PRAYER FOR THE LORDS RETURN
1. - THE HOLY GHOST.
FIRST we learn what is the mind of the Holy Ghost. The Spirit and the Bride say, Come (Rev. 22: 17). It is (as far as I know) the only recorded prayer of the Holy Ghost: He Who prays with groanings which cannot be uttered (Rom. 8: 26), when they are uttered, their summary is COME. The significance of this is extraordinary. The Spirit has a myriad ways of affecting the world for good, yet His prayer is, Come: He knows perfectly all evolution, all progress, all revival, all Gospel advance, yet His prayer is, Come: He knows the inexhaustible resources, the unrevealed powers, the most secret plans of God, yet His prayer is, Come. The Holy Ghost knows no solution to the problem of the universe except the Second Advent of Christ; and it is His own supreme prayer; thus the fuller we are of the Spirit of God, the surer we are to pray His prayer.
2. - OUR SAVIOUR.
Next we learn the mind of our Lord. He says: When ye pray, say, Thy Kingdom come (Matt. 6: 10). This, more than ever in these last days, ought to be the first and last of the Churchs prayers; for all that she desires for herself, for the world, and for her Lord Himself, is comprised in this (Dr. H. Bonar). We are apt to see men to the exclusion of mankind; when we pray, for the Kingdom, we plead for thirty generations against one, for God will amputate a single generation - and that, only after countless pleadings in grace and judgment - to save an entire race. It is the most practical of all possible prayers, for there is no other way whereby the worlds political and social salvation can be wrought, and Gods love for the world at last fulfilled. There is no remedy, as Lord Shaftesbury, who wrought more social amelioration for his generation than any other man, said, for all this mass of misery, but in the return of our Lord Jesus Christ. Why do we not plead for it every time we hear the clock strike? The Lord Himself, in the words of Canon Simpson, would never have bidden us pray, Thy Kingdom come, if those seasons, which no man knows, were so irrevocably fixed that our efforts could not hasten, or our sins retard, the wheels of His chariot. If the Jewish disciple, by praying that his flight may not be on the Sabbath or in winter (Matt. 24: 20), can so modify the date of that flight as to change not only the day of the week but even the season of the year, much more is it in the power of the Church to HASTEN the coming of the day of God (2 Pet. 3: 12, marg.).
3. - THE APOSTLES.
Next we learn the mind of the Apostles. Jesus says,
Yea, I come quickly. Amen, cries John: I accept the doctrine, I hold fast the promise, I rejoice in the speed: Come, Lord Jesus (Rev. 22: 20). It is the last prayer from an apostles lips; it is the last and crowning prayer of the Bible; it is the last prayer of the last Apostle of the Lamb: the whole canon of inspiration closes with a direct appeal to Christ to come. There may be many years of hard work before the consummation, but the signs are to me so encouraging that I would not be unbelieving if I saw the wing of the apocalyptic angel spread for its last triumphant flight in this days sunset. 0 you dead Churches, wake up! 0 Christ, descend! Scarred temple, take the crown! Bruised hand, take the sceptre! Wounded foot, step the throne! Thine is the Kingdom! (Dr. Talmage). It is Johns last prayer, and happy shall we be if, falling asleep, it is the last prayer upon our lips also.
4. - THE CHURCH.
Next we learn the mind of the
[* This word to the hearer will remain
in full force even after the watchful of the Church or the whole Church are
borne away. Jesus coming is, to
5. - OURSELVES.
Next we learn our own need.
All holy and Scriptural desire is legitimate fuel for prayer; and it is
our peril so to be concerned with the doctrine of the Advent that we forget the
twenty-four volumes of the Quarterly Journal of Phrophecy
(1894 to 1873) there is not a single article on
prayer for the Coming. Is
it nothing to us that our Lord wishes to come back? Why is He
coming quickly if it is not
the speed of desire? Many Christians do not realise that the Lord is waiting
until He is invited by His own to return: we may need to be urged; He does not
[* 1 John 3: 3. Be it also remembered that the rapture, the first act of Gods response, may precipitate life in the very souls unsaved [and left (1 Thess. 4: 17)] on whose behalf our anxiety might make us hesitate to pray the prayer.]
6. - OUR HEARTS.
Next we learn the language of the fully‑sanctified heart. A whole book of the Bible is reserved as an embodiment of the heart‑cry for each other of the Bride and the Bridegroom. The waiting Bride suddenly cries: The voice of my Beloved! behold, He cometh, leaping upon the mountains, like a gazelle, or a young hart (Song of Songs, 11: 8) - the two loveliest and swiftest creatures of the mountains. And He replies: Arise [resurrection], my love, my fair one,* and come away [rapture]. For lo, the winter is past, and the time of the singing of birds is come: 0 my dove [see Is. 60: 8], that art in the clefts of the rock, in the covert of the steep place - on the precipitous summit of the Parousia. And then she cries back in words that end the Song: Make haste, my Beloved, and be Thou like to a gazelle or a young hart - for swiftness upon the mountains of spices. In the words of McCheyne: The day of eternity is breaking in the east. Oh, brethren, do you know what it is to long for Himself - to cry, Make haste, my Beloved? As a friend once wrote me:- I always feel when one sings Miss Havergals beautiful hymn Thou art coming, 0 my Saviour, that I want to prostrate myself on the earth and weep for sheer joy!
7. - THE CREATION.
Finally, we learn the unconscious mind of the world. The whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain, waiting for the revealing of the sons of God (Rom. 8: 19). Can you say, More than they that wait for the morning, my soul waiteth for Thee? Does your heart leap when you think that the Christ, ever present, is drawing near to us? All the signs of the times, intellectual and social: the rottenness of much of our life; the abounding luxury, the hideous vice that flaunts unblamed or unabashed before us: all these things cry out to Him, whose ear is not deaf - even if our voice does not join in the cry - and beseech Him to come (Dr. Alexander Maclaren). For all the creation needs can be met only by the Advent. In this prayer is summed up all that the Christian heart can desire - the destruction of the power of Satan; the deliverance of the creature from the bondage of corruption; the banishment of sin and sorrow from the individual heart and from the world; the restoration of all things; the establishment of the kingdom of righteousness; the beholding by Jesus in fulness of the travail of His soul, the bestowment upon Him in completeness of His promised reward. Let each member of the Church militant unite with the Apostle in the longing cry Amen; Come, Lord Jesus. (Dr. E. R. Craven). Bishop J. C. Ryle says: Come, Lord Jesus, should be our daily prayer. Shall we not make a compact together that, so long as breath lasts, we will, without a single days intermission, pray, EVEN SO, COME, LORD JESUS?