Therefore let us approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us at the proper time. —Hebrews 4:16
This wonderful verse gives us the who, what, where, why, and when of prayer.
Who? Let us… The exhortation of Hebrews 4:16 has your name on it. The context reminds us that Jesus, our great high priest, has gone through the heavens before us, sympathizing with our weaknesses. He opens the door into the throne room of the universe for us.
What? Prayer is approaching God. Therefore let us approach… It is drawing near. James 4:8 tells us to draw near to God, and Deuteronomy 4:7 tells us how by asking who else has a god as near to them “as the Lord our God is to us, whenever we call to Him?” The chief purpose of prayer is recognizing the nearness of our King.
Where? Let us approach the throne of grace. It is a throne, a majestic and glorious seat of power. It’s a throne of grace, not of judgment or condemnation. Through Christ we approach the throne of One who is our Friend, who desires fellowship with us, who wants to bless us from the endless resources of His grace.
Why? So we may receive mercy and find grace to help us. Mercy is God’s attitude of forgiveness in not giving us what we do deserve. Grace is His attitude of blessing and benevolence in giving us what we do not deserve.
When? At the proper time. That phrase literally means at the opportune or needed time, just when we need it.
“I am never tired of pointing out that the Greek phrase translated, ‘In the time of need,’ is a colloquialism, of which ‘the nick of time’ is the exact equivalent: That we may have grace to help in the ‘nick of time.’ Grace just when and where I need it. You are attacked by temptation, and, at the moment of assault, you look to Him, and the grace is there to help in the nick of time. No postponement of your petition until the evening hour of prayer; but there… in the city street, with the flaming temptation in front of you, turn to Christ with a cry for help, and the grace will be there in the nick of time.” —G. Campbell Morgan
One day I was in trouble and oppressed about many things. It was one of those days when everything seems to go wrong. I was trying to get my Quiet time but was constantly interrupted. Suddenly these words came—I could hardly believe they were in the Bible, they seemed so new to my needy heart—“Grace to help in time of need.” I found them and read them and marked them with joy, and in that moment, the moment of their coming, I was renewed in strength. —Amy Carmichael
100 Bible Verses Everyone Should Know by Heart.