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Words of Grace – Prayer

We have always heard that, at the end of the book of Revelation, we find the end of the world. Actually, we hear a prayer.

Revelation 21 shows us the final state, which will be all things made new in a new heaven and new earth. This final state is what we call eternal life. Christ will be revealed as the victor over sin, evil, and death. The followers of Christ will be revealed as having overcome by the blood of the Lamb and word of their testimony (Revelation 12:11). Christ and the church will live forever as bridegroom and bride in a union that is perfect and complete.

Revelation 22 walks us back from that final state to our situation now, where, as followers of Christ, we are waiting for his return. Here we find a conversation between Christ the Bridegroom, and the church, who is betrothed to him. This conversation is the essence of prayer.

Christ the Bridegroom says, “Surely I am coming soon.” This is a promise. It is written down so the church can read it every day until it actually happens. As John Stott said, “God still speaks through what he has spoken.” These words from Christ were spoken to the first-century church, and they still speak to us today.

The Bride, the followers of Christ who are called the church, says, “Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.” This is a prayer. The prayer is ongoing. John the apostle prayed it when the revelation was first given to him. The first-century church prayed it in the midst of her hardship under the rule of the Roman Emperor. We pray this prayer today, as we live faithfully to the confession that Jesus is Lord.

The end of Revelation reads like a conversation. That’s what prayer is. Prayer is the church responding to the spoken and written promise of Christ. His promises are given to us in the word, the Bible. We read them, believe them, and base our lives on them. Then, we respond to him in prayer based on his promises.

Christ says, “I will come again and receive you to myself.” (John 14:3). We hear in that promise every other promise he has made. He will save us from our sins, restore us to a right relationship with God, provide for us, and keep us in faith. He will never leave us. He will return and make all things new.

We say, “Lord, is it now, is it time?” (Acts 1:6). We ask him to come today. We ask him for grace to wait in patience, purity, and perseverance until he comes. We ask him for everything we need to be faithful now and hopeful for then. We pray for more people to come to faith and become the Bride.

The time between Christ’s ascension into heaven in the first century and his return someday in the future is not a time of silence. Today, there is an ongoing conversation between a Bridegroom and the Bride betrothed to him. This is a time of prayer.

If your schedule is full this weekend, read the final conversation in Revelation 22. If you have some free time, try reading the whole book, looking for the pictures of Christ revealed to us. Pray for our congregation as we bring our study of Revelation to a close on Sunday.

-Scott

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