Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Book Review: On Earth As It Is In Heaven

On Earth As It Is In Heaven: How the Lord's Prayer Teaches Us To Pray Effectively. Warren Wiersbe. 2010. 156 pages. [Source: Bought]

First sentence: We should always begin with the basics, the fundamentals.

This is both a book about a specific prayer--The Lord's Prayer--and  prayer in general. Wiersbe seeks to encourage believers to actually pray and pray effectively. The Lord's Prayer is his teaching tool. He breaks the Lord's Prayer down phrase by phrase. As he's teaching believers, he's challenging them to think, to reflect, to meditate. He asks some tough questions that are worth our time to try to answer.

I would definitely recommend this one. I enjoyed his narrative style. He knows how to tell a good story, yet he never strays far from Scripture. (There was one sentence that had me scratching my head and questioning his theology--but only one. That's not bad. Here is that sentence: "In short, all of us as God's children need to allow the Holy Spirit to use this prayer in our lives so that we might please the Father, become more like the Son, and be used of the Holy Spirit to make a difference in this world.")


  • Martin Luther said that "the ancients ably defined prayer an Ascensus mentis ad Deum, a climbing up of the heart unto God."'
  • Prayer is a miracle, and the sooner you realize this fact, the sooner prayer ceases to be a dull routine or a religious burden.
  • Prayer isn't an option; it's an obligation and an opportunity for us to glorify God's name and receive his blessing.
  • Are the priorities of our churches and of our individual lives the same as those of our great God? If not, what should we do about it?
  • Not only does prayer connect us with a great God, but the very privilege of prayer is ours at a great price. Jesus Christ had to suffer and die on the cross to make it possible for us to approach the throne of grace to worship and to pray (Heb. 10:19-25). When he finished his redemptive work on earth, Jesus arose from the dead, ascended to the Father in heaven, and began his work of intercession on our behalf. To neglect prayer is to cheapen everything Jesus accomplished for us at Calvary and is doing for us now in glory.
  • God answers prayer, not just to meet the needs of his burdened children but to bring glory to his name through the answers. That's one reason why God permits difficulties in our lives, so that his ministry to us will reveal his power and glory to those who are watching.
  • The prayer asks the Father to forgive the sins of the past, to provide what we need for the present day (both physical and spiritual), and to guide us in the future as we anticipate the coming of Christ's kingdom.
  • The Lord's Prayer is not only a family prayer, it's a balanced prayer. In it you find requests that relate to the past ("forgive us our debts"), the present ("Give us today our daily bread"), and the future ("your kingdom come").
  • We glorify our Father in heaven by being what Jesus told us to be: salt in a decaying world and light in a dark world (Matt. 5:13-16).
  • We are pilgrims and strangers on earth because we are citizens of heaven where our Savior is enthroned, and one day he will come to take us home (Phil. 3:20-21).
  • The people of this world look at heaven from earth's point of view, but God's people look at this world from heaven's point of view.
  • What does it mean to walk by faith? It means to obey God's Word in spite of the feelings within us, the circumstances around us, and the consequences before us.
  • The phrase "our Father" speaks of God's nearness to us, while the phrase "in heaven" speaks of his distance and difference from us, and both truths are important in the Christian life and must be kept in balance.
  • We all need margins; otherwise, even the people we love may rob us of the room we need for thinking, praying, and growing. But solitude is only one side of the coin. We also need connections, relationships with people who can challenge us, teach us, and encourage us, even if occasionally they irritate us. We have no right to "do our own thing" at the expense of society.
  • The words "Our Father" remind us not to pray selfishly for anything that would hurt or harm another believer or another church.
  • Humble prayers build bridges, but selfish prayers tear them down and build barbed wire fences.
  • The glorifying of God's name, the coming of God's kingdom, and the accomplishing of God's will on earth are the Lord's "prayer priorities" that we must prioritize as well.
  • While we live in this world, one of our responsibilities is to magnify the name of the Lord. If we truly reverence Jesus in our hearts (1 Peter 3:15), we will ask God to use us to magnify him before an unbelieving world.
  • To most people, Jesus seems very far away, so we should be like telescopes that bring him closer so people can see him in us.
  • Death did not take him; he willed his own death and in that death defeated death forever.
  • But how can the church advertise the virtues of Christ if the church is imitating the world?
  • We have been called to shine as lights, not to reflect as mirrors. We don't belong to this world system (John 17:14-19) but to a heavenly counterculture that is hated by the same world system that hated Jesus and crucified him.
  • If we pray "your kingdom come" while at the same time compromising with the world, we are hypocrites and our prayers will not be answered. Our lives must be different from the lives of the lost people and the careless Christians around us.
  • Praying "your kingdom come" involves more than simply uttering three words. It demands the devotion and dedication of our entire being to Jesus as we eagerly anticipate seeing him!
  • He bridged the gulf between heaven and earth by sending three gifts to our rebellious planet: his inspired Word, his beloved Son, and the Holy Spirit.
  • Our Lord gave three invitations: come, take, and learn. If they came to him, he would give them rest in their hearts because their sins would be forgiven. If they took his yoke, he would walk with them and help them carry their burdens. And if they learned from him, they would find a deeper rest in his grace and love. The unconverted person wears a heavy yoke of sin that grows heavier each day. The outwardly religious person wears a yoke of rules and rituals that bring no relief. But the children of God are united to Christ and wear a yoke that is easy ("fitted"). They carry a burden that is light, because "his commands are not burdensome" (1 John 5:3).
  • I'm not personally responsible that the whole earth obey the will of God, but I am responsible to pray this prayer and see to it that I obey his will joyfully from my heart (Eph. 6:6).
  • We see God's grace in what God gives us as well as in the way God gives it, and we must use these gifts for the good of others and the glory of God.
  • When God forgives us, he pulls the nails out of the board but he does not remove the holes.
  • We don't fight for victory but from victory, the victory Christ won for us on the cross.
  • Have you ever considered the Lord's Prayer from Satan's point of view? To him the words "Our Father in heaven" are a declaration of war, not a declaration of faith.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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