Heaven On Earth

After this I saw a vast crowd, too great to count, from every nation and tribe and people and language, standing in front of the throne and before the Lamb. They were clothed in white robes and held palm branches in their hands. Revelation 7:9

It’s a beautiful picture, right? This is one of those verses that I can see so vividly when I read it. And when I read it, I love to imagine all those people….red and yellow, black and white….all precious in His sight, standing before the throne, all eyes on Him.

The passage continues by telling us that the crowd is shouting with a great roar, “Salvation comes from our God who sits on the throne and from the Lamb.”

Now, in my imagination, I add the sound of those voices roaring together in praise. What would that be like? Countless voices in every language ever spoken. We might think that the sound would be chaotic, but I imagine it as a beautiful symphony of praise to our God.

It is incredible to envision that scene. And, the truth is, if we open our eyes, we can see that scene as a reality unfolding in our midst. Globally speaking, the church is multi-racial, multi-cultural and multi-linguistic. The body of Christ is the ultimate reality of unity among diversity.

But, most Sundays, we don’t experience that reality. We tend to worship with those who look like us, sound like us and live like us. And, when we gather around our tables for food and fellowship or in our small groups for prayer and study, we tend to draw in those who look like us as well.

But, I am reminded of the Lord’s Prayer….“Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

And I wonder….how can we be a part of bringing this heavenly reality to the little part of earth that we occupy?

I wish I had THE answer. I don’t, but I do know that it starts with prayer. I’ve been overwhelmed with the diversity of women who have expressed interest in our Praying through Scripture prayer journal. It’s incredibly encouraging and inspiring to know that women of diverse races, backgrounds and cultures are praying to our God. I want to pray for them and with them. I want to see God do a unifying work in my little corner of the world and I want to see it branch out far beyond me.

So, how can prayer be a part of this in our lives?

Genuine prayer levels the playing field among us. Genuine Christian prayer begins with knowing God is God and we are not. In spite of our vast differences, we, in our humanity, are all much more like each other than we are like Christ. So, let’s pray for each other. For those who are like us AND for those who are not.

And, prayer, especially prayer saturated in God’s word, changes our desires. The Bible says when we delight ourselves in the Lord, He gives us the desires of our heart. How is that possible? Simply put, when we delight in Him, our desires change. His will becomes our wants. We will long for His ways….for His Kingdom to come in our own lives. So, let’s pray that the diversity of His church will be a reality in our little parts of the world.

With these new desires, we can begin to ask God to open our eyes for the opportunities around us. And this is where it gets exciting. In my personal experience, I can tell you that God has answered this prayer every time. So ask, in faith, that God would show you how to be a part of spreading and sharing His kingdom, especially to those around you who look nothing like you.

I like to pray Psalm 46:10 which says, “Be still, and know that I am God!  I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world.” It’s a short little Scripture (and easy to memorize) but it gives you the opportunity to ask God how you can be a part of His global purpose of drawing all kinds of people to Himself.

He may open your eyes to an opportunity in another country or He might simply ask you to walk across the street or drive across town. We live in an exciting time. The nations are among us. Many of us live in or near communities that are very diverse….this is especially true if you live near a large college or university. So, ask Him to open your eyes. You may be surprised by what you see!

Finally, be ready to obey. This is always the part when it gets scary. But, you can choose faith over fear. You can choose the glory of Christ over the comfort of self. And, you can choose to see His kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven. And, the prize is literally a glimpse of heaven….

 

 

 

 

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