“Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.” Hebrews 7:25 (ESV)
Prayer in its purest and simplest form is not about what we say or how we say it. It is not about what we do or how we do it. And to talk about praying effectively is to miss the point entirely. Prayer for the Christ follower is really more about being, than doing. Its essence is discovered by being in a relationship with the one who is the lover of our soul and the friend who sticks closer than a brother. (Proverbs 18:24)
Our human nature, in matters relating to God, almost always gravitates to doing rather than being. We feel responsible to do something to get God’s attention or gain His favor. We are driven by a performance orientation that wants to prove to God our worth and our worthiness. And that naturally carries over into our prayers.
But God’s ways are higher than our ways, and our relationship with Him through His son Jesus Christ leaves nothing for us to prove. Through Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection, He has already done it all. And so the uniqueness of the Christian faith compared to all the other religions of the world, both past and present, is that the word “done” has forever been substituted for the word “do”.
As believers in Christ we understand the “done” as it applies to our righteousness and salvation that comes through faith in what He did at the cross for the forgiveness of our sins. And without a doubt that “done” is cause for the biggest sigh of relief and the greatest shout of joy we can utter.
Where we often struggle and revert back to doing is in our prayer lives. In Hebrews we find a very insightful verse into the secret to struggle-free prayer. “Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.” Hebrews 7:25 (ESV)
This verse emphasizes four things. First the work of Christ’s salvation is an ongoing process in our lives, past, present and future. Paul confirms this when he writes: “He has rescued us from a terrible death, and he will continue to rescue us. Yes, he is the one on whom we have set our hope, and he will rescue us again, in which Jesus is continually involved through praying for us.” (2 Corinthians 1:10 ISV)
Second Christ’s salvation is to the “uttermost” which has two dimensions. It literally means completely and forever. That is an all encompassing statement, nothing is excluded and no time limitations are placed upon it. In other words, no matter what trials come our way and no matter when they come, God promises to save us from them.
Third, the only requirement for this amazing promise to be fulfilled is for us to “draw near to God through him.” It is an invitation to being in a close relationship with God the Father through Jesus Christ the Son – no doing required, just being in relationship.
Fourth, and this is the clincher, Jesus is committed to continually praying for us. The ultimate responsibility for prayer that gets answers is being shouldered by Him! This realization, that the burden and doing of prayer, just like our righteousness and salvation, is the responsibility of Jesus and not us should revolutionize our prayer lives.
When trials overwhelm us and accompanying fears and anxieties plague us, our natural tendency is to take the burden of prayer upon ourselves. As a result we can be agitated, frustrated, feeling all alone, oppressed by darkness and groping for the words and faith to find a way out. But the mystery of prayer is that we are not alone and that the burden of prayer is already being shouldered by Jesus who is interceding on our behalf. Realizing that changes everything and releases faith and peace.
Job, whom we all know suffered unspeakable trials, had a similar and remarkable revelation in which he saw someone in the heavens interceding on his behalf. “Even now my witness is in heaven; my advocate is on high. My intercessor is my friend as my eyes pour out tears to God; on behalf of a man he pleads with God as a man pleads for his friend.” (Job 16:19-21 NIV)
I believe this witness, advocate and friend interceding on Job’s behalf was Christ himself, the one who “always lives to make intercession.” Such revelations are game changers when it comes to prayer.
Recently when I was laboring in prayer over an important issue in my life, I just happened to stumble onto this verse. When I read it and realized that my closest lifelong friend who is Jesus, the one who has always been with me and never let me down, was praying for me, my heavy burden of doing prayer lifted. Faith and peace flooded my soul. And I entered into an abiding place of rest in simply being in the presence of my intercessor who was already doing the work of prayer on my behalf.
Has prayer become a doing drudgery for you? Perhaps it’s an indication God is inviting you to concentrate more on being in His presence than doing prayer.
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