Desert Wisdom: Eschatology

Bunge moves on to show that Night Prayer also had a connection to eschatology.

Tertullian called it waiting attentively for the angel’s trumpet.  Night Prayer was one of the ways the early church trained itself to look for the return of Christ.

Interestingly, Bunge includes a quotation from the Epistula Apostolorum (probably written between 140-150 a.d.) that shows how the whole night was couched in the spirit of attentiveness….

As for sleep at night, pray for two hours beginning at evening, reckoning them from sunset on.  And after you have praised [God], sleep for six hours.  Then arise for the night watch and spend the remaining four hours [until sunrise] in prayer.

Praying eschatologically means that we see the present moment in relation to the eventual return of Christ and the transformation of life.  It is not praying in relation to any particular theory of the Second Coming, but rather praying in relation to faith that is confident Jesus will return.  It is disposing our hearts for his return, so that we are not found unready when he comes.

Again, this is not only an actual practice in the night, but a larger disposition which should frame our praying in relation to the never-ending request, “Come, Lord Jesus!”

About Steve Harper

Retired seminary professor, who taught for 32 years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. Author and co-author of 42 books. Also a retired Elder in The Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.
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2 Responses to Desert Wisdom: Eschatology

  1. The Misnight Cry…..We’re going hone!

  2. Jim Bradshaw says:

    While praying eschatologically is the point in this blog, we can not neglect that our eschatology will affect how we pray! Consequently, we must consider the eschatology of Jesus and the Apostles when we pray in this manner, looking at their examples when they prayed eschatologically… like the one quoted in part above (I believe we need to consider the sentence prior to “Maranatha” as part of this praying eschatologically).

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