The Cry of the Kingdom
This morning I attended a coffee morning in one of our local churches. As usual, I found myself browsing the second hand book stall. I never cease to be amazed at the eclectic mix of books that can be found on book stalls such as these. There right next to a copy of Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code (wonder how that crept in?) was a book on prayer. Should I buy it? The book on prayer I mean!
Of course I have too many books already. I am a self-confessed bookaholic. But having set myself the task, some months ago, to produce something on prayer on a weekly basis, I have to keep engaging in a range of material. (I am not complaining here for it is a worthwhile discipline.) In my latest bookstall find the author, like so many others seem to do, waxes lyrical over the need for more prayer! More prayer meetings! More networking over the internet so that we pray 24/7! Now all of that is fine, as is anything that encourages us to pray, but I hate the idea that it all depends on us. When we get our prayer life sorted out then God will send revival etc.
Take a moment to consider what prayer actually is and, is not. I like the description by Stanley Grenz, that prayer, is, ‘The Cry of the Kingdom.’ Grenz also reminds us that petitionary prayer is not ‘a grab bag of miscellaneous items on a spiritual wish list.’ Rather, ‘in prayer we invoke the coming of the kingdom of God into the circumstances we are facing…we cry out to God “Your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven”.
Grenz goes on to say that effective prayer means we are continually conscious of prayer. This is somewhat different from hounding people to do more prayer, attend more prayer meetings and follow more of the latest initiatives. When Paul reminds us to ‘Pray without ceasing’ perhaps he has in mind that we ‘bathe ourselves continually with the awareness of God’s presence and to respond to this awareness not only by living in a prayerful manner but by making all of life a conversation with God.
According to Karl Rahner; “What we can say about prayer is of little consequence: what matters most is what we say in prayer.” So, as one who finds himself in a position of having much to say about prayer: I also face the daily challenge of, being in a continual awareness of God’s presence, of being in conversation, continually, with the living God. There is much to distract me from that but what a privilege. To engage in, ‘The Cry of the Kingdom.’
Prayers from Scripture
Who art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, the power,
and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen
O God, you are my God,
and I long for you.
My whole being desires you;
like a dry, worn out, and waterless land,
my soul is thirsty for you.
Let me see you in the sanctuary;
let me see how mighty and glorious you are.
Your constant love is better than life itself,
and so I will praise you.
I will give you thanks as long as I live;
I will raise my hands to you in prayer.
My soul will feast and be satisfied,
and I will sing glad songs and praise to you.
 Stanley Grenz, Prayer, The Cry of the Kingdom, Revised Edition, (Michigan: Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2005), 122
 Grenz, Prayer, The Cry of the Kingdom, 123
 Karl Rahner, On Prayer (New York: Paulist, 1968), 108-109, cited in, Stanley Grenz, Prayer, The Cry of the Kingdom, Revised Edition, (Michigan: Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2005), 124
 From Psalm 75