Confession time. I have been perplexed about how to pray for the Church in these last days.
Please allow me to explain.
The Lord’s Prayer, which Jesus told us to pray, includes this statement of agreement with God’s will:
“Your kingdom come. Your will be done.”
We are to pray for God’s kingdom to come.
How do we do that? What I mean is, when I pray “Your kingdom come,” I am praying for Jesus to return, because He must return for the Kingdom of God to be established on the new earth. In order for God’s Kingdom to be established, many difficult events must occur. Yet, in spite of all of these troubling events, John wrote at the end of the Book of Revelation:
“The Spirit and the Bride say, ‘Come.’ And let the one who hears say, ‘Come’” (Revelation 22:17).1
As you see in this verse, we are told to agree with God’s will concerning the Last Days: “And let the one who hears say, ‘Come.’”
And John did. After all he had witnessed, the plagues, the tragedy, the Antichrist, and the wonders to come, he wrote:
“He who testifies to these things says, ‘Surely I am coming soon.’ Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!” (Revelation 22:20).
“Amen,” we are to pray, “Please return, Lord Jesus.” We are to pray this after we have read about all the horrible things that must transpire in the days to come. However, after all those mind-bending terrors, God’s glorious kingdom follows:
“Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever” (Revelation 22:1–5).
We are to agree—yes, to pray that all of this—the misery and the glory—will happen.
And one of those things that must happen before Jesus returns is the falling away of the Church:
“Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God” (2 Thessalonians 2:3–4).
From these verses alone, one could say that “the rebellion” (“apostasía” in Greek) refers to a general rebellion against God. However, we have Jesus warning about a falling away as well:
“Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved (Matthew 24:9–13).
And Jesus asked this thought-provoking question when He addressed God’s justice-to-come in His teaching:
“Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” (Luke 18:8).
So, how am I to pray for a Church that must fall away before Jesus returns?
We will look at this next time.
Hint: I believe the answer is in the first nineteen verses of the ninth chapter of Daniel.
1All Scripture quotations from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2001). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.