For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit. (Ephesians 2:18)
These words contain the secret to true prayer. In this statement the apostle reaches the grand climax of his mighty argument: that Christians are people who realize that the whole purpose of Christ’s work is to bring us to the Father by the Holy Spirit’s power. Here, the three Persons in the holy Trinity are described as interested in us and engaged together in our salvation. The whole goal of our salvation is to bring us into the presence of God. Our access to God is something that we have; it is access to the Father; and God becomes to us our Father because of the work Christ has done on the Cross.
The Lord Jesus Christ admits us into the presence of the Father because He is our great sin-bearer. We now “have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus” who opens to us a new and living way to the Father. This means that we can draw near to Him with a sincere heart and full assurance that He will hear us and respond to our prayers. Yet without the Holy Spirit making our prayer real, sincere, and alive the whole exercise will end up being empty and tiresome. Our prayer life begins by prompting from the Spirit, continues by strength from the Spirit, and is made real to us by the Spirit.
Let us put it all in one question: Do we enjoy prayer? If not, it is because we have forgotten that Christ has died and risen again to “bring you to God.” (I Peter 3:18) And that we are not trusting in the operation of the Holy Spirit to work in us the spirit of sonship so that “by him we cry ‘Abba, Father.’” (Romans 8:15) May we ask God to give us a greater understanding of what Christ has done, and a greater dependence on the Holy Spirit, in order that we might know and feel the presence of the Lord and enjoy the peace that comes from it.