Jesus picked up on this truth as He taught about prayer in the Sermon on the Mount. In the Jewish culture of Jesus’ day there were 18 prayers or benedictions (Amedah); a righteous Jewish man / woman would recite these prayers all day long as a reflection of a heart that wanted to live according to God’s will, God’s way.
There were prayers for provision (food), for relationships, for enemies, for deliverance and forgiveness; prayers for the body and prayers of worship. These prayers would remind you that every decision is an opportunity to reflect God’s will and ways in this world; to bring a little bit of heaven to earth.
Jesus, taking the teaching of the Amedah, (this is the kind of thing Rabbi’s would do – take teaching of others and build upon it / prioritize it – because their followers wanted know, what does my Rabbi think about these matters?), Jesus sums it up this way in Matthew 6:9-13:
This, then, is how you should pray:
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your Name.
Your Kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.
Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. (Matthew 6:10) Jesus said to pray / live in such a way that you reflect God’s rule and authority, His will and His ways here on earth. By our actions / choices – as individuals and as a corporate body, we can bring heaven to earth. This is God’s dream for His community. To Abraham He said, I want you to be a light to the nations. Jesus said, Let your light so shine before men (Matthew 5:16) -- let them see heaven on earth, so they will turn to God and glorify Him.
This is Jesus’ dream for the church! As the church explodes on the scene in the early chapters of the Book of Acts, we see a wonderful picture of the church in action; we see them bringing a little bit of heaven to earth.
Again, this is fundamental to who we are as a local church. We have to figure out what it means for Valley to be ‘the church’ in our world today; to bring heaven to earth. Healthy churches have always looked outside their own walls. Is there some way we can step into the front lines and make a difference?
We’ve got to figure it out. We have to get this one right. Our mandate is clear; it’s not about us, it’s about what God is doing in the world and aligning ourselves with His plans and purposes -- we get to be part of it!
May God help us to be the kind of church / people tThat brings a little more heaven to earth!