Re 22:20 “He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.”
This journey in 2019 of posting weekly on prayer has been personally enriching and hopefully to you as well (this is the last one), but it ultimately is bigger than us. It is all about Jesus-the one in whose name we all must articulate our faith and obedience before God. As the new year is upon us, we must guard against making our outlook about only short-sighted goals and agendas.
Closing any season of life with prayer enables us launch into the next with God’s eternal plan squarely and securely in view:
Prayer enables us to maintain a sense of urgency in light of Christ’s return. (“Surely I come quickly.”)
The last promise of Jesus to the church is “I am coming quickly” (vv. 7, 12, 20). It was, however, not all that long after Jesus ascended to glory that the critics of the gospel were suggesting that “quickly” was going to be “never”—that, in fact, the whole thing was a hoax. In fact Peter warns us, “Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation” (2 Pe. 3:3-4). Sadly this apathetic sentiment of the scoffers has found its way into many “Christian” circles and settings who have discarded the secret disciplines of refining intercession. Your belief in the “surety” of Christ’s imminent return is in direct proportion to the vibrancy or lack thereof in your prayer life.
Persistent prayer is the only means to resisting the further doubts and apathy swirling all around us who live two thousand years removed from this initial promise of Jesus. Why? It is the only way to remember Peter’s additional words, “But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?” (2 Pe 3:8, 11-12). We don’t ask Christ to return quickly to actually convince to Him to move up the date but to remind ourselves that the date could be much closer than we are prone to practically believe. Where is the “He could come today” sentiment in our ranks? It was lost and can only be rediscovered in our prayer closets.
Prayer enables us to respond in a manner that affirms Christ’s promises. (“Amen. Even so, come Lord Jesus.”)
Back in Revelation 22:17, we read the only recorded prayer of the Holy Spirit in Scripture. (Wow, that is significant to say the least!) He is earlier recorded as interceding for us, but with “groanings that cannot be uttered” (Rom. 8:26). The Spirit joins with the church—the “bride” of Christ (Rev. 22:2, 9)—calling for the Lord to fulfill his promise. There is a wonderful symmetry to this, for this is the same Holy Spirit whose first outpouring marked the inauguration of the New Testament church. This prayer of the Holy Spirit marks in anticipation the entrance of the church into the era of her eternal destiny in heaven. From Pentecost to the parousia, the heavenly Comforter ministers to the people of God and his final word, as it were, becomes the church’s ultimate prayer—that her Savior would “come” and transport her to glory. If the Spirit is such a vital part of our intercessory relationship with the Lord, then we would do well to take our cues from Him in dawn-of-a-new-era (2020’s) moments like these.
Then in our text, the second utterance of this final prayer is reviewed. It reads “Amen, come Lord Jesus!” Most elderly people primarily look back to past glories that are now only memories. In contrast, the aged, prayed-up apostle looks forward to being forever with the Lord. “Surely I am coming quickly,” says Jesus. “Amen to that,” says John. “It will never be too quick for me.” And that’s the way it ought to be for every Christian! Without supplication to the Lord, we tend to get a bit too sentimental upon the threshold of “out with the old, in with the new” moments. God is always leaning forward in His focus, and prayer enables us to consistently reflect that same eternity-in-view posture.
The only Spirit-filled, sanctified way to close out this current year is with the prayerful “Come, Lord Jesus” sentiment in your heart and on your lips. To do so is to infuse our spiritual walk with a sense of urgency and confidence that will carry us into the new year in a faithful manner that will sustain us until the Lord is done tarrying His coming. Don’t look back at the good old days or miserable, grief-stricken moments. Don’t look around for a present, overpromising and underdelivering messiah-small “m.” Don’t even look ahead to an idealistic but short-sighted resolution on your part. Prayerfully look up!