Photo Credit: Kim Clayton Lance
CONFIDENCE IN APPROACHING GOD
I John 5:14-15 says “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to HIS will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us – whatever we ask – we know that we have what we asked of Him.”
I was in a discipleship class about 25 years ago and had to memorize this scripture. I remember thinking then, as I do now, that this is an amazing promise and responsibility. It is amazing that Jesus makes us members of God’s family, the Father’s inner circle, because we know Him personally, and not just about Him. As believers, we have a God-given appetite for the Holy Spirit’s presence and we have precious communion with Him when we “remain” or “abide” in Him (John 15).
To abide in Him, we commit ourselves to a relationship whereby God speaks to us through His Word and we speak to Him through prayer, and the Holy Spirit draws us into the divine conversation between Father, Son, and Spirit. Although not beyond comprehension, this is still hard to grasp.
The responsibility we have is to “abide” or “remain” in Him. I am not sure which word carries more weight. But, I am sure that our store of spiritual power evaporates with the passage of time, daily distractions and spiritual warfare. Therefore, praying for the filling of the Holy Spirit needs to be a continuous activity of the heart, daily and nightly, personal and corporate.
Depending on the Spirit for comfort, counsel, wisdom, understanding, teaching, convicting, prompting and guiding is an essential activity for “Family of God” tightness, and so that we can be sure that we are praying in God’s will. From a corporate perspective, Charles Spurgeon has said that a church’s true spiritual condition can be gauged by its prayer meetings. He calls the measurement of divine working in God’s family a “grace-ometer” reading, and that slothfulness in prayer is surely indicative of God’s absence.
How precious are our prayers to God! Psalm 141:2 says, “May my prayer be set before you like incense; may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice.” And Revelation 5:8 says, “And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.”
When I was a student in Christian high school many years ago, students were taught to remember Jeremiah 33:3 as “God’s telephone number.” Although there is no need for any technology to call on God, the scripture says, “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” What a mighty and powerful God we have! Unsearchable things will be disclosed. I will have power against the world in prayer. Out of my tears, fears, and need I can call out, cry out, implore aid and know that I am heard.
Jim Cymbala, Head Pastor of the Brooklyn Tabernacle, wrote a book called Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire, published in 1997, and in it he said, “God will manifest himself in direct proportion to our passion for Him. The principle he laid down long ago is still true: ‘You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart’ (Jeremiah 29:13).” Pastor Cymbala writes that when believers bring their needs to God, that the wind of prayer takes root as a gift of the Holy Spirit. The result of the deeper joy and power of God’s presence brings the reality of “greater things will be done” (John 1:50).
“Abiding” or “remaining” in Him is a serious responsibility. We know that our spiritual vitality, our fervency in prayer, and our closeness to the Lord are what bring glory to God. So, Hebrews 4:16 becomes our key to the divine unsearchable: “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.” As God’s children, we are given this gift, this key, and the tremendous reality that we are in God’s inner circle, and therefore in His will.