Prayer in the Book of Revelation

The words “apocalypse” and “apocalyptic” often are used to describe horrors of war. A movie about the Vietnamese Conflict, Apocalyse Now, displayed riveting scenes of destruction to villages, jungles, and Soldiers. In the case of the Soldiers and the villagers, emotional damage resulted in addition to physical injury. These words, however, come from a Greek word which means, not “horror,” but “revelation.” The final book of the New Testament, Revelation, derives its name from this word. According to its preamble, it is a “revelation” of Jesus Christ. Although its literary genre is unique in the New Testament, Revelation resembles and alludes to Old Testament books like Zechariah and Daniel. No other book has as many allusions to the Hebrew Bible as Revelation. The writer himself considers his book a prophecy. While many assume future predictions when they study Revelation, a careful study of chapters 2 and 3 reveal that it was firmly grounded in the time period in which it was penned (Richard Oster’s recently published Seven Congregations in a Roman Crucible is a good place to start your study.). Revelation addresses the sins and needs of seven late-first-century congregations.

Although its title does not mean “horror,” Revelation contains many scenes of terrestrial and extraterrestrial combat. Millions die horrible deaths. Bad things happen to good people. Yet, Revelation’s primary message is “In the end, God’s faithful people win!” Prayer, sometimes almost literally in the sense of a call for fire using lethal means, appears throughout the book. Elders pray. Angels pray. Martyrs pray. Everyone prays. Several prayers in Revelation focus on praising God or Jesus. Others describe what God has done for his people in the past and the implications for the current situation. Some prayers voice the pain experienced by persecuted disciples; these prayers ask for God to avenge the harm done to his faithful followers.

I’ll have more blogs that look at specific prayers in Revelation and what they have to say for what we pray. The book culminates in a dynamic description of Christ’s victory over evil and ends with a call for fire: “Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.” In the fog of spiritual war, sometimes we struggle to remember that God is on our side and that in the end, those who endure, receive eternal life.

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About Michael Summers

Michael Waymon Summers has preached in twenty-seven of the United States as well as seven other countries. He currently preaches for a Church of Christ in Leavenworth, Kansas. Michael earned a Master of Theology degree. He also has done graduate work in international studies. Michael runs more than twenty miles most weeks, loves to sing, and reads voraciously.
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3 Responses to Prayer in the Book of Revelation

  1. I am currently working on a series of blog posts as I work through Revelation. My focus is on its practical implications for believers here and now. You might be interested. I would be interested in your input as well if you feel so led.

    God Bless,

    Christopher

  2. Bart says:

    In Spanish, the book of Revelation is called Apocalipsis; they are indeed synonyms. It’s interesting to me how words change meanings over time. Love the post and look forward to reading more about prayers offered from this fascinating book!

  3. caseyjpayne says:

    Love this post. Revelation gets a bad rap. I think too many of us cringe at the things we don’t understand more often than we try to take in what is plain and wonderful. Revelation is a book of worship. Wow. Now you’ve got me wanting to post on this book. Thanks for your post and attention to a gem. Cheers, Michael.

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