About Jesus     Steve Sweetman

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What Does Praying Boldly Mean?

Hebrews 4:16 in the NIV says, "Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence…" The KJV says, "Let us therefore come boldly before the throne of grace…". So I’m wondering what coming "boldly" or "confidently" before our Lord means.

I know some Christians believe they can come to Jesus in great boldness, almost demanding all sorts of things from Him because they’re "Kids of the King" and "Kids of the King" deserve to be spoiled by the King.

If anyone could come "boldly" before the Lord it would be Daniel because he was "highly esteemed" by God. (Dan. 10:11) So let’s look at one of his prayers found in Daniel 9. First of all in Dan. 9:4 he recognizes who he is praying to, and gives credit to whom credit is due, and that’s "the great and awesome God". You notice that Daniel doesn’t just jump into prayer with "I want, I need, and give me please…". He begins His prayer by acknowledging the greatness of the one to whom he is praying. This might be something to think about the next time you’re in a prayer meeting with your grocery list of requests.

Then for the next several verses Daniel says such things as "we’ve sinned, we’ve done wrong, we’ve disobeyed, but you are righteous". Now these words are from a man who is one of two people in the whole Bible who is called "beloved of God’. He associates himself with his rebellious brothers of Israel. This looks more like humility than boldness to me. Even though Daniel never got to read Romans 1 and 2 he knew that he was just as depraved as the rest of Israel and in desperate need of a Saviour.

It’s not until verse 17 that Daniel finds himself being a little more bold in the presence of the Lord. He says, "now, O Lord, hear the prayers and petitions of your servant, For your sake, O Lord, look with favour on…" Notice he’s pleading as a servant. He’s not demanding as if he was a Kings Kid. Boldness looks more like humility here than anything else. And also notice that it’s for God’s sake that this prayer should be answered, not Daniel’s or Israel’s sake. This is what praying in the name of Jesus means for us New Testament Christians.

Daniel was requesting God to return His people to His city, because he’d been reading the book of Jeremiah and had learned that the 70 years of God’s judgment on rebellious Israel was coming to an end. Daniel knew that God promised this punishment would last only 70 years, yet he prayed for the fulfillment of this prophecy anyway. You’d think he might read the prophecy, know it would be fulfilled soon and go off on a vacation and enjoy life. Not so. Even though Daniel knew God would fulfill His word, he pleaded anyway – and I say pleaded, he didn’t demand anything from His Lord. Wow, I didn’t know boldness looked like this.

We get a good picture of what coming boldly before the throne of grace looks like in Daniel’s prayer. You might want to read this chapter for yourself and see if you agree with me. Though Daniel was just as depraved as the rest of us, God esteemed him greatly, and even with this special connection with God, he pleas as His servant.

Heb. 4:16 encourages us to come before the Lord with boldness or confidence. As depraved men and women we shrink from God’s presence because we’re not worthy to stand before Him. Yet as Christians who are "highly esteemed" by our Lord, we do come before Him in humility and thankfulness, leaving no place for arrogance.

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