Citizens of Heaven

Prayer for Faithfulness to Christ’s Heavenly Kingdom

Each day during our current Shelter-in-Place ordinance, Pastor Bob has been leading in prayer Live from our Redeemer Church Facebook page. The prayers that he shares are accompanied in the background by music of his choosing that is either inspiring to or inspired from the prayer that he has prepared each day. The prayers are a response or reflection of a confession, passage or poem that has been preserved for us from church history which ties us to the greater, universal body of Christ.

Today’s prayer for us reminds us that we are citizens of another Kingdom — a greater kingdom which is ruled by the sovereign King of Kings. May we desire the mind and affections of our King that we would be faithful in this world of sinful influence.

Below is the text of a letter written by John Newton, the former slave trader turned Christ-follower and pastor. Hear the heart of this historic pastor as he writes:

My dear sir, my prayer to God for you is—that He may induce you to employ the talents He has given you, in pointing out sin as the great cause and source of every existing evil; and to engage those who love and fear Him, (instead of wasting time in political speculations, for which very few of them are competent,) to sigh and cry for our abounding abominations, and to stand in the breach, by prayer, that God’s wrath may yet be averted, and our national mercies prolonged! This, I think, is true patriotism—the best way in which people in private life may serve their country.I consider the ungodly as saws and hammers in the hand of the Lord. So far as they are His instruments, they will succeed—but not an inch further! Their wrath shall praise Him, and be subservient to His designs!
If our lot is so cast that we can exercise our ministry free from stripes, fines, imprisonments, and death—it is more than the gospel has promised to us! If Christians were quiet when under the cruel governments of Nero and other wicked persecutors, when they were hunted down like wild beasts—then we ought to be not only quiet but very thankful now! It was then accounted an honor to suffer for Christ and the ‘offence of the cross’!

If I had the wisdom or influence to soothe the angry passions of mankind—I would gladly employ them! But I am a stranger and a pilgrim here in this world. My charter, my rights and my treasures, are all in heaven—and there my heart ought to be. In a very short time, I may be removed (and perhaps suddenly) into the unseen and eternal world—where all that now causes so much bustle upon earth—will be of no more importance to me—than the events which took place among the antediluvians!‘”

John Newton

The additional text below is the prayer that Pastor Bob prepared for us as he led in prayer on the May 5, 2020 on the 50th day of Bay Area “Shelter-in-Place”. We hope that this prayer will serve as a reminder that we are citizens of another Kingdom ruled by the Sovereign Lord.

O, Lord Jesus, today we wish to be reminded that we are citizens of a heavenly kingdom as Saint Paul reminds us in Philippians. We want you to remind us that our treasure is and should increasingly be in heaven and not on earth. We pray that You would instill in us a godly patriotism for the country that we own as our place of habitation so that we can be a light to our compatriots and point them to a heavenly home. Give us a profound sense of joy in the opportunities we have right now in the midst of this quarantine for growth in our faith. Help us to remember the saints who have gone before us who were quiet and dignified under the cruel oppression of Nero and other wicked persecutors. Indeed, if we are not suffering persecution it is, as Newton said, more than the gospel has promised us! So, today, the 50th day of shelter-in-place for those of us in the Bay Area, we ask that You would instill in us resilience, peace, joy, and a hearty conviction that You Alone are worthy of praise! Indeed, we do believe that all the schemes of men are mere hammers and saws in Your hands accomplishing Your exact purpose for our good and Your glory! Relieve us, we pray. And when we are relieved and going back into the busyness of our lives, we pray that we will be active as pilgrims making our way to a City that is not made with human hands and free of viruses and tears and sin.

In Jesus Name, Amen

You can find the live video recording of Pastor Bob leading in prayer at the link below. The music that he has chosen to accompany this prayer time comes from Bach’s Cantata for the Purification of Mary called “Ich habe genug” meaning “I am content”. The song is sung by Simeon in the temple when Mary and Joseph present the baby Jesus. The text is in German, but the translation in English reads this:

I have enough,
I have taken the Savior, the hope of the righteous,
into my eager arms;
I have enough! 
I have beheld Him, 
my faith has pressed Jesus to my heart; 
now I wish, even today with joy 
to depart from here.

For a link to the recording of this song, you can find it on Spotify here.

For the the prayer shared on our Facebook Page Live. (May 5, 2020)