“To love Christ more – this is the deepest need, the constant cry of my soul.”
“How dreadfully old I am getting! Sixteen! Well, I don’t see as I can help it.” These words are the first lines in the popular book Stepping Heavenward, written by Elizabeth Payson Prentiss. Born a “pastor’s kid” on January 15, 1815, Elizabeth was the youngest daughter of Edward Payson – a great revival preacher during the 1800s.
More than any other hobby, Elizabeth loved to write and found several opportunities to publish her work. She began writing for the press when she was just sixteen, for instance; and as an adult, she wrote the famous hymn “More Love to Thee, O Christ!” – which is still sung in churches today. Verse one of the hymn begins:
More love to Thee, O Christ, more love to Thee!
Hear Thou the prayer I make on bended knee.
This is my earnest plea: More love, O Christ, to Thee;
More love to Thee, more love to Thee!
Stepping Heavenward was published in 1869 as a work of fiction; but all of the events in the story actually came from Elizabeth’s personal life. Elizabeth recognized that true joy is the result of living for Christ and loving others. By 1992, over 100,000 copies of the book had been sold, and countless more have been sold since then.
Samuel Rutherford was one of the preachers whom Elizabeth admired most. He once said, “Faint not; the miles to heaven are but few and short.” No doubt his words influenced Elizabeth to title her book “Stepping Heavenward.”
What are you doing to prepare for heaven and eternity? When was the last time you really stopped to think about your eternal life after this temporary life? Are you preparing for your first meeting with Jesus Christ?
Matthew 25:13 – “Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.”