"Our Father refreshes us on the journey with some pleasant inns, but will not encourage us to mistake them for home." - C. S. Lewis

Thursday, January 16, 2014

What a Privilege: Access to the Throne of Grace

In Peter's second epistle, he wrote that some things in Paul's letters are "hard to understand" (2 Peter 3:15-16).  Good.  So I'm not the only one who hasn't figured it out.

Of course, Paul's letters are far from the only Biblical passages that leave me flummoxed.  Try this one: "Blessed are those whose strength is in you, in whose heart are the highways to Zion" (Psalm 84:5).

Psalm 84:5 is very poetic.  I've heard of people choosing a "life verse," and I think I would definitely consider this one, even though at first glance I'm not sure I fully understand it.

The Gift

A few verses after Psalm 84:5, the psalmist writes, "O Lord God of hosts, hear my prayer; give ear, O God of Jacob!"  Hear my prayer.  Do we even realize the magnitude of prayer?  The sovereign God of the universe hearing us.

"What a Friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear!

What a privilege to carry Everything to God in prayer!

O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear,

All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer " (Joseph Scriven).

This beloved hymn calls prayer “a privilege.”  What a gift that we can approach the throne of grace with confidence (Hebrews 4:16).  Why do we so often see it as an obligation, a chore?

How Should We Then Pray?

When the disciples asked the Son of God to teach them how to pray (Luke 11), Jesus did not give an in-depth exposition or point-by-point explanation of the ways and works of prayer.  When one of His disciples asked for a lesson on prayer, Jesus…prayed.

He prayed other times, too.  There are times He prayed alone, early in the morning.  There are times He prayed in front of crowds, or with the disciples, and many of His prayers are recorded for us.  Isn’t it incredible that we have record of how the Son of God prayed to God?  What other lessons about or demonstrations of prayer could we need?

Throughout the Bible, it is clear that prayer is not a way to get whatever we want as if there were a genie hiding in a bottle.  Ultimately, God is sovereign and will answer our prayers however He chooses.  While we may not fully grasp the role of prayer in the events around us, we do know that there is power in prayer (James 5:16) and that God will ultimately do what is best for us (Matthew 7:11).

The Highway

In his commentary, Matthew Henry wrote, "In whose heart are the ways of them, that is, who, having placed their happiness in God as their end, rejoice in all the ways that lead to him…They not only walk in these ways, but they have them in their hearts..."

What a beautiful thought.  We have the ways that lead to God in our hearts!

When faced with decisions you can’t make on your own, pray.  When worried about family members or friends, pray.  When exhausted at the prospect of another day like yesterday, pray. Don't just stand there.  Pray!

We have a highway to Zion in our hearts.  What an mind-blowing picture!  We don't have to wait in line or take a number until we’re summoned.  We don't have to travel for days or weeks to reach His throne.  Despite our hectic days and harried moments, God has put the highway to His presence in our hearts.

So pray.  And remember that He is praying for you.

"Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies.  Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us" (Romans 8:33-34).

Image courtesy of porbital / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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