At Grace Church Barrow we’re journeying through Revelation 1-5 this term. As well as being actual churches in first-century Asia Minor (what is modern-day Turkey), I’m convinced the seven churches identified (chapters 2-3) are also representative of all churches in time and space. Therefore as we read Jesus’ letters to these churches there will be aspects of challenge and encouragement for all of us in each one.
So as we go through the seven letters to the seven churches, I thought it would be personally helpful to myself to write a prayer responding to each letter each week from the perspective of being the pastor of that church…
The third letter in Revelation is to the church in Pergamum (2:12-17). You can read it here.
Lord Jesus, we don’t tend to think of you as holding a double-edged sword (v12). And yet in the midst of the pressures that can come our way for following you, it’s heartening to know you are a righteous judge – and that justice is not a pipe dream.
We thank you too that you understand our situation (v13). You see what it’s like to be a Christian in this particular time and place. You see what it’s like to lead your people when we’re going against the tide. In fact, you see beyond these pervasive cultural trends and pressures and ideologies: you see the reality of Satan at work (v13). You acknowledge our past faithfulness, even in the midst of spiritual forces that would tempt us away from you.
And yet I hear your word of rebuke too (v14): that we are holding to teaching that has led us into compromise. Forgive me for where I have allowed us to be conformed to the spirit around us in recent times. Forgive me for not seeing the reality of where we have been unfaithful. Forgive me for excusing what I have affirmed as if it were but secondary or even necessary to our witness in this culture.
Show us where we’re bowing down to what our culture says is right and good, rather than holding it against your Word. Give us the spirit of Antipas (v13). We ask that his legacy would be ours in these days. Rather than holding to compromised teaching, help us to instead hold fast to you. To your words, living and active, timeless.
We hear the words of your Spirit in this letter. Give me ears to hear as I lead your flock. By your grace, help us overcome and keep going. To believe that whatever affirmation and plaudits we will miss out on for following you in this life, there is a heavenly banquet awaiting us with manna from your hand that satisfies. And that in whatever sense we are seen as ‘losers’ in this world, we hold in our hands the victor’s white stone, giving us access into your presence, marked out by your name. I pray this prospect would be sweeter in my heart than the praise and acceptance of any cultural institution.
For your sake,