Letters to the Family of God

by Joe Franzone | September 30, 2021 | Pastor's Blog

Family of God - Website

September 30, 2021

Thou art coming to a King, large petitions with thee bring,
For His grace and power are such, none can ever ask too much.

John Newton

Sept 30

Dear friends,

The quote is one of my favorite encouragements to pray and to pray big.  I have a sneaking suspicion that John Newton had in mind the great encouragement from Hebrews chapter four when he penned his little couplet.

We all know and thank God for Hebrew 4:16.

Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

But the broader context of the chapter provides even deeper confidence.

Christians know apart from Christ; they would have no right or might to go to God in prayer.  By nature, no one deserves to seek and ask God anything.  Therefore, Hebrews chapter four takes us down this line of thought which ends gushing in confidence.

The chapter begins with speaking of the rest Christians enter.  Resting from works as a means to (4:9) please, appease, or access God.  Calling the reader to consider the Old Testament examples of creation, David, and Joshua, to initiate His point.

Then comes another well-known passage, For the word of God, is alive and active.  Sharper than any double-edged sword etc. (4:12)  In its context, the verse underpins the point the writer was making, to enter God’s rest, not by your works, but by trusting in God’s work in Christ.

Therefore, (since God’s word is alive and active.  Specifically, the short creation, David, and Joshua examples) (and) since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess.  For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. (Hebrews 4:14-15)

It’s all so beautiful.  The writer calls for rest in Christ.  Then gives Old Testament encouragements, along with New Testament truth, on our Great High Priest who empathizes and does not criticize our weakness, therefore.

Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. (4:16)

The point is, don’t let anything stop you, least of all your fallenness, to go to God’s throne of grace with confidence, or as the Puritans would say, to storm the mercy seat.  It is a wide-open, theologically sound invitation to pray and pray big.  All our sin has been dealt with by our Great High Priest, Jesus Christ.

Jesus invites us to pray with the same basic bent.  Pray and pray big.

Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you. (Matthew 7:7)

You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. (John 15:16)

If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. (John 15:7)

The invitation to pray from God, out of our need, in keeping with God’s will, is more than an open-for-business sign.  It is that plus, balloons, ribbons, flashing lights, free food, people holding big signs, etc.

In this season of Forty Days of Prayer, in the life of Christ Church, let’s pray big.

We want to remain in a position of neediness, dependence, high expectation and holy boldness of what God will do.

We do not want to walk after our own thoughts rather walk in harmony with God’s word.  ‘Keep in step with Spirit’ is what Paul wrote to the Galatian church.  Prayer is a beautiful expression of our need before God to be able to do this.

We want to be and to believe we will be greatly helped by God, and we want his help to come in such a way it will be clearly seen as all of God’s doing because we expect great and loving things from God in the coming months and new year.  We want to lead, worship, serve, send, and love because of that.

From this past Sunday’s worship service.

May God give us the grace to pray big.

Pastor Joe