Originally published Tuesday, 06 June 2017.
Hello Friend! I don’t know about you, but I miss Jeremiah already! I loved digging into the weeping prophet’s life and learning from him. I couldn’t believe the number of emails I received last week from people who either gave suggestions for our next topic of study, or asked that we continue in a Bible study format on the blog long-term. I’m super excited about that! The Word will not change, but it has the power to change us! We can depend on it because it endures the test of time. The ESV says it like this:
The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.
The Word of our God stands tall in strength with authority, and I count it a privilege to study it with you. For the month of June, I would like to take some time to study prayer. Here’s why: We often depend on the prayers of others to carry us through, but what about our prayers? Are we praying for others? Are we praying for ourselves? Do we understand what it means to approach the throne of grace boldly? Our communication with the living God has the power to change everything. If we aren’t communicating with Him, how can we expect to maintain a healthy relationship with Him? Over the next few weeks, we are going to look at some people from the Bible and examine some of the powerful prayers they prayed. We will apply those prayers to us and begin to unpack power through the Word. Are you with me?
We will continue in the same study format. This means that each week you will once again see a key point of struggle and a key proof of comfort. Let’s begin!
Key Point of Struggle:
Many of us aren’t sure how to talk to God. We’re afraid He won’t answer, or that our prayers might seem selfish.
Key Proof of Comfort:
We will take an in-depth look at Hebrews 4:16 to sort out those fears.
As we prepare our hearts for a series on prayer, let’s take a closer look at Hebrews 4:16
Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
-Hebrews 4:16 (NKJV)
The word boldly inside the text makes me nervous. Do you know why? Because, friend, I’m a lot of things, but bold isn’t one of them. It seems to take me forever to say what I need to say. I tend to filter everything. I recognize what trickles from my heart, ends up on my tongue, multiplies, and overflows through my lips. I want those words to be genuine, consistent, and kind. I understand how easy it is to be misinterpreted, and to have my heart unfairly judged by others just like me. It’s scary. And to be honest, I even tend to filter what I speak to my Father in heaven.
I worry my prayers are selfish and aren’t as faith-filled as they should be. I’m also petrified that if I become bold, then I’ll somehow lose humility. And James, the half-brother of Jesus says, “But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” (See James 4:6) I can’t imagine a worse circumstance than to be resisted by my God. But there’s good news: this word bold isn’t to be confused with prideful confidence. It’s to be aligned with confidence in the power of God! Let me show you…
The Greek word for bold in Hebrews 4:16 is the word parresia. It means freedom, openness, especially in speech, boldness, confidence. The short definition is freedom of speech, confidence.
This means we have freedom of speech with our God. We can communicate to Him openly, unafraid to ask Him for the desires He’s placed within our hearts. We can obtain mercy at His throne and receive grace in our time of need. Now, of course, our requests must match up to His Word. We must make sure they are God-honoring.
Let’s try something new and take the short definition of parresia and insert it into scripture replacing the word boldly.
Let us therefore come with freedom of speech and confidence to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Friend, it’s time to get honest with God. He already knows everything about us, but He’s waiting for us to confide in Him. It’s in our most authentic moments that we begin to truly accept freedom.
If you look at the word bold in the Meriam Webster dictionary, you’ll see it has three definitions. I love the second. It says this… Bold: Showing or needing confidence or lack of fear.
Let’s take that definition and insert it into scripture replacing the word bold:
Let us therefore come showing or needing confidence or lack of fear to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Isn’t that great?!?! It’s important that we have confidence in Christ when approaching the throne. It’s time to rid ourselves of fear speaking our words won’t be good enough or faith-filled enough. We need to shut down the voice that says we are shallow and shouldn’t be bringing such silliness to God. Listen, God wants to hear it all! He loves every part of us and desires open hearts. When we pray with an honest and upright heart, God sees that and honors it.
The International Standard Bible quotes Hebrews 4:16 like this:
So let us keep on coming boldly to the throne of grace, so that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
“Let us keep on coming boldly…” I LOVE that! Conversing with our Father isn’t just a onetime deal. It shouldn’t be about frustration over what seems to be unanswered prayers. We have to learn to keep coming back to Him, to keep asking with humility and gratitude, and believe in faith that His will, will be done in our lives.
- In your journal, write a prayer asking God to help you to keep coming back to the throne with confidence and freedom of speech.
Next week, we will begin studying lives from those who went before us in confidence to the throne of grace.
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