Christians are a praying people. We pray because we believe in God (James 1:6). Christian, because of Jesus, we are able to come before God with reverent confidence. The Bible says, “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). We can pray with confidence like Nehemiah did when he prayed, “O LORD God of heaven, the great and awesome God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, let your ear be attentive and your eyes open, to hear the prayer of your servant that I now pray before you day and night for the people of Israel your servants” (Nehemiah 1:4-6).
If we believe in God, how could we not pray? “Our soul waits for the LORD; he is our help and our shield” (Psalm 33:20). “Our help is in the name of the LORD, who made heaven and earth” (Psalm 124:8).
We should be confident in our prayers because of the God to whom we pray. In fact, the Bible commands us to be confident in our prayers because of the God to whom we pray. James said, “But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways” (James 1:6-7). Whenever we address God in prayer, the Triune God is our audience. This is why we are confident. The Father, Son, and Spirit are united in perfect harmony and do nothing alone although a different emphasis may be carried out by the Son or by the Spirit or by the Father. The united work of our Triune God is demonstrated in the way in which the Scriptures describe the reception of our prayers.
We are told to address the Father in prayer (Matthew 6:9). We are told to address Jesus in prayer (Acts 1:24; 7:59; 9:13; John 14:14). Some have argued that Jesus must never be addressed in prayer. This is not the pattern of New Testament Christians (Acts 1:24; 7:59; 1 Cor. 16:22; 2 Cor. 12:8; 1 Thess. 3:11; 2 Thess. 2:16-17; 1 Tim. 2:12-13; Rev. 5:8, 9, 13). Furthermore, it does not honor Christ as equal in deity and glory with the Father. Jesus accepted worship. He also accepts prayer (Matt. 2:2, 14:33; Heb. 1:6; Rev. 5:7). We are also told that the Holy Spirit helps us in our prayers (Romans 8:26) and that the Spirit himself prays for us (Romans 8:27).
Our confidence in prayer is rooted in our confidence in God. Our confidence in God is strong because his love for us and power exercised on our behalf is presented beautifully in Jesus’ sacrifice. Hebrews 10:19-22 tells us we have “confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus.” This new relationship with God made possible through and in Jesus is described as “the new and living way that he opened up for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh.” Furthermore, “we have a great priest over the house of God”–Jesus. Since we have this great High Priest, “let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith.” Paul described our relationship with God and therefore our prayer life when he said, “we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him” (Eph. 3:12). In Christ, we have a better hope “through which we draw near to God” (Heb. 7:19).
One of my heroes, Thomas B. Warren, offered the following prayer in his book Jesus–the Lamb Who is a Lion:
“Let us thank our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for the love which He manifested in teaching us how to pray … O, Jesus, Thou Lamb of God—how deeply grateful we are for Thy love which resulted in the gift of Thy life for us! Help us, we pray to ‘see’ every day Jesus, the Lamb who is the Lion. Help us to pray as Thou hast taught us to pray!” (201-202).
Let us pray, and let us pray with confidence.