Monday, May 28, 2012

Heaven, A Prayer

"O my LORD, may I arrive where means of grace cease and I need more more to fast, pray, weep, watch, be tempted, attend preaching and sacrament; where nothing defiles..." ~ "Heaven Desired," The Valley of Vision

In some previous posts I have mentioned that I was taking a class on worship and our professor, Dr. Derek Thomas, had encouraged us to write out prayers on various subjects so that we can think about how we would lead a congregation in prayer before a sermon. This was not so that we would memorize prayers but so that we would engage in the practice of "studied prayers" and be prepared to pray well before a congregation.

Below is one I wrote about Heaven. I hope you find it helpful, perhaps something you can pray through, and perhaps a blessing to your soul.

Father, we lift our praise to You, who are in heaven. We praise You because sit on Your heavenly throne, high and lifted up, with angels all around You singing “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!” From there, the earth is Your footstool and You rule the universe in Your sovereignty. Oh, how we long to see You in heaven, Sovereign Lord. We long to see You face-to-face.

Jesus, we lift our praise to You, the King of Kings seated at the right hand of God the Father. From heaven You rule as King by subduing us to Yourself, ruling and defending us, and restraining and conquering all Your and our enemies. From heaven You minister as Prophet, revealing to us by Your Word and the Holy Spirit, the will of God. From heaven You intercede for us as our High Priest who offered Himself as the once-for-all sacrifice to satisfy divine justice. Jesus, we long to be with You in heaven and see You in Your glory at the right hand of God the Father.

Here on earth, we are just sojourners, wandering through the wilderness of this life. You, Father, have given us Jesus to be our Prophet, Priest, and King. You have given us the Spirit to unite us to Christ and be our comforter in this life. We thank You for those wonderful gifts. Yet, we long for the day when we stand before You united to Christ in heaven. You have given us the means of grace—prayer, Your Word, and the sacraments—to communicate to us the benefits of our redemption in Christ and to sustain us in this life. We thank You for those wonderful gifts. Yet, we long for the day where the means of grace cease because we will stand before You perfected, with our sinful flesh destroyed. We long for the day when we will not need to fast or pray because we will be in perfect communion with You. We long for the day when we will not need to keep watch or fight temptation because You will have defeated the evil one. We long for the day when we will not be able to sin for You will have made us perfect in Christ. We long for heaven where there is no grief, sorrow, sin, death, tears, frail bodies, damaged minds, broken souls, fleeting pleasures, terrible fears, paralyzing worries, or incompleteness. There, we will be near You and stand in Your presence as the bride of Christ, the body of Christ, and one with Him who is with You. There, we will truly understand the joy of our salvation.

Father, here on earth we know You, but we only know You imperfectly, incompletely, and dimly. Your Word is glorious, reveals who You are and Your will, and we are so thankful for it, yet we want to know You even more. We know in part now but in heaven we will know, even as we have been fully known. In heaven we will see You face-to-face and we long to know You with that intimacy. We long to know You as well as You know us.

Father, help us to be so enthralled with the thought of dwelling with You in heaven that we must tell everyone about what awaits they that repent of their sin and put their faith in Jesus. There are many in this world—friends, neighbors, coworkers, and even family members—who do not know Your love, the sacrifice of Christ, and the joy of relationship with You. They do not know forgiveness, imputed righteousness, and freedom from sin. They cannot look forward to the hope of heaven. And, we confess, Father, that many times we do not love them enough to share the gospel with them. Break our hearts for them, Father, so that we cannot help but share Christ with them. Grant us such joy in Christ that they cannot help but see Him in us. Give us the words to express Your gospel clearly and completely. Send the Holy Spirit to regenerate their hearts and renew their wills, so that they can really understand the depths of their sin, see Jesus as He truly is, understand the gift of salvation in Him (in all its glory), and find Your grace in Him irresistible.

Father, thank You for heaven and the hope of glory that we have in it, and we long to be there with You. We pray all these things in the name of Jesus, who has won access to heaven for us, Amen.

By His Grace,

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