But the centurion said, “Lord, I am not worthy for You to come under my roof, but just say the word, and my servant will be healed.”
How do I approach God in my prayer life? I have requests and I have things that need to be set right in me and things for which I am grateful and things that make me want to shout. These are all good and acceptable and valid things about which to pray. It is not the what that I feel the need to focus on this morning, but the how.
The Bible tells me to approach the throne of grace with boldness. It would be a simple matter to confuse boldness with brazenness.
To be bold is to come with confidence in Who I am approaching and where I stand in relation to Him. This centurion came boldly. He knew Who Jesus was. He knew what Jesus could do. He also knew precisely who he was and what he could do. For all of his ability and authority and power, he could not make his servant well. But Jesus could. The centurion understood the nature of power and authority, but he also knew that he had no right to command Jesus to do anything. He came anyway. He knew that he was not a Jew and that Jesus was running around doing things for Jewish folks. He came anyway. He came with boldness; came knowing that Jesus could do what he wanted done. He also knew that he did not deserve it; had done nothing to earn it. He came in hope. He came knowing that Jesus could do this thing. Is this how I approach the throne of grace? In hope and confidence that God can accomplish what concerns me and in the full knowledge that I do not deserve to be admitted to the presence of God?
The centurion could have been brazen. He could have come and demanded that Jesus heal his servant. He was the face of Roman authority and had military power to back him. He had the ability to coerce nearly anyone to do nearly anything. He could have come that way. He had the backing of the Roman government and was authorized to force non-citizens to do all sorts of things. He could have come that way. I, too, can get caught up in what I think are my deserts. I can think that God owes me something because I am whatever good thing I flatter myself that I am. I am not that thing. I am not patient. I am not kind. I have not endured as long as I ought to under temptation or trial. I am not worthy and I am not in a position to make demands.
In the last 24 hours, I have heard 2 separate sermons on prayer. One emphasized coming in relationship; in love. The other emphasized coming in boldness. I submit that I cannot be bold until I am confident in the relationship. Until that time, I come brazenly. I come with bravado. When I an secure and confident in the relationship between God and me, then I come boldly; confidently; knowing that God will do the things I ask because the things I ask are in accord with what He wants to do anyway.
Relationship precedes and founds boldness. Jesus goes on to marvel at this centurion’s faith and it was faith that made Abraham righteous and founded his relationship with God and allowed him boldness. This centurion was bold because he had come to faith and the burgeoning relationship that man had with God knew that God was willing to heal his servant. Let me tend to my relationship with God and a bold approach to His throne will follow.