A Prayer for Christ’s Return

Prayers in Revelation range from anthems of adoration for God to passionate pleas for justice. In the midst of a story-line that seems chaotic at times, the prayers reveal a God who saves and secures those who persevere. The prayers reflect the fears, the hopes, and the praises of a community that believes. They provide a corrective contrast to scenes of bloodshed, terror, and persecution.
The first readers of Revelation were a religious minority in their society. Persecution to Christianity had emerged in some of their cities. Mixing Christian beliefs and practices with those held by the majority in their culture tempted some of these believers. Even in an established church like Ephesus, the initial fervor of new converts had waned. They did much right, but somehow they had forsaken their first love.
Prayers in Revelation are spoken by martyrs, by elders, by angels. Prayer voices a community’s faith. The prayers demonstrate knowledge of Hebrew scripture and Christian teaching. They remind us that, like Elijah in 1 Kings 19, we are not alone in the crises we confront. The situation appears grim, these prayers tell us , but God knows our needs. Other believers share our hurts and our hopes. Christ provides hope and assurance in the midst of chaos. Yet some aspects of anticipation remain unfulfilled. The final chapter of Revelation begins with a vision of “the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations” (Revelation 22:1-2). The curse of Genesis 3 is no more. Darkness and death are no more, powerful words in a culture before the introduction of electricity. God’s presence is evident. It’s a place where we want to be. The first century readers wanted to be there, too. They also were not. So when they hear the promise of Christ, “Behold, I am coming soon. Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy in this book,” they yearn for Christ’s return.
Revelation, a prophecy of warning and encouragement to beleaguered believers, ends with a petition to the one who says he is coming soon: “Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen” (Revelation 22:20-21). Faith grounded in prayer, Scripture, and fellowship with other believers survives persecution and threats of internal division. It has hope because the Lord that we love has promised he is coming back. Amen, come Lord Jesus. Amen.

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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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