Three Things Christians Should Pray For Daily
THREE THINGS are listed in the Scriptures for which Christians everywhere should pray daily: first, for Jerusalem (Isaiah 62); second, for the establishment of the kingdom of God upon earth (Matthew 6:3-15); third, for the world-wide revival (I Timothy 2:1-7 and Revelation, chapter 7). These three subjects of prayer are mentioned in the order in which God disclosed them. From the standpoint of fulfillment, however, the order is, first, the world-wide revival, second, the establishment of the Kingdom upon the earth; and, third, Jerusalem's becoming the beauty spot of the world.
Prayer That Jerusalem May Become The Praise Of The Earth
"Thy Kingdom Come. Thy Will Be Done, As In Heaven, So On Earth."
In Isaiah 62:1-5, God shows His great interest in Jerusalem and declares that He will never take any rest or hold His peace until Jerusalem is made the praise of the entire world. God's thoughts, and plans, and purposes are all focused upon Jerusalem of the future (Isaiah 62:1: "For Zion's sake will I not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem's sake I will not rest, until her righteousness go forth as brightness, and her salvation as a lamp that burneth). According to verse 2, the nations will see Jerusalem's righteousness and the kings of the earth Zion's glory. At that time Jerusalem will be called by a new name which doubtless is the one mentioned in Jeremiah 33:16, "Jehovah our righteousness." When Jerusalem will have been thus restored, it will be a crown of beauty in the hands of Jehovah and a royal diadem in the hands of the Lord. It will nevermore be called forsaken or desolate, but it will be called Hephzibah and Beulah, for Jehovah will delight in her and the land will be married to the people of Israel. In view of the glories that will come to Jerusalem, and the fact that God will use Jerusalem and the Jewish people as the channel of world blessing, Isaiah urges all who believe in prayer to pray very earnestly until God fulfills this vision. "I have set watchmen upon thy walls, O Jerusalem; they shall never hold their peace day nor night: ye that are Jehovah's remembrancers, take ye no rest, 7 and give him no rest, till he establish, and till he make Jerusalem a praise in the earth'' (Isaiah 62:6,7). According to this quotation, God has set watchmen upon the walls of Zion who are there constantly and who are praying for the peace of Jerusalem. There are no men and women on the walls of Zion praying now for its restoration. Since the watchmen are praying upon the walls of Zion and will never hold their peace until God answers their petitions, we may be absolutely certain that Isaiah is not speaking here of men in the flesh. Since the word watchmen is used in referring to angels, one is correct and logical in thinking of these watchmen as angels. In view of these facts then, we may conclude that there are special angels that have been assigned to positions on the walls of Zion and that night and day they are praying constantly that God may over rule the affairs of men and establish Jerusalem as the praise of the entire earth.
Since these angelic beings who know the will and plan of God relative to Jerusalem are co-operating with Him and are praying for its restoration, we who believe in prayer, and who believe in the plan of God and His promises, are urged to pray likewise with these angels regarding the future Zion: "Ye that are Jehovah's remembrancers [prayer-warriors], take ye no rest, and give him no rest, till he establish, and till he make Jerusalem a praise in the earth." It is quite evident that the prophet was speaking to those people of God who know prophecy and something about His revealed plan for the future and the place that Jerusalem and the Jewish people will play in this great future era. Thus born again prophetic students who know the will of God with reference to the establishment of the Messianic kingdom upon earth are urged to pray daily that God will establish and make Jerusalem a praise in the earth. We have reason to believe that there are and have been those who have prayed for the restoration of Jerusalem and the blessing of Israel. But those who know the plan of God and who are interested in the Jews are very few, comparatively speaking. All born-again prophetic students, let me repeat are, urged by the prophet to take no rest and give God no rest until He answers their prayers for Israel. Though it is God's plan and purpose to make Jerusalem the praise of the whole earth, it is necessary that the people of God who know how to pray, and who believe the prophetic Word and believe God will do what He says He will, pray daily and keep reminding the Lord of His plans. Why it is necessary for us to pray in such a manner we may not see, but we can co-operate with God in praying intelligently and in perfect alignment with His announced plan. May I urge all who read this editorial to put first on their daily prayer-list to pray for the peace of Jerusalem and its being established as the praise of the entire earth.
Prayer For The World-Wide Revival
In the Sermon on the Mount, the Lord Jesus taught His disciples how to pray and warned them against praying as the heathen do, for they think they will be heard for their much speaking. The prayer which Jesus taught His disciples to pray is very simple and brief. It is, of course, a model after which we are to pattern our petitions. I shall, therefore, quote it in total; "9 Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. 10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so on earth. 11 Give us this day our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 And bring us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. (Matt. 6:9-13).
