The AMI QT devotionals from July 16-22 are provided by Cami King. Cami, a graduate of University of Pennsylvania and Gordon Conwell Seminary (M.Div.), is currently serving as a staff at Journey Community Church in Raleigh.
Devotional Thoughts for Today
“Pray Because We Can!”
Jeremiah 21:1-2 (NRSV)
This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord, when King Zedekiah sent to him Pashhur son of Malchiah and the priest Zephaniah son of Maaseiah, saying, 2 “Please inquire of the Lord on our behalf, for King Nebuchadrezzar of Babylon is making war against us; perhaps the Lord will perform a wonderful deed for us, as he has often done, and will make him withdraw from us.”
Many of us have heard stories like this one: “A mother at our mission station died after giving birth to a premature baby. We tried to improvise an incubator to keep the infant alive, but the only hot water bottle we had was beyond repair. So we asked the children to pray for the baby and for her sister. One of the girls responded. ‘Dear God, please send a hot water bottle today. Tomorrow will be too late because by then the baby will be dead. And dear Lord, send a doll for the sister so she won’t feel so lonely.’ That afternoon a large package arrived from England. The children watched eagerly as we opened it. Much to their surprise, under some clothing was a hot water bottle! Immediately the girl who had prayed so earnestly started to dig deeper, exclaiming, ‘If God sent that, I’m sure He also sent a doll!’ And she was right! The heavenly Father knew in advance of that child’s sincere requests, and 5 months earlier He had led a ladies’ group to include both of those specific articles.” (Dr. Helen Roseveare, mid-twentieth century missionary to the Congo)
Most of our stories of blessed times in prayer come in moments of desperation. This is likely because it’s easier to pray when we face situations which are so impossible that only a miracle can bring us through. But our passage for today reminds me of a lesson God taught me some years ago. In the Old Testament, when people needed to seek a word from the Lord they had to go to a priest or prophet who served as a mediator between them and God. In our passage for today, King Zedekiah went to Jeremiah (a prophet from the priestly line) so that Jeremiah might inquire of the Lord on behalf of the King.
Some years ago as I prepared sermons on prayer, I sought the Scriptures for the reasons they give us to pray. I found many reasons, but my favorite is this: BECAUSE WE CAN! After the death and resurrection of Jesus, the people of God no longer needed to seek God through a mediator. As believers we have access directly to the throne of God whenever we call on God and we can trust that God not only hears, but through the Holy Spirit, that God also responds. I like to imagine how utterly mind-boggling this truth was for believers in the early church who had never had this kind of access to the presence of God before.
We have precious access to God when we pray. May we not take it for granted today.
Prayer: Gracious God, thank You that You hear me when I pray to You. Thank You Jesus that I have unrestricted access because of what You did for me on the cross. Thank You Holy Spirit for dwelling with me and allowing me to hear from the heart of God every day. Lord, forgive for any times I have taken this access for granted. May I enjoy today the rich blessings that come from intimate communication with You. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Daniel 8
Lunch Break Study
Read Hebrews 4:14-16 (NRSV): Since, then, we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast to our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who in every respect has been tested[d] as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Question to Consider
- What are the two commands/exhortations given in this passage?
- What are the reasons we’re able to follow these commands/exhortations?
- Verse 16 tells us that the end result of the believers holding fast to their confession and boldly approaching the throne of grace is so that they may receive mercy and find grace in times of need. How does this encourage you today? What are the specific areas in your life that make you more aware of your need for grace and mercy?
- “Hold fast to our confession” (v.14)—the writer of Hebrews encourages believers to persevere in their profession of faith and confidence in Christ. “Approach the throne of grace with boldness” (v. 16)—come before God boldly in prayer.
- We have Jesus as our high priest—One who goes before God on our behalf and intercedes (talks to God for us). Furthermore, the One who intercedes for us is both sympathetic—He sympathizes with us in our areas of weaknesses, and holy/blameless – He was tested yet did not sin.
- Personal response.
Rend Collective, a contemporary Christian worship band, wrote the song “Boldly I Approach” with Hebrews 4:16 in mind. Spend some time listening to their song of worship this evening. As you do, reflect on the great gift we have in Jesus as our high priest and the freedom He grants us to boldly approach God in prayer (Rend Collective – Boldly I approach). Spend some time praying to God about the specific areas in your life where you need grace and mercy today.