By: Dr. Denise Thagard, currently raising deputation to serve in the Central African Republic

“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

One of my favorite movies is Anna and the King. In it the king sits on the throne and his people approach him on their knees, bowing their foreheads to the ground so that they would be accepted by the king. The wrath of the king was to be feared if you approached in the improper manner. It is in the middle of one of these scenes that the king’s youngest child runs up to her dad, the king oblivious to any proper protocol. She climbs up on his lap to tell him her news.

In the same fashion, I picture God, who rules the whole universe, being happy to have us approach him fearlessly like the king’s little daughter.

Jesus did the same thing on earth. He invited the children to come to him even though His disciples wanted to push them away:

But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” – Luke 18:16

The Greek word in this verse for little children, paidia (pahee-dee’-on) is often translated as an infant…one who is totally dependent on another for everything from food to changing diapers. God wants us to have that same dependence on Him.

I have never had too much difficulty approaching God on my own, but I’ve struggled approaching God with confidence especially when I am in front of others. I want to be the silent one and not the bold one. When I was on the mission field in Ethiopia I went out with my Muslim coworker to look at a cow. She was so weak with trypanosomiasis that she had fallen and was unable to make it all the way to the clinic for treatment. I felt compelled to pray, but then I started making excuses. I was still young in my language learning, and so I feared messing up the words. I feared what would happen if I asked God to heal her and he didn’t…what kind of reputation would God have in front of the Muslim farmers then? I went away, praying in silence but not being completely obedient due to the fear within me.

Have you feared to ask God for something? What was it you feared? Why were you afraid?

But God asks us to approach him with confidence and to pray.

“Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.” – John 16:24

God wants us to ask! Don’t fear if you have the right words or if you are doing it properly. I’ve since learned to leave God’s reputation up to God. He’s big enough to handle it!

Years later, still in Ethiopia, I found myself bringing a mother in labor into a health post. She had been in labor for 24 hours. The examination showed that she needed a C-section, but the health post wasn’t equipped to do it there. It was late at night and the road to the hospital was not safe for me at night. This time I prayed with others for her, and then I had to leave and trust God to take care of her. He answered wonderfully, and I heard later how they found a taxi to take her to the hospital for surgery and that she and the baby were healthy!

What are times in your life that God has answered your prayer?

What are things in your life today that you want to approach God about?

I pray that God will give you the courage to approach God with confidence!

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