John 17:1 – “When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said…”
It seems like every good superhero movie in some form or fashion borrows the storyline of the Bible. The people of earth are in danger, and a hero comes from another planet to defeat some evil villain and save the lives of people otherwise doomed to destruction.
Somewhere deep in the human soul, it seems like we know that our only hope is a savior coming in from outside our fallen planet. The storyline of the Bible is even more fantastic than any comic. God came down from Heaven on a mission to seek and save people on the earth. His name is Jesus Christ.
The longest recorded prayer of Jesus Christ occupies the entire chapter of John 17. There, Jesus begins to pray by looking up. Prayer is how we look up to the Kingdom of God. Prayer is how we invited the hope, help, and healing of the Kingdom to come down to the earth. While we remain on the earth, we need to look up to heaven as Jesus did for at least four reasons.
- This world is not normal. This world is filled and fraught with sin that brings suffering. The Kingdom of God is normal, and this world is abnormal. When we look up and pray, we are inviting God to make this abnormal world like His Kingdom.
- This world is not home. One day, we will die and be in the Kingdom forever. When we look up and pray, we remind ourselves where our real Home is.
- This world is not forever. This world is coming to an end and will be replaced by the perfect eternal Kingdom of God. When we look up and pray, we remind ourselves that whatever needs we are praying for today will be answered in full on the final day.
- This world is where we pull heaven down or pull hell up. Standing on the earth, when we choose sin, folly, rebellion, bitterness, strife, lies, pride and the like we are literally pulling hell up into our life because in eternity the only place those things will be is in hell. By looking up to heaven in prayer, the Holy Spirit helps us choose holiness, wisdom, obedience, forgiveness, love, truth, humility and the like and, in so doing, are pulling heaven down into our life. Prayer is where we look up and pull heaven down rather than looking down to pull hell up.
What are you most looking forward to in the Kingdom of God forever?