“Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”
In recent months a conviction has been growing in my heart and soul. This is that God is calling His Church to a life of Intercessory Prayer. For me this means that I am being called to a deepening life of prayer. The book of Hebrews tells us that we can approach the throne of grace boldly through the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Christian life is lived through the cross. There is no other means of grace but the cross of Christ. To believe this and thereby to approach God for grace requires a cross centred life. In the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus Christ access to God has been opened to all who will come to Him in God’s way. This is the precious truth that stands at the heart of our faith.
What I have been learning in the past few months is that we Christians have, as a result of this cross been called to a life that is characterized by this joyful access to the living God. We can come with a bold confidence into God’s presence because God Himself has provided the way for us through the death and resurrection of Christ. It is not owing to our holiness, but to the righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ that we can bring our needs before the Father. Why is it then that we are so resistant to this life of prayer? It seems as if we will try everything else first before we come to God in Prayer.
Raymond Brown in Christ Above All, his commentary upon the message of the book of Hebrews explores this question in the following words.
“P.T. Forsythe used to insist that prayerlessness is the root of all sin. When we do not give time each day to earnest and believing prayer, we are saying that we can cope with life without divine aid. It is human arrogance at its worst. Jesus knew that He had to pray and did so, gladly, necessarily and effectively. To be prayerless is to be guilty of the worst form of practical atheism. We are saying that we believe in God but we can do without Him. It makes us careless about our former sins and heedless of our immediate needs. This letter urges us to come into the presence of a God who welcomes us and a Christ who understands us. To neglect the place of prayer is to rob ourselves of immense and timely resources. For the Christian the throne of grace is the place of help.”
This life of prayer is not just for our own personal benefit. It is also one of the major weapons which we wield in our outreach with the gospel. Intercessory prayer is vital. Increasingly I am coming to see that this was a foundational practice in the lives of those who were effectively used by God in the past. It must become one of the main pillars of present day ministry. We truly must become committed to intercessory praying for the spread of the Gospel in the world around us.