Do you feel uncomfortable when you pray? How so? Do you tend to believe that God is not interested in hearing from you?
I remember the first time I was invited to a friend’s wedding. Certainly my friend from college knew who I was, even though his fiancée had never met me. It was a privilege to receive the invitation and one that I gladly accepted.
It would be a large wedding I found out later from other friends. When I received the letter, I had not read the smaller print that the invitation would serve as my credential to gain access once I arrived. When I did arrive, the doorman asked to see my credential. Once I presented it, the door was opened and I was allowed to enter and enjoy the festivities.
Credentials have become much more significant since the attacks of September 2001. Security is tighter than ever before and you need the correct card, badge, visa, letter, passport or credential to get to where you want to go these days. It is a lot more difficult, for example, to get into any federal building in America than it used to be.
Read Hebrews 4:15-5:10.
What a picture we are presented with in the text of Hebrews. The Sovereign Lord of all creation sits on His throne in heaven and is far above all kings, rulers, nations, and peoples. Remembering the image of Moses meeting God at the burning bush, you would think He is unapproachable. Only a select few would have access to the One True God – angels in good standing, men of note (and a few choice women like Deborah, Hannah, Mary) and the elders around His throne described in chapters 4 and 5 of the Book of Revelation.
Yet the Newer Testament says a hardy, “wrong!” Any of us can enter His presence whenever we desire. Any moment, any day, night, time, or occasion is now possible. We can walk right in through the practice of prayer and discuss with God what is on our mind and/or heart. How is that possible when we step back and contrast our broken humanity with His celebrated holiness?
Believe it or not (and you should), our credential exists through the painful death of Jesus on the cross in the first century. He identified with our sinful reality, was born as a baby in a manger and was referred to as the “Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.” Because He sympathized with our weaknesses (v 15), we can now confidently approach His throne, knowing our prayers are welcomed by our heavenly Father. In sync with John 3:16, our high priest Jesus gives us “highest privileged status” in His Kingdom.
It is called the “throne of grace” because God’s love, mercy, forgiveness, power and justice all flow from such a place. Our new status as children of God means Jesus has opened the way to His personal presence where we can always ask for His help, counsel, and involvement.
How often do you enter God’s throne room? Christ Jesus has given you and me our essential credentials for access. Hebrews 4:16 says “we should then approach the throne of grace with confidence.” Think theologically. In our identification with Jesus we have credential power. Let’s be sure to use it often in order to receive mercy and grace to help us in our time of need.
Love is a verb,
©2013 by Mike Olejarz