Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Come Boldly

I’ve never met the President of the United States. The closest I’ve been was back in the eighties when then President Reagan came to my university campaigning for some Senate or Congressional candidate. And then, I was just one of thousands.

But sometimes I wonder what it would be like to meet the President. How would I act? Would I be intimidated? I don’t belong here; I shouldn’t even be here; I’m not smart enough or important enough, I might be thinking.

Or would I be embarrassed, maybe even apologetic? I’m so sorry, Mr. President, for taking up your time. I know you have more important things to do besides talk to someone like me.

I might be angry. Look, Mr. President, I cannot believe you did this, and where were you when this other thing was going on? I know you have the power and authority to do something, so why didn’t you?

Or perhaps I would bring him my laundry list of things I needed and wanted him to do on my behalf. No more taxes, a new playground at my son’s school, and while you’re at it, maybe a ride on Air Force One?

I might walk in and take charge. Now you listen to me, this is what we’re doing and we’re doing it now.

Well, hopefully, I wouldn’t act any of those ways, but if you think about it, each of those responses, as ludicrous as they may seem in the context of meeting the President, is often how we approach God in prayer.

It’s not the Oval Office, but the throne room of heaven. Not the most powerful man in the world, but the All-Powerful, Almighty Creator of heaven and earth. And we often come before Him ashamed, sometimes angry, at times prideful and self righteous, other times merely to toss up a wish list as if He were the cosmic Santa Claus.

Yet the Word of God urges us in Hebrews 4:16 to “approach the throne of grace with confidence.” In the Amplified Version, it reads this way: “Let us then fearlessly and confidently and boldly draw near to the throne of grace.” I also love the rendering in the Message, “let’s walk right up to him.”

When we pray, we are approaching “the throne of God’s unmerited favor to us sinners” (Amplified), and we are to walk right up to him, fearlessly, confidently, boldly. Why? On what can we base this confidence? Surely not on my own merit, because honestly, that wouldn’t get me much of an audience at all.

Back to the White House. Suppose I got in my car today, drove to DC, walked right up to the front door of the White House, knocked on the door, and announced I was there to see the President. What would happen? Like I said, I’ve never been to the White House, but I imagine I would receive a complimentary escort off the premises and a firm request not to return. I could try to see him on my own merit, entirely of my own efforts, but I would be denied.

But suppose prior to getting in my car and driving to DC, I received a letter embossed with the seal of the President of the United States. An invitation. Hey, Lisa, it might read, come hang out with me for awhile in the Oval Office. This time, what would happen when I knocked on the front door of the White House? Come on in, Lisa, we’ve been expecting you! What made the difference? I was invited.

Of all the things I have learned in the course of my journey in prayer, and I have much to learn I must add, this fact astounds me the most: Not only does God hear our prayer, and not only does He answer our prayer, but He invites our prayer! We can walk right up to the throne of grace and mercy, why? Because we are invited. He longs for us to pray to Him. He wants it. He asks it. He invites it.

“Call to me and I will answer you,” He tells us in Jeremiah 33:3. “Come and pray to me,” He urges, “and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me.” (Jer. 29:12-13) “Pray and seek my face,” He asks in 2 Chronicles 7:14. And in 1 Thessalonians 5:17 we see the call, the invitation, to “pray continually.”

What grace! What favor! That we who are sinners can approach God’s holy throne, boldly and confidently because of His gracious and glorious invitation!

Now consider once again my trek to Washington. This time let’s pretend I’m not Lisa, but Jenna or Sarah. Bush, that is. I’m guessing they have unrestricted access to the most powerful man in the world, why? Because of their identity. He’s their dad, after all. Because of who he is to them, and who they are to him, they can walk right up to him in confidence.

So too is it with us! “Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” (John 1:12) For those of us who belong to Him by faith, He’s our Daddy! We are His! His children! And because of this new identity He has given us as His beloved children, we can approach Him boldly and confidently, knowing He not only hears us, He welcomes us.

We who are moms know this to be true. Our children have access to us, complete, total and unrestricted. “Come here,” we invite them, “climb in my lap and tell me what you need.” It is the same for God’s beloved children. Because of who we are to Him, because of our identity, we can come boldly before Him, crawl into His lap and there find “grace and mercy to help us in our time of need.”

It is highly unlikely I will ever have that sit-down, heart-to-heart meeting with the President of the United States. But because of His gracious invitation and my identity as His beloved child, I can approach the All-Powerful Almighty God, the Most High, walk right up to Him, fearlessly and confidently and boldly, through the privilege of prayer.

5 comments:

  1. Lisa this is beautiful and so true. That is what I love about God, he is so approachable!!

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  2. Wow!!!!!Mrs. Lisa you have touched me today!!!!!!...well, the Lord has....through your words....Thank you....

    Love
    MdA

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  3. Love the thought-provoking analogy. So true that prayer is a privilege. Thank you for the challenge and perspective in this post.

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  4. This was absolutely beautiful, Lisa!

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  5. Invitation and identity--He's given both from the riches of His grace.

    Well written post.

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