intended use. “[It] will be called a house of prayer for all nations” (Mark 11:17).

Today, because of what Christ accomplished on the cross, God now dwells in His people (1 John 4:15). Scripture reveals that “we are the temple of the living God” (2 Corinthians 6:16), “God’s house” (Hebrews 3:6). As living houses of prayer for all nations, may we seek to honor and worship Him with these living temples in which He’s chosen to dwell.

NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: Numbers 21:4-9