From Praying the Names of God Week Four, Day Four
El Olam is the Hebrew name for the God who has no beginning and no end, the God for whom a day is like a thousand years and a thousand years are like a day. His plans stand firm forever, plans to give you a future full of hope. When you pray to the Everlasting God, you are praying to the God whose Son is called the Alpha and the Omega. He is the God whose love endures forever.
After the treaty had been made at Beersheba, Abimelech and Phicol the commander of his forces returned to the land of the Philistines. Abraham planted a tamarisk tree in Beersheba, and there he called upon the name of the LORD, the Eternal God. (Genesis 21:32-33)
PRAYING THE NAME
He [God] has also set eternity in the hearts of men. (Ecclesiastes 3:11)
Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ,whom you have sent.(John 17:3)
Praise God: Who is the Alpha and the Omega, the one who is, who was, and is to come.
Offer Thanks: For the promise of eternal life.
Confess: Any tendency to live as though this world is all there is.
Ask God: To deepen your hope of heaven.
No doubt people will debate whether there is life after death until the world ends. Even those of us who believe in the existence of eternal life aren't in any hurry to verify it through personal experience. The novelist W. Somerset Maugham once said: "Dying is a very dull, dreary affair. And my advice to you is to have nothing to do with it." Winston Churchill, by contrast, seemed prepared for the end when he quipped: "I am ready to meet my Maker. Whether my Maker is prepared for the great ordeal of meeting me is another matter."
Though the debate about immortality still rages, Jesus assures us that there is such a thing as eternal life. One of his most quoted sayings is from John 3:16: "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." The ultimate price for the ultimate prize. The death of God's Son brings us eternal life.
Is it any wonder that the Eternal God wants a people he can love eternally? Is it so hard to fathom that God's love is stronger than death? Is it impossible to believe what can happen to souls created to be wide and deep enough for God to dwell in? No wonder Scripture tells us that the Lord has set eternity in our hearts.
If you believe that Jesus is neither a liar nor a fool, you must believe in the existence of an afterlife. Perhaps the challenge is not only to believe that those who belong to Jesus are destined for heaven but to live in a way that expresses heaven as your deepest longing, your true home.
Two of Ann Spangler's most-loved books have been released in paperback: Praying the Names of God and Praying the Names of Jesus.
These books help us understand the biblical context in which these names and titles were revealed, and help us gain a more intimate knowledge of the Father and of the Son.