9/20 Isaiah 56:7

7 these I will bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer; their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples."

The LORD was speaking to the house of Israel and telling the people to include all Gentiles who wanted to follow the true God of Israel. It was their heart that mattered, and not their nationality. He even promised to give them an everlasting name that was better than that of sons and daughters. This should have completely changed the way Jews looked at their faith.

When Herod renovated the temple, he made a large outer court and called it the Court of the Gentiles. It seems that Herod, an Edomite, understood the passage to some degree and wanted to make himself more acceptable by emphasizing it. In practice, however, the priests made the outer court a place of merchandising. Animals and temple coins were sold there, while traffic cut through this convenient way to get from one side of the city to the other. Prayer would be a difficult task in the midst of all the traffic and vendor noise.

I believe God was speaking of something even more difficult for the Jews to accept. "My house" refers to the temple itself where the altar was and the way into the holy place where priests offered incense and once a year went all the way in to the very presence of God. To think of Gentiles in there was unimaginable. They would be executed for trying to enter. The LORD was predicting the day when the curtain into the Holy of Holies would be torn, and through Jesus we would all have access into God's presence in prayer. The house of God in heaven is accessible to us who are in Jesus. We can present our requests directly to God. The throne of God in heaven is a house of prayer where we commune with Him.

Consider: What a privilege we have to live these verses and through Jesus to have access directly into the house of prayer in the heavenlies!