Have you ever had trouble exiting a place? Maybe you Push when the door says Pull. Or, perhaps you push on the wrong side of the door. How embarrassing!
I was recently trying to exit a place and I could sense that the door might be problematic. I didn’t know which way the door opened. If I gave it a hard push—but I pushed on the wrong side—well, that would get us nowhere. So, I decided on an approach that I hoped would save some embarrassment. I gave a little, noncommittal nudge on the center of the door handle. This way, I thought, the door would budge just a tiny bit, allowing me to know which side of the door to use.
Our prayers can be a bit similar. We hesitate to go all in because…because…because why? Do we think that our problems are too insignificant for God to care? Do we think that God is too busy with other things?
In the book of Hebrews, we find some practical advice on approaching God. “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 4:16).
Coming before a king can be a daunting task. After all, the king is all-powerful. The king is authoritative. The king can say, “Off with his head!”
Naturally, the person coming before the king does so with great trepidation. But that’s not how our King wants to be approached. This is a King who wants us to come into the courts with courage and confidence. After all, the throne is called “the throne of grace.”
The book of James provides us with a practical suggestion as well. “Ask in faith, with no doubting” (James 1:6).
What’s the problem with doubting? It means that we’re questioning whether God can really do what we’re asking. Imagine the old cliché movie scene where the person in trouble looks up in the sky and says, “Well, God, I know we don’t talk much, but, well, if you’re there, if just this one time, if maybe you could…”
That’s not how God wants to be approached. If we truly believe that there is a God who is at work in our lives, then we should not hesitate to express our needs to this merciful God.
Finally, 1 John 5:14 says, “And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us.”
It is certainly possible to ask of God outside of God’s will. But, what if we ask according to God’s will? According to this Scripture, we can have confidence that if we ask anything according to God’s will, God hears us.
Be confident, yet humble. Be bold, yet reverent. Choose a side of the door and go for it. Push with all the strength you have. It might just open.