Pentecost this year will fall on 31 May, the last day of this month. Ten days earlier we will have celebrated Ascension Day (Thursday 21st). The space between these two events has been filled in recent years with Thy Kingdom Come, a prayer initiative of our Archbishops, and now a global movement.
Teach us to pray
Jesus was asked by his disciples to teach them how to pray. They’d seen that the Great Prophet John had taught his disciples how to pray, and Jesus’ disciples wanted some of this, too. Jesus gave them what we now call the Lord’s Prayer. It is a simple prayer but it has layers of meaning and depth.
Thy kingdom come
The most outrageous part of the prayer is contained in the first two words, Our Father, but the words the Archbishops took as the name for these 10 days is Thy kingdom come, words that call for Father God to establish his reign here on earth in the hearts of people and in our nations.
After Jesus had ascended back to Father God the disciples spent much time in prayer. They did not know exactly what was going to happen, but they will have remembered Jesus’ command that they should stay in Jerusalem:
After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptised with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” Acts 1
“A few days” is not easily defined. However, the disciples did as they were told and they met together frequently for prayer. We don’t know the content of their prayers. We can guess that, if we continue reading chapter 1 of Acts, the disciples had some notion that Jesus was going to restore Israel’s fortunes, but Jesus essentially tells them to wait and see. For themselves, they would receive power to become witnesses to Christ Jesus, not only locally, but globally.
Our ten days of waiting between Ascension and Pentecost has been elevated through Thy Kingdom Come to be a time of committed prayer for God to rise in power in our lives, in our neighbourhood, upon our nation and across the world.
Be part of this
I encourage you to be part of Thy Kingdom Come. I am planning to hold a day of prayer on Saturday 30th, from 8 to 4. We cannot meet together to pray, but I believe we can offer to take up one hour in that time frame to come before God in prayer. Over the next couple of weeks I will publish some materials in this news sheet and on our website that will take you comfortably through an hour. Few people can pray for an hour non-stop, but time spent in reading some Bible passages, tuning in to God, being still before Him are all good builders of an effective life, never mind an hour, of prayer.
Please pray this prayer now:
Father God, I pray that your kingdom be established in my life. Transform me into an effective person of prayer, filling me with the desire and longing to seek your presence, and in your presence I hear your voice or sense your heart. I do not want to pray into the void but instead pray the words you lay on my heart as you hold me close to you. Teach me how to pray. In Jesus’ name. Amen.