… these I will bring to my holy mountain,
and make them joyful in my house of prayer...
Amidst all the emotions that God causes to swell in us while praying, surely joy is important. It reminds me of what Justin Vold said when he was visiting our church, about how the Christian life should be full of “glorious get-to’s," rather than “horrible have-to’s.” This willingness and eagerness is a part of the difference between true religion and false religion.
Ask yourself… do you have to pray… or do you get to pray? What a joy and privilege to pray and commune with God.
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And on another note, why should prayer bring joy?
Surely one of the biggest reasons is that it restores what we lost in the fall. Think of it. You are communing and even communicating with God, all in the framework of a peaceful state of reconciliation... when you would otherwise be utterly alienated without hope. For notice, the above passage is talking about foreigners. They have no right to be brought to Zion and made to know the God of Israel, the God of all the earth. And we, at one time, like them, were in this state of “having no hope and without God in the world” (Eph. 2:12). We were alienated and estranged from God, and if we would speak truthfully, we have to admit that our lives were not truly joyful. It was sad and sorry. Only a reconciled Christian that talks with their heavenly Father can be truly full of joy. This is in part what we were made for, to walk with God in the garden and talk with him. And this is where real joy comes from, real peace, and rest, and happiness.