‘Thy Kingdom Come’
Praying Aldersgate for a witness (6).
‘O what a work hath God begun since his coming to England!’ John Wesley about Peter Boehller.
True Christian faith is always accompanied by witness of joy, peace and love in Jesus Christ. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby rightly explained the importance of witnessing and living out the Christian faith. According to him, ‘as a church our effectiveness in living out the calling to be disciples of Jesus and to bear testimony to the good news is reliant on each member fulfilling their vocation as a witness. There is nothing more joyful or compelling for us to do. And our effectiveness as witnesses is rooted in the gift of the Holy Spirit.’
It was the vocation and witness of Peter Boehler, a faithful evangelist and spiritual adviser to Wesleys that influence the warmed heart experience of John Wesley and it was the vocation and witness of John Wesley that facilitated the 18th century revival and the emergence of Methodism as a renewal movement, a fresh expression of doing church. Gordon Rupp rightly called Boehler ‘the Evangelist in John Wesley’s Pilgrim’s Progress.’ ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ in the spirit of praying Aldersgate summons us to pray for witnesses for salvation of souls in our families, workplaces and communities just as Boehler laid the foundation for the revival ministry of John and Charles Wesley.
The reflection and prayer concern is that we need to receive the Holy Spirit for empowerment for effective witnessing with extraordinary results. ‘But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth’ (Acts 1:8). ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ in the spirit of praying Aldersgate calls us to stop witnessing by our own strength, power and authority. Effective witnessing is not showing what we can do for God, but showing and telling what God has done for us. Let us pray for a series of ever-widening circles of witnessing personally and corporately, spreading of the gospel, beginning in our homes, families, schools, communities, nations, and the world as our parish.
#pray4UKelection: Please let us pray for all the candidates in the coming election UK. Let us pray for God wisdom and protection of them and their families.
#Day7‘Thy Kingdom Come’
Praying Aldersgate in this age of relativism: City of God versus the City of Man (7).
‘When comes the promised time, that war shall be no more, – war between the city of God and city of man, oppression, lust, and crime; shall flee thy face before? – Lewis Hensley
We are in the age of relativism where all truths are relative thereby setting a new world record of irreverence, violence, corruption, lack of moral clearity, and sexual promisicuity. This age of relativism, post-truth, resonates with two kingdoms at work in the world, the Kingdom of God opposed by the Kingdom of this world. St Augustine’s work, ‘The City of God,’ written shortly after the sack of Rome by Alaric provides a massive classic treatment of the relationship between Christians and the world, between two cities – city of God based on the principles of the Word of God and the city of man based on the sovereignty of man. The two cities are at war since Lucifer brought his diabolical schemes into humanity (Gen 3).
Augustine wrote the City of God in 413 against the backdrops of corruption and paganism that led to the fall of the Roman Empire declared by Constantine to be under one true God. The four essential elements of Augustine’ philosophy in the City of God points to the church, the state, the City of Heaven, and the City of the World shaped by opposing loves and different ends. While the state adheres to the virtues of politics, the church is divinely established with the mandate of leading people to eternal life with God. ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ in the spirit of praying Aldersgate summons Christians, Citizens of the City of Heaven to warfare prayer proclaiming the gospel to our neighbours in the City of the World ‘that they might become save as our brothers’ and sisters in Christ (Eph 6:12).
‘Thy Kingdom Come,’ is the expression of Christian love and responsibility in a crumbling secular culture. ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ is a passionate prayerful pursuit of the City of Heaven as the hope for a proper sense of order, unity, and true peace here and hereafter (Ps 103:19). ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ in the spirit of praying Aldersgate awakens Christians to our identity within society and our eternal destiny. Let us pray ‘Thy Kingdom Come,’ asking God to instruct and inspire us in the one right things to do: ‘Be God’s people in the midst of this world’s (post-truth) culture.’
#pray4PresidentBuhari: Please let us pray for President Buhari of Nigeria for total healing and restoration. Let us pray for grace and wisdom upon all his medical staffs attending to him.
#Day8‘Thy Kingdom Come’
Praying Aldersgate for endtime revival (8)
And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it (Is 2:2).
Drawing on the second stanza of the hymn, ‘Thy Kingdom Come, O God’ provides another important prayer focus in bringing people closer to God the Father, through knowing and following Jesus Christ. Praying ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ in the spirit of Aldersgate is about the church prophetic agenda and repositioning of people and the church for the endtime revival (Michal 4:1-2). The church raised to be God’s Temple and Pillar of Truth needs the reign of peace, unity, purity and love highly visible among and to all the people (Jn 17:21). What would draw people to God is not the church attraction, political affiliation or position, nor its architecture and prominence, but God’s presence through the power of the Holy Spirit. Let us pray for sincere love generated by the Holy Spirit, a constant power in our lives and not just ‘manufactured love,’ something that we turn on and off like a radio.
