URC Daily Devotion 22 November 2023

inspiration in your inbox

Wednesday, 22 November 2023
Heaven 3


Matthew 6.6, 9–10
But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you. … Pray then in this way:

            Our Father in heaven,
            hallowed be your name.
            Your kingdom come.
            Your will be done,
            on earth as it is in heaven.
In the famous Sermon on the Mount, Jesus gives the disciples instructions concerning prayer. As he does so, he mentions heaven in three important ways. The first two of these follow what we learned of the Bible’s understanding of heaven yesterday.
First, he speaks of ‘Our Father in heaven’ – heaven is the dwelling-place of God within creation.
Second, he speaks of God seeing us pray – God listens to the pleas of God’s people.
But third, he tells us about what we should pray: ‘Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven’.
This third aspect of Jesus’ teaching tells us something very important about heaven: heaven is the place where God’s will is already done. As well as being the place where God dwells and hears prayers, it is the place whose inhabitants happily obey God. In heaven, there is peace and joy.
The contrast between this perfection of heaven and the chaos of our own world is obvious. Here, there is so much going on that is against the will of God, and so much consequent hatred, injustice, and violence. Here, people do not tend to obey the will of God, any God; they tend instead to follow their own will, and only trouble results.
Yet even so, and even as we pray that God’s will be done here on earth too, just as it is heaven, there is something that we must still remember. That is, despite almost every appearance, God reigns on earth as well as in heaven. In heaven, his kingdom is already perfected; on earth, his kingdom is coming.
That is why Jesus also tells us to pray ‘Your kingdom come’. In the face of all the pain and sorrow, the horror and terror of our world, we pray that this will happen. We pray for heaven to come on earth.
Gracious God,
As we face a world that is far from perfect, where your glory is not regarded and your will is not obeyed, help us to keep in mind the vision of heaven.
Help us to remember that your kingdom of peace and joy will one day come on earth, that the woes of this world too will pass in your work of glory.
Give us strength to endure the burdens we bear, and courage to change the evils we can. 


Today’s writer

Professor Paul Nimmo is the King’s Chair of Systematic Theology at the University of Aberdeen

New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright © 1989, 1995 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Comments are closed.