Have you ever been in the presence of royalty? Or someone famous, someone in power? Have you ever been in a place where only select, favored people are allowed? Have you ever wished you could be? The good news is, you can be!
The past two weeks I’ve written about the inheritance we’ve received through the birth of Jesus Christ: we can claim our inheritance as children of God and can share His influence with others. Now we focus on the third aspect of our inheritance: “God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, ‘Abba, Father.’” (Galatians 4:6)
We have a right to come into the very presence of God like a child coming to his parent. We have this right not because we know how to pray correctly, or know the right formula or combinations of words, or because we’ve been so good, or done enough good deeds that God has agreed to see us – but because we are His children! We have intimate access through prayer. As Hebrews 4:16 puts it: “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.”
Jesus talked often about getting apart to be in the presence of His Father so he could be one with His Father. The reality is we have the same access to the Father as Jesus did. God will not turn us away. He’s never too busy for us. It’s said that Gordon Balfour wrote that his father worked part-time as a driver and guard for Brinks Armored Car Service. Once, as his school was only a city block from home, his dad stopped the truck at the school to give him a ride home.
Gordon came out of school and spotted the shiny grey armored car, complete with gun-ports, bullet-proof glass and rivet-heads everywhere. Gathered in a respectful circle around it were all the third-grade boys, gawking at this mysterious vehicle. Gordon pushed his way through the circle, went up to the truck and climbed up inside the cab. As he did so, the other students stared and held their breath at his bold move. Gordon knew what they did not know – that he was in reality approaching his father who loved him and would freely and gladly receive him. In the same way we have unlimited, free access – any time, for whatever reason – to God the Father. Jesus walks us in and says, “Dad, my brother – or sister – here wants to talk with you.” And God will give us His undivided attention!
But what would you say if you had God – your Father’s – undivided attention? I have to admit, I think I would be so overwhelmed that I might be at a loss for words. Yet no need to worry! Paul says the Holy Spirit cries in us and for us. What a tremendous inheritance and gift! When we are too overcome with emotion, too burdened with cares, too filled with doubts, too overwhelmed with sorrow that we do not know what to say – or cannot speak – the Spirit knows and speaks for us. Knowing our hearts, He understands how we feel and then takes those feelings and puts them into words and speaks for us – even cries out for us – with the Father. In Romans 8:26-27 Paul similarly writes: “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.”
An elderly gentleman was ambling through his garden one day when he came upon his young granddaughter repeating the alphabet in an oddly reverent sort of way. “What on earth are you up to?” he asked. The little girl explained, “I’m praying, Grandpa. I can’t think of exactly the right words, so I’m just saying all the letters, and God will put them together for me, ‘cause he knows what I am thinking.” What a description of the Holy Spirit’s ministry for us!
So the truth is you have a right to bring to God anything and everything in your heart. You can bring it all boldly – your triumphs and tears, your strengths and struggles, your decisions and doubts, your boldness and brokenness, your wisdom and wordlessness. And all because you have intimacy with your Father through prayer. There’s a story from the days when the generals led their troops into battle rather than directing them from a ‘situation room’ half a world away. Alexander the Great’s position was about to be over-run by the enemy. Turning to a valiant young soldier at his side, the great military genius implored the boy to fight harder. “And if we survive this attack,” he said, “I’ll see that you are rewarded handsomely.” Survive they did! When the youth appeared later to claim a reward, Alexander gave him an impression of the royal seal saying, “Take this to the treasurer for your payment.” “How much shall it be?” asked the soldier. “That will be for you to decide. Ask for whatever amount you think appropriate. It will be paid.”
So the peasant youth presented the seal to the royal treasurer and named an enormous sum. Shocked by the amount, the treasurer balked. Insisting that they return to camp together, the treasurer told Alexander of the soldier’s ‘outlandish’ request. Pausing to recall the battle scene, the general finally replied, “Pay him. He honors me with the size of his request.”
Are you ready to exercise your rights, activate your access and claim your inheritance? Go ahead! Honor God with the size of your request!
Photo of Boy running to father is from www.storyblocks.com
Photo of money by Pepi Stojanovski on Unsplash