April 21, 2014


It’s often said that the New York City subway system is one of the best in the world. The trains are so efficient that many New Yorkers seldom drive cars. They walk, catch a cab, or ride the subway.

I recently spent a few days in New York and rode the subway several times. The first thing I noticed was the sheer number of people who use the trains. I was also impressed by the incredibly talented street musicians who perform, just to get a few dollars to survive.

But what struck me the most was that on more than one occasion, while the train was moving, a person would enter my car from an adjacent car and in a loud thundering voice make an announcement such as this:

“Ladies and gentlemen, my name is ______ ______. I’m a native New Yorker. I grew up in the Bronx and served in the military and was deployed in the _____war. This is not a holdup. I’m not a robber or a thief. I’ve fallen on hard times, and I’m seeking employment. If you can spare any change, it would be greatly appreciated.”

Inevitably, several people would open their pocketbooks and wallets to respond to the bold request. After receiving money, the person moved on to repeat the process in the next car.

I was stunned to see panhandlers take such a bold approach. But after further reflection, the thought occurred to me: Isn’t that how Christ wants to be approached? The writer of Hebrews put it this way: “Come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace” (Heb. 4:16, KJV).

Jesus wants us to approach Him with confidence as we bring our petitions in prayer. It’s His delight to grant our requests, even before we ask.