Hebrews 4:16 (NASB)
Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
This wonderful verse gives us the who, what, where, why, and when of prayer.
Who? Let us… The exhortation of Hebrews 4:16 has your name on it. The context reminds us that Jesus, our great high priest, has gone through the heavens before us, sympathizing with our weaknesses. He opens the door into the throne room of the universe for us.
What? Prayer is approaching God. Therefore let us draw near… James 4:8 tells us to draw near to God, and Deuteronomy 4:7 tells us how by asking who else has a god as near to them “as the Lord our God is to us, whenever we call to Him?” The chief purpose of prayer is recognizing the nearness of our King.
Where? Let us approach the throne of grace. It is a throne, a majestic and glorious seat of power. It’s a throne of grace, not of judgment or condemnation. Through Christ we approach the throne of One who is our friend, who desires fellowship with us, who wants to bless us from the endless resources of His grace.
Why? We may receive mercy and find grace to help us. Mercy is God’s attitude of forgiveness in not giving us what we do deserve. Grace is His attitude of blessing and benevolence in giving us what we do not deserve.
When? At the time of need. That phrase literally means at the opportune or needed time, just when we need it.
We can call upon God—boldly. But note two things.
- God is sitting upon a throne, the seat of authority, power, honor, glory, respect, and reverence. Therefore, we are to approach Him in respect and reverence.
- God is sitting upon the “throne of grace.” Grace means that God is love, and He longs to shower His love and blessings upon man. But how could God, who sits upon the majestic and glorious throne of the universe, be so gracious to man? How could God care for man, care for a creature who is such a small part of so vast a universe? Care for a creature who has cursed, denied, ignored, and rebelled against the Sovereign Lord of the universe? Because of Christ Jesus. Christ is there in the throne room of God, and He is seated there as the Savior of the world, as the Ideal and Perfect Man who sacrificed His life for the sins of the world. He is there pleading our case before God. And the one thing God does is listen to His Son. Whatever Jesus asks, the Father does. Jesus Christ is our Representative, our Intercessor, our great High Priest before God’s throne. He has turned the throne of God from a throne of judgment into a throne of grace. Therefore, “let us come boldly before the throne of grace.” We have the right, so let us do it. Let us approach God through Jesus Christ, and God will do whatever we ask through Christ. God’s throne is now a throne of grace; it is now opened up for any person to approach, no matter how bad and terrible a life he has lived. God will receive him through Christ Jesus.