Hebrews 4:16 reads: “Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” This blog flows out of the preceding verse.
Many years ago, when I was a youngster, my parents taught me to pray. On one occasion, I was being a little bit carless and flippant in my prayers. My parents reminded me: ” Remember Who you are talking to…. you are talking to the King!” Over the years, I have reflected on that important truth and it raises an important question upon which we should all reflect: What is the appropriate attitude to have as we approach God in prayer?
The Scriptures are full of examples of faithful people approaching God with boldness and humility. To save time and space, we will look at one example from each Testament.
Moses, was bold and humble as he approached God. God called Moses to lead the Israelites out of Egypt on a long trek to the promised land. Along the way, the people would camp for long periods of time. For instance, for nearly a year, the people camped near Mt Sinai -where Moses received the Ten Commandments. When it came time for them to move on, Moses demonstrates boldness and humility in this interaction: ” please show me your ways so that I may know you…because I will not go unless you lead us” (Ex. 33:13). This statement shows boldness – as Moses asks God directly for the very thing that he needs (“show me your ways”). The statement also shows humility (“I will not go unless you lead us”). Moses is acknowledging his dependence upon God and welcoming God’s leadership. The Lord’s reply reflects this: God replies “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest” (Ex 33:14). Moses was aware of his need for God and was direct and humble as he asked God.
Let us look to the New Testament now. There was a centurion who approached Jesus for help as the centurion’s servant was gravely ill. In great faith and humility, the centurion pleads for his servant who, under normal circumstances in that culture would be of little or no concern to him. Yet, the centurion is concerned about his servant. He tells Jesus of the power and authority that a centurion possesses. Yet, the centurion realized that Jesus was the Lord God. While boldly approaching, he humbly confesses: ” Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof, just say the word, and my servant will be healed.” (Matthew 8:8). The Gospel tells us about Jesus response. Not only did He heal but, Jesus marvelled at the Centurion’s faith.
There is a similarity between the centurion and Moses. The two characters realized their need and limitations but also, recognized that the Lord was the One who could address and satisfy them. Also, the preceding examples encourage us to come to God as we are in, because of, and despite our circumstances. Both Moses and the Centurion found that the Lord was not only approachable and interested in them, but also able and willing to work in them and through their situations.
What does your approach to God look like? Do you wonder if God cares? Are you sceptical? I encourage you to reflect on your approach to God and ask Him to meet you where you are. He will join you and lead you into a deeper understanding of who He is and what He is doing.
In the last few weeks we have explored several different aspects on the theme of Prayer. As we enter Lent, I encourage you to be intentional in developing your relationship with God. “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16)