When teaching his disciples how to pray, Jesus began by saying this:
After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
Notice that Jesus didn’t begin His prayer with a plea to be heard. He did not beg for God’s attention. He did not cry out to be received. He prayed with a confident knowing. Assured of His identity, Jesus prayed with a holy boldness.
The key to praying with boldness is knowing that God is your Father and that you are His child. We find our confidence when we can sincerely pray, “Our Father.”
When the believer is assured of his divine identity, he can pray unhindered by doubt and shame. Doubt and shame are the great destroyers of your prayer life. Doubt tells you that God can’t hear you; shame tells you that God won’t hear you.
And both doubt and shame can be overcome by knowing one simple yet powerful truth. That Truth is found in the book of Hebrews.
For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
Because of what Christ accomplished on the cross, because we have a High Priest representing us before the Father, we can approach the throne of God with confidence and boldness.
The disciple of Christ does not doubt God’s existence, but the disciple of Christ does, at times, doubt God’s ability to perform His Word. And it’s not that we imagine that God is powerless. Instead, we imagine that we ourselves are unable to receive. That’s the great hindrance of doubt. In the same way, shame causes us to question whether or not God will hear our prayers.
Shame and doubt go hand-in-hand. Shame and doubt energize one another, and they are rooted in the same lies.
“Your past isn’t forgiven.”
“God is unwilling to hear you.”
“You’ve made too many mistakes.”
“It’s too late for you.”
Shame and doubt can hinder your prayer life, yes. But there is a holy boldness within - a boldness that has the power to destroy the weakening bondages of shame and doubt.
When you begin to pray, start from the place of identity. Maintain a divine audacity. Know to Whom you belong. Know that you are accepted and forgiven. Cry out, “My Father!” Let the Holy Spirit persuade you. Let Him convince you that you belong to God.
The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, "Abba, Father."
Trust the voice of the Holy Spirit. Ignore the voices of doubt and shame. When you pray with boldness, you’re not afraid to ask of God. When you pray while free from shame, your confidence in the Lord is renewed.
Imagine how much time you could save while praying if, instead of begging God to hear you, you simply believed that He already did. Imagine how boldly you could approach the throne if you knew the sin that causes you shame was wiped from God’s records. You’re already His. You belong to Him. Remember: we don’t pray to connect with God; we pray from connection with God. Go boldly before God.