Praying before the throne of grace

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Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:16 ESV)

‘Seeking God’, sounds so spiritual and pious – far removed from what my life actually looks like in the real world. I want to seek God much more than I do; to live by the Spirit, walk in obedience to His direction, seek justice, love mercy and walk humbly before God.

Unfortunately I have become anxious about worldly things and my divided interests have lead me away from a strong devotion to God1. For this I feel ashamed and am reluctant to face up to Jesus in prayer when I have been such a lousy disciple. So as an avoidance tactic which at least had an appearance of being spiritual, I picked up a book about prayer2 by John Bunyan (author of Pilgrim’s Progress).

Writing while incarcerated in the Bedford goal from 1662, Bunyan addresses this very issue:

Another encouragement for a poor trembling convicted soul is to consider the place, throne, or seat, on which the great God has placed Himself to hear the petitions and prayers of poor creatures; and that is a ‘throne of grace’, ‘the mercy-seat. (Hebrews 4:16 & Exodus 25:22) …

… Poor souls! They are very apt to entertain strange thoughts of God, and of His carriage towards them: and suddenly conclude that God will have no regard unto them, when yet He is upon the mercy-seat, and has taken His place on purpose there, to the end He may hear and regard the prayers of poor creatures.2

​This is an encouraging reminder of grace. That when it comes to praying to and communing with God, He takes pains to place Himself on a throne of grace so that our prayers may come to him unhindered by the burden of sin we may carry. As I approach God in and through Christ my own very poor track record is gloriously overlaid with the perfect record of Jesus such that I am accepted as God’s own child.

So my attempt to avoid facing my shortcomings as a follower of Christ by reading something written by a great follower of Christ was perhaps not quite so deluded after all!

Now to place myself before that throne of grace.

Notes:

1. See 1 Corinthians 7:33-34
1. Prayer by John Bunyan (Puritan Paperbacks, ISBN 0-85151-090-6) p55