"So then, since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe. This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most." Hebrews 4:14-16
So, what does that mean for us? How do we go about dialing God's phone number when we want to communicate with Him? In his book "Why we Pray" by William Philip and Alistair Begg, he writes:
"The story is told that one day President John F. Kennedy was in the Oval Office in a meeting with VIPs and leaders. Strict instructions had been given to White House staff and security that under no circumstances was anybody to come in and disturb this meeting. But at a crucial point in the tense talks and negotiations, suddenly the door flew open. Everybody looked startled; who would dare to defy the presidential decree? In marched a little boy. He walked straight up to the president, jumped up onto his knee, and cuddled in the lap of the most powerful man on earth. It was John F. Kennedy Jr., the son of the president. What no one else could have done, he was able to do without a moment’s hesitation. He had privileged access, and no one could stop him from coming to see his father.
“Well, that’s all very interesting,” you might be saying to yourself, “but I can’t quite understand what all this has got to do with me. What has all this theological talk about Jesus got to do with my prayer life? Tell me something practical.”
In fact, the truth is that all practical help in the Christian life stems from theology, which literally means “words about God,” because all useful learning about ourselves stems from learning about God. You may be thinking, I can’t see the relevance to my life of Jesus’s being the true Son of God with unlimited access to the Father. I’m not Jesus! I can’t pray as Jesus can. How does that help me? Where do I fit into this?
Well, the answer that all this talk about Jesus (this theology) gives is that it’s very relevant. The truth is, you can pray just like Jesus. You have the very same access to the Father that he has—if, that is, you are a Christian believer.
Through the gospel we also are made sons of God through Jesus Christ, which is the second vital thing we need to grasp. It’s fundamental to all our praying. Prayer is the privilege that belongs only to God’s beloved and holy Son. It is an address of intimacy; it is access to the God whose throne really does rule the whole world (not the president of the United States). Ours is a far greater access than that of the son of the president. Equally, if prayer is the privileged access of intimate relationship, then unless there is a real relationship of a son with a father, prayer just can’t happen. Unless the relationship is real, prayer is just pretend."
That is exactly what the gospel tells us God has done to those who have become united to Jesus through his great redemption. This is the extraordinary truth the apostle Paul teaches:
In the same way we also, when we were children, were enslaved to the elementary principles of the world. But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God. (Gal. 4:3–7)
Adoption is the legal transfer of sonship from one father to another. Once, says the apostle, we were children in slavery to the world, or, as he puts it even more graphically in Ephesians 2:2, “sons of disobedience,” following the prince of the power of the air, that is, the Devil. Strong language, isn’t it? But it is the language Jesus uses; those who do not belong to him are sons of their father the Devil (John 8:44). Once you were that, says Paul, but now you have received “adoption as sons.” Whose sons? God’s sons. God sent his Son, Jesus, that we might receive all the status of Jesus and therefore all the privileges that are his and, above all, that marvelous privilege of intimate access to our heavenly Father in real prayer. Look at Galatians 4:6: “And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!’”—the Spirit that guarantees us access, not to the office of the president, but to the office of the creator and ruler and judge of the whole universe.
We are all sons of God through faith (Gal. 3:26)—not just children but sons and full heirs. (Gender is not at issue here, but status; hence the insistence that we are sons, not just children. The point is that we all share in the full inheritance of the firstborn, Jesus himself. All who are baptized into Christ have “put on Christ” (v. 27). They have assumed Christ’s personal clothing, that is, his status of sonship. It doesn’t matter whether we’re male or female; we are united to Jesus, the Son of God, which means everything that is his by right of birth is now ours by right of adoption. That’s why we pray. In Jesus Christ we are all sons of God; we have received adoption, and now we all share the extraordinary, privileged, legal status before God the Father of Jesus himself, his only Son.
Now, this is of vital importance to grasp. Your prayers and mine will not be heard by God because of our sincerity but because of our status. We are sons of God, which means that God cannot not hear us. We are his sons. That’s gospel truth. He can’t not hear your prayers if you are in Christ. If we don’t feel that at times, if it doesn’t feel like it’s true, it’s simply because we are disbelieving the gospel that teaches it plainly to us. We are disbelieving our status as justified before God. We are disbelieving the reality of the legal status of adoption that is ours through faith in Jesus Christ. It really is ours; it has changed everything.
Philip, W., & Begg, A. (2015). Why we pray. Crossway.