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Prayer Touches Eternity (Psalm 16 & 17)

If you want to send a personal letter you wrote to a far-away country, you write the destination on the envelope, pay for postage, and let it go. But behind the scenes, there is movement. Your letter may be transported by multiple trucks and airplanes, eventually reaching the nation, city or town, street, and residence to which you sent it. Suddenly, your words are heard and your heart is conveyed, at a distance too great to comprehend. You affect the mind and heart of the person who lives there. If you expressed gratitude, someone on another continent is now smiling. If you made a request, someone ten thousand miles away can now respond to your desire.

We are fairly confident in international mailing services, but the resources of heaven are infinitely more certain, and the transportation of our prayers to the ears of the living God far more faithful! It is a shame that so many of us are less assured about the power of prayer than about the reliability of mail travel, seeing as the benefits of prayer are indescribably greater.

For one, our prayers do not travel to Iceland or Kenya but into another realm, unspeakably greater than ours. Scripture describes God as, “the High and Lofty One who inhabits eternity” (Isaiah 57:15). The words of earnest prayer to God have eternity as their destination, because that is His place of residence. There is no limitation of time or natural ability or decay or unbelief there. Because prayer touches eternity, we do not need to wait until we die to say, “In Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore” (16:11). As we seek God in prayer, the kingdom of heaven begins to break into earth, eternity touches our natural lives, and in His manifest presence, we experience at times a true fullness of joy. The pleasures of intimate friendship with God that we will know “forevermore” begin to break into reality here and now.

Furthermore, the Person who receives our prayer in eternity is not merely a distant relative or a peer. He has all power and authority, He knows all things, and He is present in every place. So powerful is God’s weakness that it crushes and disarms all the powers of the devil and his demons. Even with all His power, He is not a harsh demanding deity but a pure, spotless, self-giving Savior who loves mankind so much that He lays down His life for them. He is a High Priest who can “sympathize with our weaknesses” and was “in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15). If His compassion toward mankind is great, His love for His followers is beyond measure. He says about them, “They are the excellent ones, in whom is all my delight” (Psalm 16:3). There is quite literally no greater Person and no greater realm that anyone could reach!

Knowing this, brothers and sisters, we should not pray to God saying “If you can…” or fail to remind ourselves of the vast and endless resource of heaven on our behalf. David prayed, “Let me vindication come from Your presence,” and “Deliver my life from the wicked with Your sword” (17:2, 13). He fully expected to see the power of God and the answer of heaven. Leave it to other people to be satisfied with amassing possessions and having children to continue their family name (17:14). As for us, may we be satisfied not just to have children but to see Christ formed in them. May there still be a cry of prayer and a groaning in our spirit as long as there is still more heavenly treasure to store up in eternity, or more of the character of Jesus to be reflected through our lives.

-Pastor Alex

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