Working at a church gives you a unique perspective on the Christian world as a whole. When you go from church member to staff member there’s an increase in the level of leadership you hold that’s not to be taken lightly.
An unspoken hierarchy exists within the church that goes a little something like this:
Pastor > Staff Member > Volunteer > Member > Attendee > the World.
Every day the church would get requests from people who wanted prayer. When a staff member would get on the phone or meet the person in the lobby they would occasionally be met with hesitation because they weren’t a pastor. What this person in need meant to say was “I want prayer from a pastor“. Even when our best, most highly trained, most patient and/or compassionate staff members would go to speak with them, if they didn’t have that “pastor” qualification they were occasionally met with reluctance.
This ranking system cracks me up!
Pastors don’t have special phones that get them access to God more quickly than everyone else. Your prayers are heard and responded to by God, yet there’s this fairly common idea floating around: “if they’ll pray for me then ______________.”
So, let’s take a moment to debunk that myth.
Who should pray? You! You should pray!
When Jesus died, the veil in the temple ripped in two from top to bottom (read about it in Matthew 27:51). This is significant because that veil was the thing that had separated the Holy of Holies (the place where God dwelt) from the rest of the temple. In this system you and I wouldn’t have been able to get to God other than by going through a priest. But God wasn’t content with this telephone-esque system. He decided to change things up!
“So, what do we make of this? What significance does this torn veil have for us today? Above all, the tearing of the veil at the moment of Jesus’ death dramatically symbolized that His sacrifice, the shedding of His own blood, was a sufficient atonement for sins. It signified that now the way into the Holy of Holies was open for all people, for all time, both Jew and Gentile.”
Read more about this here.
When Jesus died he tore up the old religious way of doing things and instituted a new way based on relationship. In the Old Testament you would’ve been required to go through a priest in order to get to God, but now we have direct access to him ourselves. What an incredible privilege! You and I can go to the Father today in prayer, we can approach his throne and sit with him. We can tell him about our days, our worries, our concerns, our joys, and our dreams, we can shout praises, sing songs, and dance around with him. Let’s exercise the right that Jesus died to procure for us.
“Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrews 4:16 (NIV)
If you don’t have a prayer journal, you can download one here