Life on planet earth is sad. All my life, I lived with the story of a mother who at three years old, she lost her mother. I have been told that for a year, she went around the house looking for her mom. Many times I have watched a movie that made me want to cry. I have a broad picture of an anniversary in my possession, with perhaps sixty people in it. In the front is a child maybe eighteen months old, that is me. At sixty-six, I believe only three people are remaining, I have lost all the rest to death.
One of the saddest movies is LOVE STORY. Two people fall in love; they develop the idea that love is never having to say you're sorry. Meaning forgiveness and acceptance is always available. Then the wife gets sick and dies. The movie ends with the husband being left alone.
My grandfather lost his wife when he was forty-nine; she was thirty-nine. They had six children; one passed with his mother due to the 1918 influenza, which claimed the lives of 100 million people worldwide. One-tenth of the population died, were not infected, but died. We live in a world filled with death.
An Expectation That Will Not Disappoint
What is the upside? "For we know that if the earthly tent which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens." "...Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord— for we walk by faith, not by sight— we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord." (2 Corinthians 5:1, 6-8)
The most important word for our attention in the previous passage is "we." We who have the assurance of salvation, a gift of the Holy Spirit, whose hearts have been transformed, who are the recipients of the love of God and now love Him out of appreciation, respect, and worship of Him have spiritual sight. We are looking for a home that is not on this earth, but we know it exists by God-given faith. We prefer to be absent from this present physical body until we receive a new and improved one, and most importantly, to be present with the Lord of our salvation.
What does it mean to be present with the Lord? Do you pray? How important is praying to you? Some seem to think that prayer ends in heaven. I couldn't disagree more. If prayer is talking to God, which it is, then prayer becomes constant in heaven. There will never be a moment in heaven when "we" are not conscious of God's presence, both in the bodily form of Jesus Christ, and the radiant light of God's glory. For proof, spend some time reading Revelation twenty-one and listen to John MacArther preach about it on gty.org.
The Vitality of Prayer
One of the most gifted authors on the importance of prayer, E. M. Bounds, once wrote. "Prayer is not merely a question of duty but of salvation. Are men saved who are not men of prayer? Is not the gift, the inclination, the habit of prayer, one of the elements or characteristics of salvation? Can it be possible to be in harmony with Jesus Christ and not be prayerful? Is it possible to have the Holy Spirit and not have the spirit of prayer?"
What is the meaning of life? In two verses, it is simple. "And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose... For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son..." (Romans 8:28, 29) Jesus was born to intercede, and as our High Priest, He talks to God on our behalf. This work is His greatest joy and will last an eternity.
"But Jesus, on the other hand, because He continues forever, holds His priesthood permanently. Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him since He always lives to make intercession for them." (Hebrews 7:24,25)
The death of Jesus for the salvation of the lost, which is of eternal value, was finished at His death on the cross. His mediation at the consummation of this present age will no longer be for the forgiveness of sins, but to ensure our love and worship of God in Him. Now that is a LOVE STORY!
If we are being made in His image, and He lives forever to pray, how vital should prayer be in our lives? I'm thinking a few minutes to satisfy our sense of duty is not sufficient or satisfying. What do you think?