One of life’s great privileges is being able to talk to the Almighty. After reading the Old Testament and seeing how he kept a distance between himself and people to the point of causing whole mountains to shake, it’s astounding he allows us to approach him at all. He not only allows it, he encourages it, warmly inviting us to come into his throne room. He even suggests we “come boldly,” bringing requests. What changed from Old Testament to New?
Jesus came, that’s what.
As we celebrate his arrival again this Christmas, we’re conscious of the extraordinary benefits made available to us by his coming, but there’s none greater than being given access to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It’s free to us, but certainly wasn’t to Jesus, who paid our entrance fee.
One of my great joys during the last 20 years has been to sit with others for extended times in the throne room. This week while meeting with 4 women to pray over a list of requests given to us by the church and individuals, a spirit of discouragement flooded through me. As we got ready to pray, we divided up the long list into 5 parts, one for each of us to cover out loud while the others prayed silently. We do it this way each week, but for some reason this time I felt swamped by all the requests. There were 83 in all, many of which had 2-3 sub-requests within them.
How could we pray for them all in the 90 minutes available?
As the first woman began praying, my mind stayed stuck in the enormity of our task. My head was bowed, but my eyes weren’t closed. They were reading the list: physical maladies, emotional crises, relationship divisions, financial struggles. On and on it went. How could our little band of 5 accomplish anything significant for these hundreds of needy people?
My desire to converse with God was plummeting, but his desire to talk to me was still strong. And talk he did: “Do you think your invitation into my throne room is so you can show me what you can do for these folks? Or is it for Me to show you what I can do?”
And that’s all it took to pull me into the conversation.
I’m thankful for the reminder that prayer is all about God, not me. My part is just to approach him with confidence, believing he hears and answers the requests I bring. And sometimes he does it well before reaching #83 on the list: “Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear.” (Isaiah 65:24)
“Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16)