When the New Testament speaks of God’s kingdom it never, ever, refers to heaven pure and simple. It always refers to God’s kingdom coming on earth as in heaven, as Jesus himself taught us to pray. We have slipped into the easygoing language of ‘the kingdom of heaven’ in the sense of God’s kingdom being ‘heaven’, but the early church never spoke like that. The point about heaven is that heaven is the control room for earth. Heaven is the CEO’s office from which earth is run – or it’s supposed to be, which is why we’re told to pray for that to become a reality. And the point of the Ascension, paradoxically in terms of the ways in which generations of western Christians have seen it, is that this is the moment when that prayer is gloriously answered. N.T. Wright
I had a thought yesterday that has imbedded itself and I can’t let it go. It is that our prayers make a difference for eternity. When we pray we make a connection between Heaven and Earth. Our words are not just going into the air, they are going to the very throne of God. I think we will be surprised to find that when we get to Heaven, every prayer we ever prayed has preceeded us there. Every prayer gathering we ever attended, every desperate cry in the middle of the night, every anthem of praise lifted up in the early hours of the morning, every single one is counted, heard, considered and cherished by the God who never slumbers nor sleeps. The Bible says the prayer of a righteous man availeth much, not just a little!
I had noticed a shift in my prayer life over the past week or so. Some feelings crept in unannounced, and before I knew what was happening, they had crowded out my prayers! I have been hard on myself….. tallying up the things I have not done for Him, and disregarding everything else. What I was essentially saying was, “God I know I am not doing this, this, and this for you, so I don’t think I am worthy enough for You to hear my prayers. Of course I am unworthy, but I rest in the One who is!
Forgive me God, for withholding my prayers, for though I was praying with my lips, I was condemning myself with my own feelings of unworthiness in my heart….. I don’t have to measure up to my own or anyone else’s standards in order for You to hear me when I pray, I can rest in your Son alone and his total and complete work of restoration on the cross! Thank you, Lord for getting me on the right track again and for reminding me that when I pray, I really am making a dent in Heaven.
Thy kingdom come, thy willl be done, on earth as it is in Heaven…..
Photo of C.S. Lewis prayer closet taken from the movie, “Shadowlands”