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Thursday, August 14, 2008

With Confidence

Heb 4:14-16
"Since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are- yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need".

Last night we got into a discussion of prayer in our small group Bible study. The prayer requests that were offered up weighed heavily on our collective hearts and we were talking about prayer before we actually prayed.

"You know", said my girlfriend, "we often don't pray with confidence to the Father. We say, 'but Your will be done' sometimes as a 'way out'. If our desired outcome does not happen, then we are prepared."

"But you have to be careful with that", said Beau. "When we pray for God's will to be done, we are essentially praying to line our will up with God's will".

"Of course", said my friend. (She has been doing a lengthy and in-depth study on prayer.) "We just don't think of how huge God's true power is. Our prayers don't always reflect confidence in the complete power of a sovereign God".

And this is true. We were studying Ephesians 3:14-21. Paul is on his knees before the Father to intercede for the Ephesians. It is such a beautiful picture of prayer. He prays that the Ephesians would "know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God" (3:19). Paul has a greater understanding of God's power than do most of us. His circumstances were more dire than ours. He was imprisoned and beaten and ridiculed. He was stripped of his possessions and therefore was able to more clearly see the true riches that await in heaven. With this perspective, he was able to pray specifically and fervently.

Our group thought about this with regards to our prayer requests. Does any request matter more than praying for an unbelieving or unrepentant heart to clearly see its need for Jesus Christ? I know that when I pray for the lost, I will have more confidence in the Father, who can do far more abundantly more than I am able to ask or think.

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