Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "At The Cross"1 (Lyrics)
Do you ever feel like giving up on the Christian life, as if God doesn't hear your prayers, or even care?
Growing up in a Presbyterian church in Ottawa, Canada, I learned a lot about prayer. I memorized the Lord's Prayer in Sunday School, and repeated it in every Sunday service. I also learned about prayers like those of Moses, Samuel, and David, along with Mary, Zacharias, and Simeon. At times, prayer seemed mechanical, far removed from the anxieties and pressures of the day. When I'm in the midst of it, I must confess that praying is not the first thing that I do!
Jesus led a life of prayer, often going away early in the day to speak with His Father. In the Garden of Gethsemane, as He faced His impending crucifixion, He passionately prayed that He would be strong to do His Father's will. Could I ever pray as fervently as He did?
The writer to the Hebrews sought to encourage believers who considered giving up on the faith:
Hebrews 7:25 – [Jesus] is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. (NKJV)
They needed reminding that Jesus is praying for them, and He lives forever to pray for us as well. Remember how, on the night when He was betrayed, Jesus prayed for Peter, knowing that he would be tempted to deny Him:
Luke 22:31-32 – And the Lord said, "Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren." (NKJV)
Jesus can pray for us, because God the Father designed a new and better covenant, which we can accept or reject. Jesus offers Himself as the surety of this covenant, and offered His own life to bail us out, so that it depends not on what we do, but on what He has done. Even better, this goes on forever, and His salvation never changes, is permanent, and is always secure.
The promise from the holy Word will strengthen us, knowing that Jesus died on Calvary's hill so that He could continue to mediate and pray for us continually. Paul tells us that Jesus intercedes for us as our defender from every condemnation:
Romans 8:33-34 – Who shall bring a charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. (NKJV)
During this Holy Week, knowing that Jesus prays for me makes remembering His sacrifice and victory over death even more meaningful.
Celebrate Easter in joy this year, knowing that the Lord Jesus lives forever to pray for you!
Prayer: Dear Lord and Saviour, we praise You even as You lift us up in prayer to God the Father, so that we can be encouraged, strengthened, and enabled to lift up our brothers and sisters in Christ, this Easter and always. Amen.