03.01.23 | Articles, The Shepherd's Voice | by Sam Maconachy
“In order to pray with confidence and hope, you need to know who you’re praying to.”
This quote by Rev. Paul David Tripp puts it all into perspective. I find for myself the season of Lent to be a time when I am more aware of my praying. More vigilant in the sense of how little I do it outside the 40 day journey we set out with one another as a church to Good Friday. That fact quickly accuses me, but also if I’m not careful, distracts me. It sidetracks me to focus on the amount of praying I do. The how much. While it is good to have an awareness of praying frequency, it can spiritually entangle me at a quickened rate... “I don’t pray enough...I need to pray more...I should pray more...why am I not praying more...why can’t I be better?” That, my friends, is not what Lent is about. It is not about being better. Lent is about being the worst.
No, that last sentence is not my full endorsement to go and sin to your heart’s delight. Rather, when we see prayer for what it truly is, a gift, our focus is led away from the “how much” and instead towards the “to Whom.” To Whom am I praying? I am praying to the Giver of this gift of prayer. I am praying to the LORD. The One Who is perfect, holy, eternal, and sovereign. Even at my worst I am given an incredible gift: permanent, privileged, and promised access whenever I want to the Maker of Heaven and Earth...the Redeemer of the world...the Helper of my faith. I get to talk to the LORD. I am the worst at it, but God nonetheless is still ever so good in giving it to me. To you. To anyone.
We all could be better with our praying. We’re the worst at it. We could be better with anything. We’re the chief of sinners. I’m the worst. You are the worst.
But God is the best.
The best at giving: His Son. His Love. His Comfort. His Help. His Will. His Life. His Promises. Himself to you. That is why church we can pray with confidence and hope. We are talking to the Best there is.
“Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 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 4:14-16
Lent is about God giving the best for the worst. And then knowing that’s Who we are then praying to? It’s how we start.
Praying together to Him,