Appropriating God's Grace through Prayer
Chapter 12 of Transforming Grace is called, "Appropriating God's Grace." Bridges writes, "we are not simply passive recipients of God's grace. Just as the Israelites had to gather day-by-day the manna God graciously provided, so we must appropriate day-by-day the grace that is always sufficient for our need." (p.151) Bridges contends that there are four principal ways that we do this: prayer, the Word, submission to His providential workings in our lives, and the ministry of others.
Discussing prayer as a means of appropriating the grace of God, Bridges focuses primarily on Hebrews 4:15-16:
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weakness, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are--yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.It is a throne of grace. Not a throne of power without love, not a throne of might divorced from sympathy, but the throne of one who submitted Himself voluntarily to the world, bearing in His own flesh every burden, every curse, every humiliation that we can ever experience or imagine, so that He might one day rule in grace from this very throne we speak of now. When we go to him for help, it is not only an implicit confession of our own helplessness, but a recognition of the sufficiency of His strength and goodness. Without such a confession, we will simply come to God with our own answers, and badger him to implement them for us. But confessing our utter helplessness, we come to God empty, in poverty of Spirit, and He fills our cup with what He alone can give.
But remember this: we do not come before the throne of grace as beggars, merely hoping against hope that the Lord might deign to cast us a few pennies, but as children to a loving Father, knowing that He is willing, able, and eager to bless us with his enabling grace.