February 25, 2024 | Doug Sauder
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“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 (NIV)
One of my favorite quotes from C.S. Lewis on prayer is this: “I pray because I can’t help myself. I pray because I’m helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time, waking and sleeping. It doesn’t change God. It changes me.”
I think he captured well what the apostle Paul is saying in today’s Scripture. When we as Christians have an intimate relationship with our heavenly Father, we become vessels for prayer to happen naturally, almost constantly. It doesn’t matter what we’re doing or what time of day it is, we know we have direct access to the throne room of God because Jesus made it possible when He died on the cross. The veil that once separated God’s people from His manifest presence in the holy of holies in the temple had been torn from top to bottom (Matthew 27:51), signifying an open door of communication between us and the Father Jesus came to reveal.
But how do we pray the way Paul admonished the churches then and us now?
Confidently. I believe God loves it when His children come to Him in prayer with confidence, trusting that He wants to hear from them and to answer them. But James, Jesus’ brother, also warned us about praying without confidence. “But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways” (James 1:6–8 NKJV). As a Christian, you’re a child of God and can always go to your heavenly Father in prayer confidently.
Continually. I’ve often wondered how Paul could suggest that we pray continually. We all have busy schedules with work, school, family responsibilities, etc. But as David Guzik notes in the Enduring Word Bible commentary, praying without ceasing isn’t about bowing your head, closing your eyes, and folding your hands; “those are customs of prayer, not prayer itself.” He notes there’s tremendous space for and value in “every-moment-of-the-day fellowship with God,” where we can acknowledge Him in our hearts and minds throughout the day even when we may not be able to pray out loud.
Gratefully. Giving thanks to God is a great way to start your prayers when you don’t know how to pray or what to pray for. Thanksgiving reminds us of how good God truly is and all He’s given us. Granted, it can be very difficult—seemingly impossible, at times—when our circumstances are heartbreaking: the news that a loved one has passed; a frightening medical report; the loss of a job; the end of a relationship. But as Guzik points out, Christians can always rejoice in prayer “because their joy isn’t based on their circumstances, but in God. Circumstances change, but God doesn’t.”
Let’s press into God in prayer today confidently, frequently, and with hearts full of thanks.
Pause: How would you characterize your prayer life lately? Is it something you do often or mostly at church or when a crisis arises?
Practice: Set a reminder for yourself to pause and pray several times throughout the day. It doesn’t need to be long—even one minute every several hours can help you become a vessel for prayer.
Pray: Heavenly Father, thank You that You give us 24/7 access to Your throne room to come and talk with You. Give me the confidence to come to You with every circumstance I’m facing, and help me to be thankful for them—even the difficult ones. Amen.
Rob Nieminen is a seasoned writer and editor who has written devotionals for Calvary since 2015. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from Palm Beach Atlantic University in West Palm Beach, FL. He serves in the Worship Ministry at Calvary Boynton Beach and is an avid reader, an erratic golfer, and an aspiring photographer who loves to cook and spend time with his family.