Until Jesus Christ returns and transforms our earthly bodies into spiritual ones, we are earthlings confined to time—or at least two-thirds of our being is time warped. There is, however, that eternal spirit within us that belongs to eternity.
Just as our bodies are uncomfortable in spiritual situations, so our spirits are out of their natural element in this period of time. There is a longing, a groaning, a sighing, even a crying for release from the captivity of earthly bodies. That cry will someday be fulfilled, but for the present, we can release our spirits into the atmosphere of eternity for brief periods by giving ourselves to prayer.
Paul must certainly have experienced this, for he wrote, "Not only that, but we also, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan within ourselves while eagerly waiting for adoption, the redemption of our bodies" (Rom. 8:23). But while we wait, we need not continuously imprison our spirits. We can release them into the environment of eternity through prayer.
Three times in two connecting Psalms the psalmist cries, "Why are thou cast down, O my soul? And why art thou disquieted within me? Hope thou in God; for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance" (Psalm 42:5, KJV; see also Psalm 43:5). Verse 11 concludes by saying, "For I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God."
How I have feared that I was on the onset of depression when it was nothing more than my spirit complaining about its confinement. When I gave myself to prayer, my spirit began to rejoice, and my whole being came alive. It was not depression. It was oppression of my spirit. My spirit wanted out of its confines for a season of deep breathing of the atmosphere of God in prayer.
Spiritual prayer outlasts time. My personal craving for immortality has driven me to a variety of accomplishments. I have personally supervised the construction of church edifices that will outlast me by many years. I have written books, and I rejoice in my three daughters, my grandchildren, and my great-grandchildren. In them I shall live on after death.
Judson Cornwall will not completely pass away at his funeral. Still, all of these extensions are tied to the same time-space dimension in which I am now a prisoner. They are merely earthly accomplishments. They too will pass away.
The only things I have been involved in during my years on Earth that will go into eternity ahead of me and survive forever are the prayers I have prayed in the Spirit. These prayers have reached deep into immortality and have been presented before the throne of God by the mighty angel who has the responsibility to collect the prayers of the saints and mix those prayers with the prayer of Jesus.
When I enter eternity, I will smell the fragrant aroma of heaven. It is beyond description. I know, for I have already smelled it several times. When I wrote my first book, Let Us Praise, the room frequently filled with the divine aroma. After gaining entrance to heaven, I will see the clouds of incense and smell its unique blend of fragrances. Then I will know part of that odor is the prayers I prayed while still traveling on spaceship Earth.
Prayer is the only eternal thing we do while here on Earth. Many of our activities affect our eternal life to come, but prayer participates in it right now. When we incorporate the Scriptures into our praying, we not only enter the eternity of our future, but we also get involved in the eternity of our past and present, for God's Word is, was, and shall always be. We do not fully comprehend God's eternal now, but when we pray His Word, we become involved in it right here on the earth.
Adapted from From This Life to the Next by Judson Cornwall, copyright 2015 by EJ or EL Cornwall Trust, published by Charisma House. This book challenges many preconceived ideas about heaven and helps us overcome the fear of death that they bring. It will answer many questions and help rekindle the excitement of meeting Jesus and dwelling with Him forever. To order your copy click here.
Prayer Power for the Week of October 19, 2015
This week release your spirit into the atmosphere of eternity through prayer. Allow yourself to experience a season of deeply breathing in the aroma of God. Bask in His presence and know that your prayers transcend the here and now, are brought before the throne of God, and collected by a mighty angel until the appointed time. Continue to pray for the expansion of God's kingdom, the protection of Israel and the persecuted church, worldwide revival and more workers for His harvest fields. Pray that God's people will heed 2 Chronicles 7:14, come together in unity and purpose, and fulfill God's mandate in this hour (Rev. 5:8, 2 Chron. 7:14, 1 Tim. 2:1-4).