We just finished our first seven days of the 21 Days of Prayer. This first week, we focused on asking God to transform us. Each morning and evening, we spent time together on Facebook Live, seeking God for the change only He can create. Below are the posts from each day reflecting on your theme verses for the week from Hebrews 4:14-16. If you’d like to read more or stay connected during our 21 Days of prayer, click here.
Day 1 | You Have Help
Our theme verses for the week come from Hebrews 4:14-16. In verse 14 we read that “since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.” I want us to consider for a moment the nature of this promise. In the Old Testament, men such as Moses, his brother Aaron, and the Levitical priests possessed the role and responsibility of representing the people before God. These men came before the Lord in places and with sacrifices designed to make amends for the sins of Israel. Ultimately, the priests functioned as representatives to maintain the collective relationship with God in behalf of the people. Yet, the nature of their sacrifices and their own lives as well was always temporary.
However, in Hebrews 4, we witness a different type of high priest. This high priest, Jesus, fills this role and fulfills His responsibility as high priest permanently. The text says that Jesus makes His way to an exalted place next to the Father (Acts 1:9; Philippians 2:9-11). Through His death, resurrection, and ascension, Jesus can serve as an intercessor (high priest), eternally advocating before the Father (1 John 2:1-2). Consequently, the author of Hebrews tells us to “hold fast our confession.” Your prayers now should be formed and empowered by the wonderful truth that the death-defying and death-conquering Son of God represents YOU before the Father AS forgiven, righteous, and as family. Jesus, the true high priest, makes sure that “neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God…” (Romans 8:37-39).
So, when you pray today, cling tightly to this truth: you have help.
Day 2 |Jesus Knows
In Hebrews 4:15, we learn that Jesus possesses a truly unique ability. We saw yesterday in verse 14 that Jesus functions as our high priest. He makes intercession and advocates for us. The author of Hebrew further unpacks this role in verse 15 by demonstrating the great ability Jesus possesses. The text says that “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are.” We learn that Jesus, our high priest who is interceding for us next to the Father (Hebrews 4:14), knows our struggles. This knowledge Jesus possesses is both transcendent and yet very personal. Jesus holds a divine awareness of our sins yet maintains the knowledge of what our temptations feel like. You see, when Jesus took on the form of man, he experienced strong temptations and struggles just like you and me (Matthew 4:1-11). Consequently, the intercession Jesus makes for us comes from authentically wrestling through real struggles. However, where we often fail, Jesus never does. Unbelievably, Jesus does not hold this against, though. Instead, Jesus uses His victory over sin to give us the mercy and grace we need each and every day. So, instead of turning away from Jesus because you feel guilty or like a failure, run daily and directly to someone who truly knows. The One who knows exactly how you feel is the One who knows exactly what you need AND can give it to you (Matthew 7:7-11).
Let’s rejoice and pray today with the confidence that Jesus knows!
Day 3 |”Yet Without Sin”
Hebrews 4:15 leaves us with a truly amazing thought: Jesus did not sin. Even though we learned that Jesus was “one who in every respect was tempted as we are,” He was “yet without sin.” Consequently, our Mediator possesses not only a knowledge of what our temptations are like but also an experience of never giving into them. You see, where we are tempted and then fail, Jesus never fails. Fortunately, though, Jesus does not hold this against us. His obedience actually provides for us righteousness and redemption. 2 Corinthians 5:21 tell us that “for our sake [God] made [Jesus] to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” Jesus, the one “who knew no sin” even despite great temptations, provides for us the righteousness we could never earn. 1 John 3:5 makes this clear as well by stating “you know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin.” When we believe we are innocent, we often use that belief to gain an advantage. However, Jesus uses His innocence and perfect obedience for our advantage. Jesus not only sympathizes with our weaknesses, but He also redeems us from our sins (and subsequent weaknesses).
As we go to prayer today, let us proceed humbly in light of our sins yet boldly on account of our sinless Savior and Advocate.