In a dog eat dog world, a backstabbing world where fierce competition reigns, where everyone fights to outwit others, the church is becoming dog-eat-dog too, people backstabbing, betraying, and even destroying each other’s work and ministry to get better recognition and promotion. Let us pray for end to hatred, disunity, love of money, power, and isolation especially among the people of God. Let us pray that beyond mere religious information and association (2 Cor 3:6), people will be transformed by the teaching of God’s word in line with Isaiah words carved into the wall across the street in the General Assembly, United Nations building: ‘they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore’ (Is 2:4).
#praythyKingdomcome: Let us pray ‘THY KINGDOM COME,’ – O Lord bring an end to the war in our nations – racial war, tribal/political war, terrorist war and economic war .
#Day9‘Thy Kingdom Come’
Praying Aldersgate for ‘Almost Christian’ generation (9).
‘The only thing worse than going to Hell is… going to hell, thinking that you’re going to Heaven.’
As we come to the conclusion of the global prayer initiative ‘Thy Kingdom Come,’ (Ascension to Pentecost), praying for evangelisation, a ceaseless prayer for soul’s saving, Agrippa, a model of ‘almost Christian,’ provides us timely personal reflection. Praying ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ in the spirit of Aldersgate calls us to make a personal decision that warms our hearts, heal homes, renew and revive churches and heals nations. In a worldly , materialistic – post-truth mind, praying Thy Kingdom Come’ opens our eyes to discover that temporary possessions and positions look small next to even the smallest eternal reward.
John Wesley before a group of seminarians at Oxford laid out the difference between ‘Almost Christians’ and ‘Altogether Christians.’ According to Wesley, “even the heathens gave the things they could spare to those in need even without the full knowledge of God.” Wesley explained that almost Christians often look like altogether Christians by practising the fruits of the Spirit having some sense of right and wrong, truth and justice, a set of common virtues. Altogether Christians are not only in love with God and others, they are grounded in faith (Matt 19:16-22; Lk 6:46-49). Jesus said in Matthew 7:21-23 – “Not everyone who says to Me, “Lord, Lord, shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, “Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name and done many wonders in Your name? And then I will declare to them ‘I never knew you, depart from Me…” What Wesley said 279 years ago, that ‘the Church is full of almost Christians who have not gone all the way with Christ,’ resonates with us today with many people having the form of godliness but denying the power thereof. Praying ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ in the spirit of Aldersgate summons us to become ‘altogether Christian’ instead of ‘almost Christian.’
Like Agrippa, many are brushing-off with a sarcastic remark God’s plan of salvation in Jesus Christ alone (Jn 3:16). Agrippa made an abrupt choice to to walk out on a presentation of the Gospel, ‘almost thou persuaded me to be a Christian’ (Acts 26:28). The gospel is not effective until it moves from principles and doctrine into a life changing relationship with God. Praying ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ in the spirit of Aldersgate summons millions of people who have attended and still attending Christian programmes or even in position of church leadership, coming close to the Truth, but not quite in it. Many today knows that they are without Jesus Christ, but using the words of Aristotle, they are too blind to see it. Agrippa as a model of ‘Almost Christian’ points to those who will not take God at His words. True Biblical Christianity puts God above all things and is fully surrendered to Him. According to Schaeffer, ‘Biblical Christianity is Truth concerning total reality—and the intellectual holding of that total Truth and then living in the light of that Truth.’
#Pray4almostchristian: Let us pray that many ‘almost Christian’ would become ‘altogether Christian,’ fully surrender to God living in the light of Biblical truth in Jesus name.
#Day10‘Thy Kingdom Come’
Praying Aldersgate, miracle of Pentecost fire (10).
‘The arrest of the Church’s extensive effect is due to the decay of its intense faith, while a mere piety muffles the loss’ – P. T. Forsyth.
A reflection on Wesley’s Aldersgate experience resonates with the study and revelation of Pentecost as ‘a startling contrast between the promise of power and its absence in the Church of today.’ I agree with a Baptist leader who said, ‘Pentecost is not a Denomination, but is an Experience every Blood- Bought Child of God should Receive.’ Pentecost is not an entirely singular occurrence that occurred 2000 years ago, but a sequence of occasions in which the Spirit mobilises Jesus’ followers and inaugurates new directions for ministry and community.
Drawing on the line from the Lord’s Prayer and Hensley’s hymn, ‘Thy Kingdom Come,’ calls us to personal and church’s miracle of Pentecost fire especially when ‘our churchly Pentecost observances fail … create nostalgia instead of equipping interpreters or prophets.’ Just as the evidence of Jesus’ Ascension into heaven is the Pentecost, the Church is the creation of the Pentecost, ‘a community of believers who owe their religious life from first to last to the Spirit.’ According to Samuel Chadwick ‘the Christian religion is not institutional but experimental.’ Praying ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ in the spirit of Aldersgate is praying for membership and people Pentecost fire encounter bearing in mind that church ‘membership is by spiritual birth.’ Just as Aldersgate experience led to Wesley’s warmed heart, Pentecost fire impels its prophets and people outdoors praying and preaching ‘Thy Kingdom Come.’
