Summary: Helping believers to understand that the foremost purpose of prayer is to draw the pray"er" closer to God.
The Purpose of Prayer
Intro: Since we understand that prayer is not intended to "change God’s mind", why does prayer exist? The answer is, first of all, to draw the one praying closer to God, among other things. See Phil. 4:6-7 (esp. Vs. 7)
1. Access (19)
We achieve access into God’s presence as a result of the blood of Christ.
Hebrews 9:11-12, 11When Christ came as high priest of the good things that are already here,[a] he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not manmade, that is to say, not a part of this creation. 12He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption.
2. Advocacy (20-21)
Jesus establishes Himself as our means to God’s ear. Jesus serves as our advocate.
a. Removed the Veil
When the High Priest made sacrifice on the Day of Atonement, the people waited outside for him to return to them. In Jesus’ case, when He entered the “heavenly temple” He did not return because He had removed the veil and allowed us to follow Him into the Holy of Holies.
b. Became High Priest
By assuming a position as our High Priest, He has assumed the right to make sacrifice on our behalf. Because He is the perfect High Priest we are able to receive absolute satisfaction for our sins.
3. Assurance (22)
The purpose of prayer is, most of all, to develop the believer. We understand why, more accurately, after reading this verse.
a. God’s Presence
God promises us that when we draw near to Him, He will draw near to us.
James 4:8, 8Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you doubleminded.
b. Our Commitment
We must come to God without ulterior motives or impure hearts in order to gain an audience.
Matthew 15:8, These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.
c. Our Confidence
We develop confidence that gives us endurance to make it through difficult times.
d. Our Holiness
God’s great concern is for our salvation and our sanctification. By using imagery that is reminiscent of the sprinkling of blood and the cleansing of the priests in the Old Testaments we are reminded that prayer helps sanctify us.
4. Affirmation (23)
Finally we are assured that prayer can result in the affirmation of our salvation. In other words, prayer can help us understand eternal security.
a. Human Element
First we are reminded about the human element to eternal security. We must hold fast! Holding fast is a sign of genuine faith. Those who “fall away” never had genuine faith in the first place.
b. Divine Element
Finally we are shown the divine element which helps us to understand why we can trust in God’s salvation, mainly because God is the one who promises it.
Hebrews 11:11, 11By faith Abraham, even though he was past age–and Sarah herself was barren–was enabled to become a father because he[a]considered him faithful who had made the promise.