Have you ever thought of prayer as coming to the throne of God?
How do you imagine the throne of God, in all His majesty, power and might?
God rules in justice, but His also rules in grace.
And how we need His grace!
I've recently started Charles Spurgeon's book, The Power of Prayer in a Believer's Life
, and I was so taken by the first chapter that I just have to share it.
It's called... The Throne of Grace
He begins with this about true prayer:
"True prayer is an approach of the soul by the Spirit of God to the throne of God. It is not the utterance of words, it is not alone the feeling of desires, but it is the advance of the desires to God, the spiritual approach of our nature towards the Lord our God. True prayer is neither a mere mental exercise nor a vocal performance. It is far deeper than that - it is spiritual transaction with the Creator of heaven and earth.
God is a Spirit unseen of mortal eye and only to be perceived by the inner man. Our spirit within us, begotten by the Holy Ghost at our regeneration, discerns the Great Spirit, communes with Him, presents to Him its requests, and receives from Him answers of peace.
True prayer is a spiritual business from beginning to end, and its aim and object end are not with man but reach to God Himself."
"Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered." Romans 8:26
Called to the Throne of Grace
When we begin to see God for who He really is in all his glory, majesty, justice and perfection, it can be overwhelming. To come to a throne like this can be intimidating at the least, but as believers we are not called to the throne of law, we are called to the throne of grace.
Spurgeon says here:
"We are called to the throne of grace, not to the throne of law."
And continues here:
"We are not to speak of the throne of ultimate justice. Before God's throne we shall all come, and as many of us as have believed will find it to be a throne of grace as well as of justice. He who sits upon that throne shall pronounce no sentence of condemnation against the man who is justified by faith."
The God of all who sits on the throne will pronounce no sentence of condemnation against those justified by faith!
Really think about that.
Think of every lie you've told, every jealous thought, every slanderous word spoken, every sinful deed done and then think of how His forgiveness, through His son Jesus Christ, has justified your sin before the throne of grace.
If you repent and trust in Him, you will not be condemned.
He promises and He will never go back on a promise.
"There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit." Romans 8:1
Our Unworthy Prayers
Do you ever feel your prayers don't make sense of just sound foolish? Or you just don't have the words that sound right?
Spurgeon encourages here:
"If in prayer I come before a throne of grace, the faults of my prayer will be overlooked.
In beginning to pray, you may feel as if you did not pray at all. When you rise from your knees, the groaning of your spirit are such that you think there is nothing in them. What a blotted, blurred, smeared prayer it is.
Never mind - you did not come to the throne of justice.
God does not perceive the fault in the prayer or spurn it. Your broken words, gaspings, and stammerings come before a throne of grace.
When any one of us has presented his best prayer before God, if he saw it as God sees it, there is no doubt he would make great lamentation over it. There is enough sin in the best prayer that was ever prayed to secure its being cast away from God.
But the throne is not a throne of justice, and here is the hope for our lame, limping supplications...He does not severely criticize the faulty cries of His children.
The Lord High Chamberlain of the palace above, our Lord Jesus Christ, takes care to alter and amend every prayer before He presents it to His father. He makes the prayer perfect with His perfection and prevalent with His own merits. God looks upon the prayer as presented through Christ and forgives all its own inherent faultiness. How this should encourage any of us who feel ourselves to be feeble, wandering and unskilled in prayer!
If you cannot plead with God as sometimes you did in years gone by, if you feel as if somehow or other you have grown rusty in the work of supplication...
Never give up.
But come still and come oftener, for it is not a throne of severe criticism to which you come."
"Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need." Hebrews 4:16
A Throne of Compassion and Understanding
One thing that I find amazing about Jesus is that he stepped down from His throne to live among us, suffer along with us, and give his life up for us. He knows how we feel.
Spurgeon says here:
"When I come to the throne of grace with the burden of my sins, there is One on the throne who felt the burden of sin in ages long gone by and has not forgotten its weight. When I come loaded with sorrow, there is One there who knows all the sorrows to which humanity can be subjected.
Am I depressed and distressed? Do I fear that God Himself has forsaken me? There is One upon the throne who said, 'My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?' Matt. 27:46
It is a throne from which grace delights to look upon the miseries of mankind with a tender eye - to consider them and to relieve them.
Come then...to the throne of grace."
God will Do as He Promised
You need not doubt God, He will do what He promises. He has to because He made a covenant through the blood of Christ and with those who believe.
I love the way Spurgeon describes this here:
"On the throne of grace, sovereignty has placed, itself under bonds of love.
God will do as He wills, but on the mercy seat, He is under bonds of His own making, for He has entered into covenant with Christ, and so into covenant with His chosen. Though God is and ever must be a sovereign, He never will break His covenant nor alter the word that has gone out of His mouth.
He cannot be false to a covenant of His own making. When I come to God in Christ, to God on the mercy seat, I need not imagine that by any act of sovereignty God will set aside His covenant.
That is impossible.
Moreover, on the throne of grace, God is again bound to us by His promises. The covenant contains in it many gracious promises, exceeding great and precious. 'Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.' Matt. 7:7
Until God said that word or a word to that effect, it was at His own option to hear prayer or not, but it is not so now. If true prayer is offered through Jesus Christ, His truth binds Him to hear it. "
God will not break His promises. He delights to fullfill them. He declares:
"For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us." 2 Corinthians 1:20
Come Boldly to the Throne of Grace
Because of all this we can come boldly to the throne of grace.
Spurgeon ends the chapter with this:
"The covenant is ratified with blood, the blood of His own dear Son. It is not possible that we can plead in vain with God when we plead the blood-sealed covenant, ordered in all things and sure.
Heaven and earth shall pass away, but the power of the blood of Jesus with God can never fail. It speaks when we are silent, and it prevails when we are defeated...
Let us come boldly, for we bear the promise in our hearts."
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