The Importance of Prayer, w1d2
Today’s Scripture: Hebrews 4:14-16; SOAP: Hebrews 4:16
14 So then, since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe. 15 This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. 16 So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.
There are many key words in these verses. We are SOAPing verse 16 but verses 14 and 15 have some words that help make sense of verse 16, such as, “high priest” (Jesus), “weaknesses (tendency to sin),” and “without sin” (sinless) . In a nutshell, this verse is a reminder that Jesus, who was without sin, is our Great High Priest who understands our weaknesses. He understands them because He has “faced all of the same testings we do – with one big difference – He never sinned. How do these truths affect our boldness? Because, we will not pray to or draw near to God if we do not have confidence in Jesus, we will certainly not approach God’s throne with boldness, if we do not know and trust the sinless character of our Great High Priest. Again, simply put, we will not request something we don’t deserve [grace] or ask that a punishment, that we do deserve, be withheld [mercy] when we do not understand God’s character, which is full of mercy, abundant in grace, and abounding in love. Boldness typically comes from confidence and confidence comes with trust and trust is built through relationship and established over time . However, when we know the God who sits on the throne and Jesus, the Great High Priest, and when we know our weaknesses, compared to His sinless life – His desire, hope, and invitation is that we will boldly, draw near to Him and find, as promised, His mercy and grace.
Today’s Application: Making it Personal
Have you ever had one of those moments when you drive a very familiar path to a very familiar destination – such as home to work or work to home – but when you arrive you wonder how? Like you don’t really remember anything from point A to point B. You safely went through the routine drive but you can’t remember seeing the river that you love to look at or if there was a beautifully painted sky along the way. I have done it often, and as I began journaling some thoughts of application on today’s passage- I was prodded to question if I am guilty of this in prayer. For instance, “when I pray do I even consider Jesus, the one who bridges the gap? Am I consciously aware of Him who made it possible for me to even approach God in prayer or am I just going through the routine of praying? I don’t want to deflect from the message of coming boldly before God’s throne, which is the writer’s point, but it made me wonder just how often I begin praying – approaching God’s throne, without even considering Jesus – not that I don’t consider Him within the context of the prayer – and close the prayer in His name – but it struck me in reading these verses today, that the only way to truly approach God with such boldness is to be consciously aware of Jesus from beginning to end. To remember how He taught us [His disciples] to pray … “Our Father, in Heaven, hallowed be Your name”, is a reminder that we are coming before a holy God. and can only do so through Jesus, our Redeemer, who sits at the Father’s right hand pleading for us, (Romans 8:34). This conviction/question/realization that came to mind isn’t necessarily that I need to change the words that I pray and certainly not that I need to pray the same words every time, but that when I pray – it should never be just a routine prayer, instead it should flow out of a conscious awareness of being in conversation with God. It should never be just an awareness of my needs and requests but of God’s (Father, Son, and Spirit) presence, His promises, His Word, His provisions, His teachings, His guidance, His will, His perfection, His goodness … holiness … trustworthiness … and all that we know Him to be. Without such an awareness I wonder if we will ever have the bold confidence that Hebrew’s teaches.
So how about you? When you pray, do you pray boldly? Do you trust Jesus, your High Priest, to intercede on your behalf according to His understanding of who you are. weaknesses and all? Do you draw near to God with boldness, believing that Jesus was tempted in every way like you have been but remained sinless and having offered Himself up on your behalf is there interceding for you now? If not, ask yourself what’s holding you back. Ask God to give you a fuller understanding of these truths and to help you hold firmly to what you believe.
Today’s Prayer: Response to God’s Word
Father, thank You for the reminder of why I can come boldly before Your throne. How often do I just run into Your presence without thought to the privilege and the reason I can stand before You! Help me to not aimlessly nor without thought enter into Your presence. For surely, when I am purposeful to consider Your gift of Christ -I will come boldly as You have invited. Thank You for Your promise of grace and mercy – and for the confidence such knowledge gives me!