14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. 16 Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:14-16)
One of the “mind-games” we may find ourselves playing when it comes to Prayer and Intercession will spring forth from our sense of “self-worth” before God – or our lack of it. Have you ever found yourself distracted by a sense of guilt, shame, or that “untimely argument” that just had to happen right before your time in prayer or intercession? I have! And it is hard to overcome.
One of the ways God helps me to overcome these distractions of the heart is to begin by focusing on His Mercy and Grace, and my need to “receive” it “in my time of need.”
Before I talk about a “visualization” that you can do, I’d like to talk a little bit about a “picture of Mercy” that I remembered in preparation for a class I was allowed to substitute teach. The class topic? “The Mercy Seat”. As I thought about the topic, I also started to think about what God’s mercy meant to me, and how I might communicate that to the students in the class. “Personal examples of mercy” mean so much more than just definitions and information. And, here is the “personal example” the Lord brought to my mind.
My senior year of high school I was applying for entrance to the US Air Force Academy (I did not make it!). There were all kinds of tests I had to go through, including a rigorous physical exam. I have pretty good eye-sight, but not always “good attention” to my circumstances. On my way to my optometrist for a night vision test I ran a “Stop Sign” that I did not notice. The policeman did!
My heart was palpitating very fast, because I still had not realized what I had done, nor why I the police car pulled me over. The policeman asked for my ID as I was thinking of all the ways that my father might kill me and be able to dispose of the body without anyone ever finding it. The only change that my mom might notice was more food left on the table and a greatly reduced grocery bill… Oh yeah… and less laundry!
But when the policeman looked at my Driver’s Licence, he got this peculiar look on his face, and then asked me, “Is your father Sergeant Finnegan?” My dad was in the detective bureau, and handled homicides… appropriate I thought… Can my dad investigate himself?
I said, with a gulp and a lump in my throat, “Yes…?” I did not like where this was going. But to my surprise, the police officer said, “Because of who your dad is, I will not give you this ticket.” This fellow police officer had a great deal of respect for my dad, and did not want to dishonor him because of the actions of his child. I rightfully should have received the ticket (the statute of limitations I believe is passed!) But instead I received Mercy – unmerited favor and grace – because of the position of honor my dad had in this man’s eyes.
There was only one condition the officer gave to me. I needed to confess “my crime” before my dad… that day!
When I read Hebrews 4:14-16, it makes more sense now. Because of Jesus Christ, and His position of Honor as my High Priest before the Father, by confession of Jesus and to Jesus, I can go through Him and “draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that [I] may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Because of Jesus’ position on my behalf, I have new position with my Heavenly Father; and have “Mercy and Grace Enough to Pray”.
I “visualize” myself before Jesus, and confess my needs to Him (try it when you struggle to pray). Then I accept the truth of the Father’s forgiveness because of Jesus; or His power to forgive others; even His command to go ask for forgiveness from others. And then I feel free to go to the Father, in Jesus’ Name, to boldly ask for Mercy and Grace for myself and for others in our/their time of need.
There is “Mercy and Grace Enough to Pray”.