Amazing Access - Every Single Day
Last week at the Mayor’s Annual Prayer Breakfast the keynote speaker told of a rare invitation he had to not only attend an NBA game, but to sit courtside. He marveled at the sense of privilege, at the amazing food (not hotdogs), and at the sense of immersion in the game. But while he marveled, his host – who had held these tickets for years – behaved like it was “just another Thursday.” And with that insight, he wondered if that would describe our sense of prayer.
Our Maker made us to be (and remain) interrelated with Him. He is irreplaceable and necessary, and we are dependent. He can be trusted and we need Him. This is the origin of prayer – expressing that dependency, but it also is a staggering privilege of access. For someone who does not understand the Gospel, they may not realize that with His work to forgive us and reconcile, Jesus also secures for us HIS access to the Father. Being in the Father’s presence is more amazing than any courtside seat at an NBA game, and for the believer, it becomes like any other day both now and forever!
But that is not the whole story. Access is a miracle of Grace because it’s the opposite of what we deserve. The essence of sin is in our desires and efforts to be independent. We have all turned away from our Maker to try and rule our own lives. This instinct is not only why we don’t deserve access, it’s the abiding reason for why we don’t pray.
But the Gospel makes us aware of our need – Jesus persuades us of our sin and misery. He convinces us of how life without Him does not truly work. And He also tenderly persuades us that we truly do need Him and that having Him is necessary.
And critically, the Gospel changes our acceptability before the Father. In sin, we’re separated – guilty and worthy of being cast out, not acceptable in the Father’s Presence. Yet while we were cut off, and deserve to cut off forever, Jesus works to cleanse us and totally cover us in HIS righteousness. We of all people are actually guaranteed access, both now and forever. We are not just allowed in the Father’s Presence, in Christ we’re welcomed enthusiastically.
So with this access we can come back to the Father’s original good design. We can see now better than ever that He is necessary and we are dependent. He can be trusted and we need Him. And in prayer we can joyfully express that dependency. We can worship with no impediments. We can freely confess our sins (failures that He already knows and, in Christ, has already forgiven) Eagerly we can give thanks. And humbly, yet boldly, we can ask for His Fatherly help.
Things to pray for:
– Amazement. Worship the LORD for the staggering privilege of prayer! Praise Him for the gift of access in Christ.
– Gratitude. Give thanks to the Lord for His grace to take away all the reasons that we could be justly cast out, and for putting upon us the very credibility of Jesus in His Presence.
– Humility. How have you lived as if access to God is not that big of a deal, or as if you do not need your Maker? Confess your unbelief to Jesus, asking Him to forgive you and change you.
– Wisdom. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you in your weakness to learn to pray as you should. Pray for the gift of growth in prayer, and the skill of living in that amazement every single day.
Tim Rice, Lead Pastor & Director of Church Planting