Jesus taught His disciples to pray in this way, but this prayer should never be called His. That which is properly called the Lord's prayer is the great intercessory high-priestly prayer recorded in John 17. Although Jesus taught His disciples to use this prayer as a pattern for praying, He did not intend for them to follow it slavishly, but to pray for general things as well as specific. We are to approach God as our Father. Only born-again people can thus address God. When Jesus prayed in the Garden, He did not say "Our Father." He addressed God as Righteous Father, Holy Father, and thus differentiated between Himself and His disciples in their relationship to God the Father. If we are to take this model petition as our pattern, the first thing for which we should pray is that the name of God may be hallowed. May the time speedily come when God's name will be held in reverence by the people of the earth. The next petition pertains to the coming of the kingdom in which God's will will be done upon earth as it is being done in heaven. Thus we know that the Lord was not speaking of the spiritual kingdom which was established at Pentecost after His Resurrection, but He was talking about the establishment of the Kingdom of God upon earth when all men will be genuinely and soundly converted and will be doing the will of God upon earth as it is being done in heaven. (Included, also, of course, will be those surviving the Tribulation who have lived according to the light that they have had, the Corneliuses.) At that time, moreover, the Devil and all his hosts will be incarcerated in the pit of the abyss for the thousand years' reign of our Lord. They, therefore, will not be loose in the world to commit evil. Only by the incarceration of Satan and the evil spirits and by the conversion of all men to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ can this kingdom be established. After praying for the establishment of the kingdom of God upon earth, those who pray are urged to follow other basic principles. We are utterly dependent upon God for everything. We are, therefore, urged to pray daily for our food and all necessities. We are urged, more over, to forgive others of whatever trespasses they may have committed against us. We are to pray for deliverance from the evil one. We are to look forward to the establishment of the Kingdom of God upon earth.
The Lord Jesus Christ in the Olivet Discourse foretold that the gospel of the Kingdom would be proclaimed to all nations for a testimony, and that then the end of the age would come. According to the plan of God then, the gospel of the Kingdom is to be preached to all nations in the very end of the age, in the Tribulation, as is seen by the context in which Matthew 24:14 appears. In I Timothy 2:1-7, the Apostle Paul urges that prayer be made for all men, especially for those of authority in high places who administer the government in which the Christians live. Christians are thus to pray for rulers in order that they might enact the proper laws to the end that Christians may live quiet; and peaceful lives in all gravity and godliness. Their doing so is indeed acceptable in the sight of God. This truth is stated in verse 3, "This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour ..." Growing out of the thought of prayer for all men is the one which speaks of God's desire that all should be saved: "... 4 who would have all men to be saved, and come to the knowledge of the truth. 6 For there is one God, one mediator also between God and men, himself man, Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself a ransom for all; the testimony to be borne in its own times; 7 whereunto I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I speak the truth, I lie not), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth" (I Tim. 2:4-7). According to verse 4, God would have all men to be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth. On this point, the Apostle Paul in Titus 2:11 declared, "For the grace of God hath appeared, bringing salvation to all men ..." On this same point, the Apostle Peter in II Peter 3:9 declared, "The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some count slackness, but, is longsuffering to you-ward, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." These passages teach that God wants everyone to be saved and does not will the damnation of a single soul. The Lord Jesus tasted death for every man (Hebrews 2:9). Since Christ made salvation possible and opened up a new and living way in approaching God, everyone can be saved. Paul said in I Timothy 4:10, "God ... is the Saviour of all men, especially of them that believe." God is, therefore, the Saviour of all men in that He has made ample provision for the salvation of every soul; but not all will accept. He is, therefore, in a special sense, the Saviour of those who believe.
The basic fact of the truth of the gospel is that "there is one God, one mediator also between God and men, himself man, Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself a ransom for all." (I Timothy 2:5,6). This gospel message was preached throughout the world (Col. 1:6,23). We praise God for every missionary, every one who has contributed anything to the great evangelistic program of telling all people about the Lord Jesus Christ and the salvation which He offers to all freely. But God intends for this message to be given to all men in order that every man may have an opportunity of accepting the Lord Jesus Christ and being saved eternally. In verse 6 of this quotation, Paul declared that Christ gave Himself a ransom for all and that the testimony is to be borne in its own times. According to this passage, the testimony concerning Christ's dying for all men will be borne in its own times to the world.
Who will bear this testimony to all nations in its own times? A glance at Revelation, chapter 7, shows who the evangelists will be and when they will conduct their world-wide evangelistic campaign. They will be the 144,000 Jewish believers of whom we read in Revelation 7:1-8. These are the 144,000 people, Jewish by birth, who, after the Rapture of the Church, will see their mistake in not accepting Jesus Christ, will receive Him with their whole heart, and will go forward proclaiming His unsearchable riches to the people of earth during the first part of the Tribulation.
The results of this evangelistic campaign will be that countless thousands, will turn to the Lord: "9 After these things I saw, and behold, a great multitude, which no man could number, out of every nation and of all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, arrayed in white robes, and palms in their hands; 10 and they cry with a great voice saying, Salvation unto our God who sitteth on the throne, and unto the Lamb" (Rev. 7:9,10). Thus these evangelists will bring hundreds of millions of people to a saving knowledge of Christ.
That these people will be brought to a saving knowledge of Christ in the first part of the Tribulation is evident from a study of Revelation 7:11-17 in its context. The angelic being talking to John tells him that this mighty multitude arrayed in white robes are those who have come out of the Tribulation, the great one, and who have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Without a doubt, these people will hear the message as it will be proclaimed by the 144,000 Jewish evangelists, will accept Christ during the first part of the Tribulation, as is evident from the location of this chapter in the Book of Revelation, and will be saved eternally.