“O all-embracing Mercy,
O ever-open Door,
What should we do without Thee
When heart and eye run o’er?
When all things seem against us,
To drive us to despair,
We know one gate is open,
One ear will hear our prayer.”
“Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:25).
There is a commercial that has made the rounds over the last months on both local TV and radio. It begins with a computer voice answering a phone call, and continues with the caller giving the reason for his call, which is usually a request for some kind of help. The computer then “talks” to another computer, wondering what to do, because it is completely unable to give the required help. The caller is then forwarded “for an answer” to a pay phone somewhere that no one ever answers, or he is left with the dial-up modem noise. The commercial is then resolved by the sponsor touting itself as the place to which you can successfully go to get actual help.
The ad resonates with us because it presents a situation that is commonplace. Whether it is in the business world or from friend to friend, human beings are very limited when it comes to “being there” for one another. We may have our own plates full, and—while we have the best of intentions to listen to our friends’ needs—our attention is divided. Even when we are able to give our undivided attention, our ability to actually help may also be severely restricted—perhaps by our age, our location, or our finances.
We get so accustomed to this being “the way it is” that we might forget that this is not the case when we come in prayer to our heavenly Father through Jesus Christ. There is nothing that the Lord our God can’t do! Whether it is the question of the virgin Mary wondering how it can be that she can give birth to a Son (Luke 1:34), or the disciples wondering how it is possible for anyone to be saved (Mark 10:26), the answer is the same: “The things which are impossible with men are possible with God” (Luke 18:27).
So it is that the Apostle Peter urges us to “. . . [cast] all your cares upon Him, for He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7). We can “. . . commit [our] way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass” (Psalm 37:5).
We know that those things which are earthly in nature will be taken care of in His good time and according to His good and gracious will. Those things about which we pray that are spiritual and eternal in nature are ours without qualification, although not necessarily immediately so. As the writer to the Hebrews reminds us, the One who takes those requests to His Father “always lives”—He is “able to save [us] to the uttermost” (Hebrews 7:25).
No limits! Do you have a sin for which you find yourself needing forgiveness on a regular basis? Has your guilty conscience been plaguing you? Jesus is there to make intercession for you—always! There are no office hours during which you have to call. You never have to worry about God being on vacation or asleep or so busy that He cannot get back to you (see Elijah mocking the prophets of Baal in 1 Kings 18:27).
So, with God being able to save to the uttermost, and with Jesus always living to make intercession for us, let’s do as the Apostle Paul encourages in 1 Thessalonians 5:17: “Pray without ceasing!”
Paul Krause is pastor of Faith Lutheran Church in Markesan, Wisconsin.