We are pilgrims, this is not our home. We are here, living by faith, eagerly awaiting Christ’s return. Here, traveling through, begging “Guide me O Thou Great Jehahovah!” Our flesh will fight this, tempting us to settle in with heads down. Do not give in, Pilgrim! Like Jeremiah instructed in chapter 29, that famous (misapplied) chapter that tells us God has plans for our welfare, to give us hope…the one given right before the audience hearing it are sent into exile. And while in exile, they are told to build homes, and seek the peace of that city. So here we are, not home yet, not in control of when or how God’s plan unfolds, asked to seek the welfare of this city which is not our ultimate home, but while doing so to not to be “of this world.” We are to live here as light, to live here praying for peace; working for reconciliation between God and His elect; loving one another more than our selves, encouraging one another day after day while it is still called today. This pilgrim mindset is not grim, it is hopeful.
And so, as pilgrims, we pray:
Our citizenship is in heaven (Philippians 3:20), yet we dwell here, eagerly awaiting our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ! Guide our hearts and minds, Spirit of Truth. You are the Lord of peace, grant us peace in every circumstance! (2 Thessalonians 3:16)
Free our hearts from deceitful lusts, and the sins that so easily ensnare us, that we may seek the city which is to come (Hebrews 13:14).
You have rescued us out of the kingdom of darkness (Colossians 1:13) and made us ambassadors; lavish your grace upon us, renew our inner man, for this life you have called us to (2 Corinthians 4:16; 5:20).
Pilgrims in a barren land, a place that promises satisfaction but is full of decay and destruction. A weary land, weary with striving and strife. Our flesh so easily takes on the attitudes of barrenness and weariness. But Christ promises peace and joy in the midst of our tribulations; He promises to be our peace as we look to Him whenever we are anxious; He promises to always be near, an ever present help, a gentle shepherd, a faithful high priest. He promises to change us from glory to glory–making us more like Him. We are needy, and He meets those needs, and is most glorified when we come to Him boldly–trusting His goodness and power and love.
And so, in this barren land we pray:
We join Paul in begging: Direct our hearts into the love of God and into the steadfastness of Christ (2 Thessalonians 3:5).
We grow weary of well-doing; fill our hearts and minds with Your passion and truth, and such a love for one another that would flow out in mutual encouragement.
We can have boldness and confident access through faith in Christ! Strengthen us with power through Your Spirit in our inner man (Ephesians 3:12, 16).
Therefore, (in light of the promise of God’s continual presence in our lives) be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing your toil is not in vain (not purposeless). (1 Corinthians 15:58).
Faith is succinctly described in Romans four as believing that God would do all that He promised to do. Jesus taught His disciples to let His words abide in them, and then to pray. So as pilgrims, in a weary land, let us pray in faith, letting His promises abide in us:
You, Lord Jesus, are the firstfruits of those rising from the dead! In everything You have preeminence (Colossians 1:15-18). You have entered heaven itself, to appear in the presence of God for us (Hebrews 9:24) and You always live to make intercession for us (Hebrews 7:25).
You have given us the Spirit of power and love and discipline! We want to to walk in Your Spirit, rather than our flesh. (2 Timothy 1:7)
We suffer now, but You–the God of all grace, who called us to Your eternal glory in Christ, will perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish us (1 Peter 5:10). Fill us with Your patience as we await this!
The crown of righteousness awaits all who have loved Your appearing–may we treasure You and all You have prepared for us! (2 Timothy 4:8)