A young man who fought in the Civil War felt the need to get back home and help his family farm the coming harvest. Mom needed help! You see this mother had already lost 2 of her sons and her husband in the war. So, the young man approached his captain to get his permission to return home for the harvest season. “Request Denied”, said the captain, on the grounds that he did not have the authority to grant such a request.
However, the captain gave the young man some time off to seek out a higher authority to grant the request. What will our young man do? Well, he traveled to Washington DC. He figured, I need a higher authority…. how about the President!
The story goes that our young man approached the steps of the White House (it was a different day indeed!) where he was stopped and questioned by a guard.
The guard told him: “Son, don’t you know that there is a war on? This is not the time to leave. Lots of us have lost those we loved, and many face hardship. You are a soldier. Go back to your unit and serve your mother and your country by fighting for freedom.”
The young man was devastated. As he sulked his way through the streets of Washington DC, a little boy saw the deflated man. So, the boy asked him what was the matter. The soldier needed to unload on someone, so he told the little boy the whole story.
“Sir,” said the little boy, “I think I can help.”
With that the boy took the soldier back to the steps of the White House, walking right past the guard, up the steps, and directly into the office of the president. Bold…. Right? No appointment! No knock on the door! The president was working at his desk when he looked up and said, “Yes, Tad, what can I do for you?”* That is ACCESS!
Heirs with Christ
So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.
(Romans 8:12-17 ESV)
Consider a few things:
- You are adopted BY God!
- Being adopted by God makes you a child OF God
- Children have ACCESS
- We can and should approach the throne room of grace with boldness – WHY? Because we are His adopted children!
What does it mean to pray? It means “access!” And, when you think of having access to God – our very next thought ought to be a gospel thought. Because, if it was not for Jesus….. access denied!
We have access to God not because we earned it or because we are all that. We have access because He provided it. Access / Children of God / Adoption to the Father all speak of relationship. Believer, you have a relationship with God Himself and this is because of what Jesus provided on that cross.
Do you see it?
Prayer IS a gospel connection. When we pray it is BECAUSE of the gospel. Prayer IS living in the good of the gospel. And when we do not pray – we are not living in the good of what the gospel provides. We have been given access and relationship and now we can and should live in the good of that.
So, I encourage you to pray today! And when you do – stop for a moment to thank God…. Jesus provided the access and relationship to allow us to even utter one word to the Father.
* I read this story in Steve Brown’s excellent book titled Approaching God