We Pray, “Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!”
Recently, I came across a thought-provoking blog post that was comparing the content of today’s most popular worship song lyrics with those of the “Gospel” era. Although music styles have changed dramatically over the decades, the most notable difference in content, the author observed, was that in today’s worship music there are significantly fewer references to the return of Christ.
Last week, I had the privilege of being at a gathering where Bishop Charlie Masters was sharing from 2 Peter 3, giving particular emphasis to the passage concerning the Lord’s second coming. These verses really impacted me:
“The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.
Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God...” 2 Peter 3:9–12 ESV
There was a tangible air of expectancy
Bishop Charlie commented that the early church was much more focused on the return of Jesus than is our typical 21st century Christianity. There was a tangible air of expectancy, especially perhaps for those like Peter and John who were actual eyewitnesses to Christ’s death, resurrection, and ascension. They had seen his glorious departure and had absolutely no reason to doubt that He would return in similar manner.
We’ve just come through the Advent season, and I found myself asking, “Did I even once pray about the Lord’s second Advent?” Did it even occur to me that, according to Peter, we might hasten or speed up that glorious event? Now it’s certainly not my intent to discuss the various positions on eschatology or on how God has established “that day”, but what does seem clear is that one of the reasons that Peter was exhorting the churches in his letter to pursue “holiness and godliness” was as a means of hastening the return.
One scholar put it this way: “We are causing the day to come more quickly today when we fulfill the conditions without which the day of the Lord will not come.” Jesus Himself made it quite clear that there are conditions on His return when He said, “And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come” (Matt 24:14).
we are praying expectantly for Jesus’ return to establish His kingdom in its fullness
So when we pray for repentance, revival and the spread of the Gospel throughout the world, we are hastening His coming. Every time we pray with faith and conviction, “Thy Kingdom come”, we are praying expectantly for Jesus’ return to establish His kingdom in its fullness. When we respond to the Lord’s exhortation to “pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest” (Matt 9:38), we are praying for the fulfillment in part of the conditions that must be completed before He returns.
What about at the personal level? What does Peter mean by “lives of holiness and godliness”? I’m sure it involves a deep gratitude for the transforming work of the Gospel and embracing the work of the Holy Spirit in us to make us more and more like Jesus. It may also involve having a greater attitude of expectancy concerning His return. After telling the parable of the Ten Virgins, Jesus exhorted His hearers to, “Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour” (Matt 25:13). Paul writes to the Thessalonian church, “For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.” (1 Thess. 5:2). We want to be ready. We want to be expectant. This is not a dutiful burden; it is a joy, a delight! His return will be more spectacular and glorious than we are able to even come close to imagining!
So, as we begin a new year, often a time of reflection on what has recently past and on what the future may hold, would you join me in resolving to pray more fervently concerning the Lord’s return? Let our prayers include these thoughts and more:
- Pray that “this Gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world” and the Holy Spirit would direct His church in the most effective means possible to achieve this goal.
- “Pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into His harvest”. Pray that the Bold Witnesses priority, one of Bishop Charlie’s five ministry priorities, would find deep root in the heart of each ANiC member, and that each of us would become, more and more, a courageous witness of the truth of the Gospel to all who are within our sphere of influence.
- Every time we pray “Thy Kingdom come”, may we pause to reflect on the totality of what we are asking for – the return of Christ Jesus to establish His eternal reign and the manifestation of new heavens and a new earth!
- Let us daily pray the prayer with which the apostle John concludes the Book of Revelation: “Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!”
Canon Garth V. Hunt
Canon for Prayer Support
First Friday - Jan 5
We urge you to set aside the first Friday, January 5th, as a day to pray and fast for our diocese (ANiC), the Anglican Church of North America, and the Anglican Communion worldwide. We live in an age of immense pressure against the Gospel. It is critical that we unite together in prayer.
Notable Prayer Quotes
“The second coming of Christ will be so revolutionary that it will change every aspect of life on this planet. Christ will reign in righteousness. Disease will be arrested. War will be abolished. Nature will be changed. Man will live as it was originally intended he should live.” – Billy Graham