Since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith. (Heb 10:19-22)
God is infinitely powerful, able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine (Day 1). And he is the perfectly loving Father, willing to give good gifts to those who ask (Day 2). But surely there’s still a problem – our sin. How can sinners like us approach the perfect, holy God with the temerity to ask for anything? As the Bible says, “If you, Lord, kept a record of sins, Lord, who could stand?” (Psalm 130:3)
That’s why the cross of Christ is a critical step in thinking about prayer. On our own merits, human beings would have no reason to think we could approach God in prayer. We are stained by sin, separated from God.
But now, incredibly, because of Jesus and his blood shed for us, we have free and unfettered access ot the God of the universe. We can draw near with confidence, with assurance. As the classic hymn put it, ‘Bold I approach the eternal throne’ (And Can It Be by Charles Wesley).
What an absolutely extraordinary thought. What a mind-blowing, life-changing reality. We can approach the holy God who made us and made the world – the God of infinite power and love – not with timidity or fear, but with confidence and boldness!
Ever met someone with a famous person’s phone number? (Just before the Sydney Olympics, I was in Bible study with a girl who had Ian Thorpe’s number – SO exciting!) Why does it interest us? Partly because we’re so besotted with fame that any brush with it gives us a thrill. But it’s also because our friend has access. They have permission to approach someone important or interesting. “You know Ian Thorpe?! You mean, if I push this button here, I’ll be talking to Thorpey?! Maybe he can get me tickets to the Games!”
Thanks to what Jesus has done for me, I have God on speed dial. Unfettered, 24/7 access to the one who holds the future in the palm of his hand. He will never be too busy to take my call. I will never get his voicemail. No offence, Thorpey, but suddenly your number doesn’t seem so exciting.
“Next to the wonder of seeing my Savior will be, I think, the wonder that I made so little use of the power of prayer.” (D.L. Moody)
Gracious Father, thank you for the Lord Jesus. Thank you that he shed his blood for me and for the forgiveness of my sins. Thank you that, because of him, I can approach you with confidence, assurance, and boldness. Please help me to better appreciate the privilege of prayer, and to make best use of every opportunity to pray. In Jesus’ name. Amen.