Now all of us can come to the Father through the same Holy Spirit because of what Christ has done for us (Ephesians 2:18 NLT).
That's the only appropriate word when I contemplate the reality of this privilege that the Holy Spirit gives every child of God. We all have "access to the Father" (Ephesians 2:18 NIV) because of the gift of the Holy Spirit living in us.
Have we discounted this gracious gift of access because we have become so blasé‚ with our over-familiarity with the concept? Think of the wonder of it! We have an instant, 24/7, always on, direct network connection from our heart to the King of glory!
I used to live in Austin, the state capital of Texas. I personally knew the mayor. I met with him formally and informally on many occasions. I was even privileged to do the wedding for his daughter. I knew several people who worked directly with governors. They could get me a hearing before him if I wanted one. Yet I couldn't just barge into the mayor's office and demand an audience. I couldn't knock on the door of the governor's mansion in the middle of the night to share my concerns and worries. While I have known people who worked across the hall from a president, I couldn't show up at the Whitehouse and say, "I'd sure like to visit with the President to talk about a few problems."
While each of those people — the mayor of Austin, governor of the state of Texas, and the President of the United States — are important, they do not compare with the Creator of the universe! Yet because I am God's child, adopted by grace and given the Father's spiritual DNA through the Holy Spirit, I "can come to the Father" at any time of day in any situation of life and speak freely about any of the concerns and delights of my heart.
Now I confess that I don't know how that works exactly. I don't know how any being is big enough to manage all the connections and concerns. I don't know why the Eternal One would pay attention to me with all those connections and concerns. I don't know how the Father keeps my needs differentiated from everyone else's concerns. Yet because of Jesus and through the intercessory work of the Holy Spirit, I know the Father knows, cares, and welcomes my coming before the "throne of grace with confidence" so that I can "receive mercy and find grace to help" in my times of concern and delight (Hebrews 4:16).
The Spirit ensures that each of us who is God's child has this special access to the King of glory. Yet this incredible privilege is only the first taste of the Spirit's grace of intercession. We are urged, "Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion" (Ephesians 6:18 NLT; Jude 1:20). The presence of God within us, the Spirit who makes us God's temple (1 Corinthians 6:19-20), does far more than provide us with access to the Father.
And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don't know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God's own will (Romans 8:26-27 NLT).
These groanings of the Spirit's gracious intercessions for us is not the language of formal communication or the language of diplomacy necessary to approach someone important. We come to the Father as his precious children — toddlers with arms outstretched to our Father who drops everything and welcomes us warmly into his embrace:
[Y]ou received God's Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, "Abba, Father." For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God's children. And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God's glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering (Romans 8:15-17 NLT; cf. Galatians 4:4-7).
As children of God, we have the Holy Spirit living within us as a constant and ongoing blessing (Romans 8:9). This means so many things, but today I pray that it means we will stop and be astounded — caught up in the wonder of the grace of the Spirit's presence. Because we have the Spirit within us, we have an instant, 24/7, always on, direct network connection from our heart to the King of glory!
Because of the Spirit's presence within us, we are confident the Father hears us. We don't have to worry about having the correct words — we are heard as beloved children by a Father who longs for us to come into his presence. Even those emotions — the grief, the pain, the rapturous joy — we cannot express with words, the Spirit presents to the Father as the communication of our hearts!
This means, dear friend, your Father is waiting to hear from you! You don't have to clean up your words. You don't have to know some secret prayer formula. You don't have to have some holy and special religious person to pray for you so that your prayers are heard. You don't have to even have the right words, or even words at all. Because of the gift of the Spirit, we can simply point our hearts toward the Father and let the words and emotions flow, all the while knowing that the Spirit within us guarantees our access, cleans up our words, clarifies our thoughts, and brings it all to our Father who waits on bended knee to meet us as we lift our hearts and hands up to him.
Incredible... such privilege and such grace!