Invitation to Prayer (Jesus’ death gives us confidence in prayer)
“[W]e have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body.”Hebrews 10:19-20
Praying with Passion Week:
“13 They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting,
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Blessed is the king of Israel!”John 12: 13
This past Sunday we remembered Palm Sunday with Jesus heading resolutely to the cross, on a path that led through rejection, mockery, abandonment, being whipped and killed on a cross. King Jesus in his action shows his desire for God’s kingdom to come and he accomplishes the salvation of people and brings the kingdom through his death and resurrection. Jesus’ prayer was God’s will be done.
The crowd on Palm Sunday shared the passion for the coming Kingdom of God. Their cry was Hosanna, Blessed is the king of Israel. Rejoicing in prayer and excitement for what God was doing before their very eyes. Now their expectations of how the kingdom of God would come were different from the suffering Jesus endured. But their desire for God’s kingdom was right.
Jesus taught us to pray: “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” Do we ever sweat like Jesus in Gethsemane with longing for this to be true? Do we cry out like the crowds on Palm Sunday with expectation and excitement of God’s coming kingdom? Or do we too often pay mere lip service to God’s kingdom while praying intensely and working for our own kingdom to flourish?
I suspect that most of us, including myself, when we honestly look at our prayers see that we are more likely asking God to bless us, than for his kingdom to flourish in us and in his world. May our personal requests not overshadow our kingdom longing.
Let us be encouraged and humbled that God’s kingdom is advanced through our prayers. Jesus has already brought the kingdom of God to earth as he is the king who inaugurates God’s reign with us. And yet our longing is for God’s kingdom to advance against and overthrow Satan’s strongholds and come in its completeness when Jesus returns. As we journey this week in recalling Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday, let these central events of our faith add fervency and focus to our prayers.
Quote to encourage us in our prayer:
“[W]e should wish with our whole heart that the kingdom of Christ should flourish and prosper; and not only so, but that we should demonstrate this by our prayers.”John Calvin
- Pray for God’s kingdom to come, his will to be done, here on earth as it is in heaven.
- Pray for Jesus to be high and exalted and to draw all people to himself.
- Pray for local congregations in their witness of God’s power to save.
- Pray for congregations around the world, in Ukraine, in refugee camps, in Russia, in hidden house churches, in prosperous nations, for God’s Spirit to encourage and strengthen these churches to minister as his servants in the various locations God has planted them in.
- Pray that all the glory would go to Jesus.
Praying with you,