Do My Prayers Really Reach Heaven?
Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Matthew 6:10
When the disciples came to Jesus and asked Him to teach them to pray, He said, "This is how you should pray: ‘Our Father in heaven...’" Stop! But just where is heaven? Literally the words are "in the heavens." The space that surrounds planet earth is really pretty vast, right? Is this what He is talking about? Yet, if you are in China and look overhead, you're looking at the opposite direction of our friends in Quito, Ecuador who are listening to this program. Just where is the dwelling place of the Father? For a few moments, think with me about how vast the heavens really are.
In 1977, scientists launched a rocket filled with sophisticated space components known as Voyager II, and for 12 long years it winged its way through space. Then 12 years later, it began to enter the gravitational pull of the planet Neptune. On the morning of August 25, 1989, cameras began snapping pictures of Neptune and its moon, Triton--some 2.79 billion miles in space--showing scenes no mortal had ever viewed before. It took 4 hours and 6 minutes for pictures to reach us from Neptune, compared with 1.5 seconds for light to reach us from the moon.
If, however, you stood on the front porch of Neptune, could you see heaven? A vandal took a can of spray paint and wrote, "God is nowhere!" on the wall of a public building, but a little girl of about seven, came along and read the message, "God is now here!"
Of one thing we are sure, heaven is a real place--the throne room of the Almighty--and from there God rules in the affairs of men. Jesus told His disciples, "I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am!" The word Jesus used, which we translate "place," is the same word which gives us the English word topographical. It was always used of a real place, never a figurative, make-believe place.
Some folks have trouble with the question of where heaven is, because they're looking in the wrong place. They tend to look for God just like a thief looks for a policeman, and should they actually encounter the physical realm of heaven, they would be greatly upset.
The late Astronaut Jim Irwin, one of the 12 men to actually walk on the moon, said that every individual he talked with who was privileged to go into outer space (including the Russian cosmonauts) was profoundly influenced by what he experienced.
Today's program will be heard in many languages around the world. But no matter where you live, when you go to your local post office, you'll find the flag of your country proudly flying in front, right? The seat of government is in your capital, but wherever you find a post office, you find government representation, and that's how I think of heaven.
Jesus said, "For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them" (Matthew 18:20). So where you find a few of God's people, you find that the flag has been planted, and God has brought down a bit of heaven to bless our weary old world.
Think about it when you pray those words, "Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name"! (Matthew 6:9).
Resource reading: John 14:1-14.