Glory of heaven on earth

The trumpeters and singers performed together in unison to praise and give thanks to the Lord. Accompanied by trumpets, cymbals, and other instruments, they raised their voices and praised the Lord with these words: “The Lord is good! His mercy endures forever!” At that moment a cloud filled the Temple of the Lord. The priests could not continue their work because the glory of the Lord filled the Temple of God. (2 Chronicles 5:13-14)

Prepare the way of the Lord, so the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all people will see it together. (Isaiah 40:3)

I’ve got good news for you: Jesus is coming back! Hallelujah! This will be a great celebration. The reason we rejoice today: the reason why we sing, dance and celebrate in worship; the reason why we have so much joy in Jesus is because we will soon be with Him. Our worship here is a foretaste of glory divine.

God desires to reveal His glory here on earth. It doesn’t matter whether you are in a prison cell or in a hospital ward, as you begin to worship the Lord His glory will fill the room as He inhabits your praises. ‘And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be His people, and God Himself will be with them as their God”’ (Revelation 21:3).

We do not know how we ought to pray; the Spirit himself pleads with God for us in groans that words cannot express. (Romans 8:26)

In 1972 on the Czechoslovak/German border, I was arrested, tortured and imprisoned for smuggling Bibles into communist east Europe. Things were difficult in the prison in Czechoslovakia where I was, and in the first few months it seemed as if God did not answer any of my prayers. When I prayed for food, there was none, when I prayed that my wife would come, she was not allowed a visa to visit me - it seemed that every prayer that I prayed, God said no. I began to despair. We had to get up at 6.00 every morning and sit on a wooden stool with nails for hours every day. It was torture. In the first six months I wasn’t allowed out of my cell - my food and my toilet were in the cell. I lost so much weight.

When we were woken early I would try to pray in those early hours before the guards would bring the mouldy black bread and foul tasting, drug laced drink which was our only breakfast. One morning when I had been three months in that cell, I desperately cried out that I could not pray anymore because, I said, “O God, every time I pray, You say no!”.

Sitting in that prison with my teeth closed tight, I began to force myself to pray ‘hallowed be Thy Name’. I was praising the Lord through clenched teeth. Filled with suffering and pain, my heart opened and a miracle happened: it was as if heaven had descended, the cell was filled with a brilliant light, all the angels of heaven seemed to crowd into that cell, and I began to praise and worship the Lord. I got to my feet, and I began to run around that cell singing, “Then sings my soul, my saviour God to Thee, how great Thou art!” The glory of God filled my heart, changing me, the sadness and the pain were gone! I was locked in a prison cell, yet I was in the presence of God experiencing His glory, something greater than I had ever known in a church - it was as if I was transported into heaven! I made so much noise, the guards came running to see what was happening - but the glory of God was so great, they did not enter the cell. From that moment everything changed, God began to answer every prayer, I got food to eat, God showed me the day I would get out, (my birthday), and that I would be speaking in the biggest auditorium in Britain to 10,000 people, sharing the joy of the miracle of answered prayer.

‘Matthew 24 & He shall reign’ used by kind permission of