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I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people say, “I pray, but I don’t feel like my prayers get beyond the ceiling.” Most of us have felt this way at one time or another. We may know the biblical truth that God listens from heaven, but we aren’t sure that our prayers actually reach Him. When we lack this confidence, Scripture offers a solution. If we want to know that our prayers go beyond the ceiling, we need to set our hearts on the things above and become captivated by the glorious, heavenly throne room of God.

Both in the Old and New Testaments, God’s faithful people often approached Him in worship and prayer with the eyes of their hearts turned upward toward heaven and what happens there. Listen to just one example in Psalm 29:1–2:

Ascribe to the Lord, O heavenly beings, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength. Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness.

As we can see here, the psalmist focused his heart and mind on two dimensions of the heavenly throne room of God.

The Worship of God

In the first place, notice that the psalmist was so inspired by his awareness of the throne room of heaven that he addressed the “heavenly beings.” In fact, he cried out for them to join him in his worship: “ascribe to the Lord . . . ascribe to the Lord . . . worship the Lord.” In effect, he called for the creatures of heaven to join him in worship, much as we do when we sing the traditional Doxology: “Praise Him all creatures here below; praise Him above ye heavenly host.”

The Splendor of God

In the second place, and even more inspiring, the psalmist fixed his heart on “the Lord in the splendor of holiness.” As Psalm 104:1–2 puts it, God reveals Himself in heaven as One “clothed with splendor and majesty . . . with light as with a garment.” Or as Revelation 4:3 says, God discloses Himself in heaven with “the appearance of jasper and ruby.” Isaiah 6:2 tells us that the holy radiance of God on His throne is so overwhelming that even the seraphim ministering before him cover their eyes. As the psalmist turned toward heaven, he was amazed at the Lord’s “glory and strength” and “the glory due his name.”

Faithful servants of God throughout Scripture and the history of the church have found such biblical scenes of heaven compelling and reassuring. As the Apostle Paul put it, “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth” (Col. 3:2). Becoming more fully engaged with the wonders of heaven where Christ reigns in glory is one of our greatest privileges. And when we draw near to God in this way, we gain confidence that our prayers are going beyond the ceiling to the very throne of God.

The Parables of Jesus

The Parable of the Unjust Judge

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From the March 2016 Issue
Mar 2016 Issue