Just as Aldersgate started by indoor seclusion and moves to become a global renewal movement with the world as our parish, ‘Pentecost begins in indoor seclusion and moves to public proclamation.’ Chadwick explained that church ‘is not by an ordained class, neither is it in ordinances and sacraments. It is not a fellowship of common interest in culture, virtue, or service … The roll of membership is kept in heaven. Christ is the Door.’ Praying ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ in the spirit of Aldersgate beyond liturgical nostalgia promotes ‘confession of the Lordship of Jesus Christ ..the first condition of membership in His Church.’ Praying ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ in the spirit of Aldersgate promotes major power of Pentecost fire including, worshipping power, warning power and witnessing power. Praying ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ in the spirit of Aldersgate is to fulfil Jesus’ promises on the eve of His Ascension with the Holy Spirit as ‘the active administrative Agent of the glorified Son … the acting Representative of the Ascended Christ. His mission is to glorify Christ by perpetuating His character, establishing His Kingdom and accomplishing His redeeming purpose in the world.’
Praying ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ in the spirit of Aldersgate calls us to pray and ask God who ‘fills the Body, diirects its movements, controls its members, inspires its wisdom, supplies its strength. He guides into the truth, sanctifies its agents, and empowers for witnessing.’ The reflection is that ‘the energy of the flesh cannot do the works of the Spirit. ..When Zion covets Babylonish gold, envies Babylonish garments, copies Babylonish ways, adopt Babylonish altars, and fight with Babylonish weapons, her strength fails because the Spirit of Power is lost.’ Using the words of Chadwick, ‘the work of the Church is supernatural. It cannot be done in the strength of the natural man.’
#Pray4pentecostfire: O Lord, deliver Your church from the occupation and stronghold of natural man in Jesus name.
#Day11‘Thy Kingdom Come’
Praying Aldersgate as Pentecost Personality (11).
‘As the Father has sent me, so I send you.’ When he had said this, he breathed on them and said: ‘Receive the Holy Spirit…’
‘HAVE YOU RECEIVED THE HOLY SPIRIT? is the question the Apostle Paul asked the disciples of Ephesus and is also one of the questions always on the banner display during the Cliff College Festival. The truth is that many of us have been to Calvary (Lenten-Easter circle) for forgiveness of our sins, but have not been to Pentecost to receive the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Power. On this PENTECOST DAY, and as we come to the end of the global prayer initiative, ‘Thy Kingdom Come,’ the question ‘HAVE YOU RECEIVED THE HOLY SPIRIT’ (Acts 19:2) demand a personal answer if we are to experience a fruitful Christian life and overcome church decline. Average Christian today are like the Ephesians believers with no understanding of the role of the Holy Spirit and are unable to appropriate the Spirit of Power hence, the need for a new personality.
On this day, 2000 years ago, the church was born in Glory with increase through conversion when Peter cast the net and 3,000 souls got saved. The different between Pre-Pentecost and Pentecost Peter is the outpouring of the Holy Spirit after tarrying and surrendering to God. The reflection is that receiving Jesus as your Lord and Saviour provides a new powerful fellowship as a child of God and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit gives power as anointed witness to serve Jesus Christ. One vital cause of decline in the Church today is in the poverty of our spiritual life hence, praying ‘Thy Kingdom Come,’ in the spirit of Aldersgate provides courage and boldness of witness, working of various gifts (Heb 2:4), miracles (Gal 3:5), and signs and wonders (Acts 6:8).
The basics of advancing the kingdom of God goes beyond position without Spirit of Power and using the words of Samuel Chadwick, ‘the church that is man-managed instead of God-governed is doomed to failure’ and decline. The church with form of religion without power could multiplies committees adopt enterprising method, labour and spends its strength in vain. Praying ‘Thy Kingdom Come,’ in the spirit of Aldersgate transforms the preachers and produces Pentecost personality with spiritual power, intellectual power, moral power and physical power. A Pentecost personality is enlighten, convicted of their sins, repent, regenerated and trust in Jesus Christ alone. Praying ‘Thy Kingdom Come,’ in the spirit of Aldersgate points to the great pentecostal outpouring (Acts 2:1-3, 11). Beloved, let us ask ourselves the question, ‘HAVE YOU RECEIVED THE HOLY SPIRIT? May God help us examine ourselves on this PENTECOST DAY, even as the apostle Paul examined the disciples of Ephesus.
#prayer4pentecost: Using one of Charles Wesley’s hymns, let us pray, ‘Come, Holy Spirit, our hearts inspire, let us thine influence prove, source of the old prophetic fire, fountain of life and love.