Postmillennial Prayer

By Chalcedon Editorial
December 13, 2018
If prayer is talking with God, then our prayer life is most vital when it is most frequent, when our hearts and minds readily and constantly call upon God in every kind of situation.[1]

There’s an old saying that goes, “Pray like it all depends upon God but work like it all depends upon you.” As Reformed Christians seeking to fulfill the mission of godly reconstruction, this is precisely how we should live, because prayer is not opposed to work, and work is not opposed to prayer. As Rushdoony once wrote, “Prayer is not a substitute for action but its accompaniment.”[2]

This is what sets us apart from pietists who emphasize the devotional and contemplative life to the degree that Christian work in the social order is diminished. Again, prayer and work should work together, and as Rushdoony notes, “To put the contemplative life against the active life is abstractionism and alien to Scripture.”[3]

But how do prayer and action work together? Very simple. We pray while we’re in action!

Praying is like breathing; it is a part of the Christian’s life and basic to it. It is more than formal prayer, important as that is. It is a continual openness to God in all our being. Instead of talking to ourselves as we go through the day, we talk to God, sentence prayers, momentary calls for help, grace, or strength, quick words of thanks, or expressions of need, all this and more. Such constant sentence praying gives us the greatest freedom and advantage in prayer, because it is the practice of the presence of God, of our awareness of it. Its greatest reward is the growing awareness that God is closer to us than we are to ourselves.[4]

​ The Practice of the Presence of God

If you are familiar with devotional classics, you may recognize Rushdoony’s nod to the seventeenth-century Frenchman, Brother Lawrence, whose short volume The Practice of the Presence of God still sells well today. The difference between Rushdoony and Lawrence is that Rushdoony saw prayer and devotion as a means to better engage the world whereas monks and mystics saw prayer as a means of surviving the world. Rushdoony’s postmillennialism always infused his practice of prayer:

The habit of continual sentence prayers will take a man out of these evil times and give him grace and power to triumph over the spirit of the age and more.[5]

In Psalm 16:8, David wrote, “I have set the Lord always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.” This is a simple but remarkable confession and one that communicates tremendous faith on the part of David. He saw the Lord as at his right hand, and this was something David did intentionally. He said he always set the Lord before him, and because of the confidence that vision provided, David was not moved by what he saw physically.

Since Rushdoony lived similarly it helps to explain his extraordinary faith in the victory of God in history as well as his unwavering commitment to his calling at Chalcedon. Rushdoony included God in every situation, and this relationship with his Lord enabled the scholar to labor relentlessly until the day he passed.

Prayer Is Future Oriented

Is this not our example to follow? Do we only pray before meals, with family, or at church? Or do we demonstrate a focused dependency upon our ever-present Lord by taking all of our concerns to Him while thanking Him for all that He provides?

Our Lord said we should pray for God’s Kingdom to come and for His will to be done on earth as it is in heaven (Matt. 6:10), but this prayer is predominantly prayed liturgically and is not a prayer of holy desperation on the part of God’s people. Maybe this is due to the eschatology held by most Christians. If their gospel is not one of victory in history, then why pray fervently for the Kingdom to come and God’s will to be done on earth?

Since we are postmillennialists with a calling to dominion, then such praying must be central to our every moment. We are to continually call upon God who never gets weary of hearing from His children who are focused on His coming Kingdom. As Rushdoony said, “Prayer is future oriented. If we are prayerless, we are either indifferent to the future, or we feel God is irrelevant to it.”[6]

We must go about clothed in the armor of God (Eph. 6:13) and prepared to do battle against the kingdom of darkness and its city of man. Although the times may be difficult, they are filled with opportunities to exercise godly dominion beginning with our ceaseless prayer. Let us ask of God for great things. Let us call upon Him to defeat the spirit of the age and let us cry out for dominion to be granted to the righteous.

[1] R. J. Rushdoony, Good Morning, Friends: A Collection of Radio Messages by R. J. Rushdoony, Volume 3 (Vallecito, CA: Ross House Books, 2018), p. 113.

[2] R. J. Rushdoony, Systematic Theology in Two Volumes (Vallecito, CA: Ross House Books, 1994), p. 1204.

[3] ibid., p. 1201.

[4] ibid., p. 1204.

[5] ibid.

[6] ibid., p. 1211.

Topics: Biblical Law, Christian Reconstruction, Dominion, Eschatology

Chalcedon Editorial

More by Chalcedon Editorial