We, who have been granted new life in Christ and are privileged with access to the throne of grace, have a responsibility concerning such a privilege. Have you given thought to what was involved in obtaining this right, this access? Romans 5 tells us it was the sacrifice of the Christ, God in human flesh. He came down from His throne laying aside His glory and taking on the role of a servant. He suffered a brutal torture and was nailed to a cross to die a slow inhumane death. He conquered death and ascended back to his place of supreme ruler. For what purpose? To reconcile fallen man with God; to grant us access to the Father God, specifically to the heart of God.
“Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” (Romans 5:1–2)
“For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.” (Romans 5:10–11)
“Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. 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 4:14–16)
I have to occasionally remind myself not shirk such a privilege and even the sense of duty to pray for others. It is because of Christ’s ransom that I have the ear of the God of the universe, and there are needs, pains, sorrows, and souls that need enlightened to the saving gospel. And God has invited me to participate in what He wants to do in the lives of men, women, children, families, churches, communities, and nations with prayer being a tool to be used in the Maker’s plan. Indeed, I am in awe of such a privilege to co-labor with the Maker, and I also need to take serious the opportunity to pray for others.
Charles H. Spurgeon, who always said it more directly and with more of a punch that anyone else, said,
“The mercy-seat under the law was overlaid with pure gold to foreshadow the costliness of its antitype. It cost the death of Christ to erect a mercy-seat for men. To neglect it is a shameful ingratitude to God, and a wanton rejection of one of his costliest blessings. If there were no throne of grace, men might die of despair because they could not approach to God; but now that God has prepared a way of access for all who desire to approach him, the refusal to draw near must rank among the grossest and most wilful of rebellions. There is no conceivable excuse for the prayerless. A man who dies of starvation with bread before him, and perishes with disease when the remedy is in his hand, deserves no pity; and he who sinks down to hell beneath the burden of his sins because he will not pray, “God be merciful to me a sinner,” deserves all that damnation means. Pardon, life, salvation, heaven, are all to be had for the asking; and if he that asketh not receiveth not, who shall blame either the justice or the mercy of God?” [i]
Go ahead and give yourself a moment to recover from that punch, but don’t shake it off completely, it’s the kind that is good for you.
Okay, better now? Like so many saints through the years I enjoy Spurgeon’s blunt articulation of truth and wisdom, even though I have to nurse a bruise now and then. But the man has it right, as usual, we shouldn’t neglect such a privilege and duty as prayer. With a motivation of love let us answer the call to draw near to God for mercy and grace for the needs of others as well as for our own daily bread.
[i] Spurgeon, C. H. Flowers from a Puritan’s Garden, Distilled and Dispensed. New York: Funk & Wagnalls, 1883.