Day 4 |Go Boldly
After describing the greatness of Jesus as our mediator, the author of Hebrews gives us a command. Verse 16 says “let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace.” Instead of being fearful or intimidated by God, we find that we can have a posture of confidence and boldness in approaching Him. Author Peter O’Brien explains that “the challenge to approach God’s throne of grace is an admonition to persistent, confident prayer that is based particularly on Jesus’ own experience of sufferings and trials, and his consequent ability to empathize with our weaknesses.” Jesus has provided the means and the way for us to come before God. Our “persistent, confident prayers” do not go unheard. We do not need to worry if God is listening to us. We have the hope and promise to access God directly. So, my question is, “what are we doing about this?” Knowing that based on the work and the role of Jesus we can directly access God, do we take full advantage of this glorious opportunity? How “persistently” and “confidently” do we seek after God?
As we pray today, let us not wonder if God hears us or feel our requests are insignificant. Instead, let us confidently approach knowing we have a place before Him.
Day 5|Our Needs
Hebrews 4:16 provides for us the hope of and the reason for approaching God. So far, we’ve seen the hope. Based on the work of Jesus, we can approach the Father confidently. Today, we will focus on part one of the reason. The text says we can approach the throne of grace confidently so “that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Today, I would like for us to focus on the mercy we receive from God. This mercy is defined as “kindness or concern expressed for someone in need.” I italicized “need” because I believe this is the main point of the mercy we receive. When we approach God, we are not coming with our lives all figured out and put together. Actually, it is just the opposite. The great needs that we have not only necessitated approaching God but also caused God to approach us in Jesus the Messiah. Now, instead of the Father condemning us, He welcomes us before His throne to receive the mercy we need for all of our needs. You possess the hope from God’s Word based on the work of Jesus to approach God confidently for the mercy you need. So, what is keeping you from going before God right now, once again, for this mercy? The path to finding your mercy is right in front of you. You can receive exactly what you need from God today as you boldly ask, seek, and knock.
Let us begin this day with a renewed confidence that God will give us the mercy we crave for our needs.
Day 6|Amazing Grace
Based on what we have witnessed in Hebrews 4, we can approach our Father confidently looking to receive mercy and also find grace. The verb “find” carries the idea of an attained state of or an obtained object in pursuit. Meaning, the grace we need has been obtained by Jesus and is available for us. Matter of fact, the very grace resides at the “throne of grace.” The “exceptional favor” of God belongs to us through Jesus Christ and we can access this grace confidently. Normally, offers like this are too good to be true. There is a catch that accompanies them. Then, the actual product does not even pan out to be that good. In this instance, we experience the complete opposite. God offers us what we could never earn and then invites us to enjoy His gift freely, confidently, and frequently. Whatever struggle you are facing today, please know that Jesus provided an eternal and overflowing amount of grace needed for obedience, joy, happiness, and peace.
So, let’s go before our God today asking and believing to find grace for all that we need.
Day 7|In Need
Hebrews 4:15 ends with a comforting conclusion. After learning about the role of Jesus interceding for us, we discover the privilege of confidently coming before God for mercy and grace. God’s provides mercy and grace “to help in our time of need.” Specifically, this help is “timely assistance offered to meet a need.” We experience all kinds of needs: physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Often, I believe, we view those needs as obstacles that keep us from God. Instead, these needs should drive us to God. We have become too independent and self-sufficient to realize how much we actually need God. When I think of my children, especially Nolan, he constantly asks for help. Whether it is assistance using the bathroom or wanting a snack, he intuitively knows that Megan and I can and will help. We should run to God with any and all of our needs. He has made that way possible. His throne is characterized by grace and mercy. The mercy we receive and the grace we find will meet our needs in a timely, divine manner. Let us conclude this first week of prayer by humbly going before our God with our needs knowing He will give us exactly what we need.