I know I'm not the only one, but I must confess that there are too many days in my life where I overlook the incredible privilege of having access to the Creator of the universe. I have been given the freedom to come to him with all my cares and concerns, and yet I don't.
There's a story that Jesus once told about a woman's persistence, and in that story he gives us a profound perspective on the kind of freedom that we have in coming to God. He said:
“In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man. And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’ For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.’”
And then Jesus ends this story with the following teaching point:
“Hear what the unrighteous judge says. And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night?"
You see, like the persistent widow in the story, we have been given an open invitation to bother God with our prayers. Persistence in prayer that is coming from a heart that is pure is something that pleases God, and it also honors him as the Sovereign Authority over all everything that happens in this life.
However, in our persistence, we must also remember who we are approaching each time that we pray and then approach him with the kind of posture that is appropriate. I think sometimes we can view our open invitation as something that we have earned in some way. I think sometimes we point to a decision that we have made or the kind of life that we are living and assume that we have reached a level of spirituality that warrants God's attention.
We need to remember that we only have access because we've been given a credential.
Our free access to God has not been granted because of who we are or something that we have done; it has been granted to us because of who Christ is and what he has done.
If I tried to walk into Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland by myself, it wouldn't take long before I was stopped and escorted back outside. But if I walked in with Lebron James, it would be a different story. I would be granted free access because of who Lebron is, and what he has accomplished. My relationship with Lebron would give me a credential to the arena in Cleveland.
In the same way, Christ is the required credential for entering into the presence of God. We have an open invitation to bother the Creator but only because of our relationship with Christ.
So lets approach God persistently but lets make sure to mix in the appropriate amount of humility. And lets rejoice in the freedom that we have in prayer but lets remember why we have it.