“The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”Philippians 4:5b-6
Since I am incarcerated and without Internet access, the U.S. Postal Service is my primary means of communication with the outside world. “Snail mail” is already relatively slow, but the prison mailroom also gets overwhelmed by its duties of sorting and contraband prevention. Especially at Christmastime, the correspondence I receive may be several weeks old.
Imagine if prayer went to God in the same way! Sometimes it seems as if my petitions are given low priority, or that maybe I didn’t explain my requests clearly enough. How may I know that my pleas for mercy are being heard and treated with the urgency I think they require?
The answer to that question is ultimately prodigal grace. For it’s not our phrasing—be it eloquent or plain—or our sincerity which gets the Lord’s attention. No, it is nothing in ourselves, but His own character. Since we are “in Christ,” all the blessings of God the Father to His Son are ours, too (Ephesians 1:3-14; see also Hebrews 4:14-16). This is our basis for confidence in prayer.
“Jesus looked up and said, ‘Father, I thank you that you have heard me.’” (John 11:41b)