Our prayers from the heart are always answered. The answer might not be immediate, or what we expect, but God’s grace always comes to an open, properly disposed heart.


 

hebrews 4 16

So let us confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and to find grace for timely help. (Hebrews 4:16)

We see others and ourselves beset with problems, which don’t get better but get worse. Then we wonder whether God cares. We pray, and our prayers are not answered as we hoped. In fact, things often get worse after we pray. If God is blessing us, it seems impossible to recognize this. We see people suffering in pain, shivering in the cold, treated unjustly, and consumed with fear. Then we wonder again whether God cares.

The truth is: GOD CARES. He even became a human being to suffer with us. The crucified Christ communicates to even the most broken and confused people that God cares about each one of them. “We do not have a High Priest Who is unable to sympathize with our weakness” (Heb 4:15). God cares about each one of us more than we care about ourselves. He cares about us more than do those who love us most. God cannot care about us more than He already does. He cares about us and loves us perfectly, infinitely, unconditionally, sacrificially, and eternally. “So let us confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and favor and to find help in time of need” (Heb 4:16).

The author of Hebrews focuses on Jesus, the high priest, who can fully sympathize with our human weaknesses. Our High Priest calls us to His mercy and grace. He urges us to approach Him in confidence, as we would a trusted best friend, and await His help in our time of need.

We find a similar encouragement in a letter from Paul to the Philippians: Present your needs to God in every form of prayer and in petitions full of gratitude. Our prayers from the heart are always answered. The answer might not be immediate, or what we expect, but God’s grace always comes to an open, properly disposed heart — a grateful heart, one that is confident of God’s love.

This grace could come in many forms: the grace to persevere through a painful situation until we arrive at a time of peace; the grace of others in our life who bring relief or gladness in some way; the grace of a new insight that never occurred to us before; the grace of an unexpected good fortune, even a minor one, that assures us of God’s love and presence in our lives. The possibilities are endless.

Much less common is the grace of a period of darkness or spiritual aridity, an experience usually reserved for the spiritually advanced, those well along the path of holiness. This grace is without visible or sensory consolation but is spiritually very powerful, not only for the individual going through the time of darkness, but for others who benefit in ways known only to God.

No matter where we find ourselves along the journey, the Holy Spirit will aid us to grow in confidence and gratitude as we approach the throne of grace in prayer. Let this confidence and gratitude especially apply to those prayers for the lost, the unconverted, and the spiritually sick.

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