While the majority of countries in the world elect leaders by vote, there are 15 countries in the world that still do not elect leaders by voting. In some countries that do elect by vote, many have compulsory voting and fine people who fail to vote. In the United States, voting is optional, a privilege we can choose to exercise or not.

Voting provides just one example of privilege that some people have and others do not.

What do you think of when you hear the word privilege?

A privilege could be considered an advantage, allowance, benefit, birthright, entitlement, exemption, favor, freedom, immunity, liberty & opportunity. It gives someone advantage over others and provides benefit to some or one that others don’t get. Privilege can also exempt someone from certain obligations and give them special access.

My favorite example of experiencing privilege comes from when my oldest son (about 8 at the time) and I were traveling with my husband who had earned elite flying status because of how much he had flown the previous year. My husband’s privileged status gave us first class seating along with its accompanying advantages. Our son, who was an experienced business class flyer, expressed the feeling of privilege when right after he sat in his first-class seat exclaimed, “Now this is flying.”

Who gets privileges?

What is often considered privilege comes for many reasons. The reasons that quickly come to mind when we think of privilege in our culture include having money, social status, the right heritage and even, in some cultures, the right gender. We might even think of famous actors, singers and authors as having privilege, though their loss of privacy might negate the feeling of privilege to a great extent.

Prayer is a Privilege!

Our discussion thus far has revolved around what our culture considers privilege. But most people don’t consider prayer when they think of privilege. Yet, prayer should not only feel like a privilege, it should feel more special than almost any other advantage we posses. Unfortunately, though, it all too often feels like a requirement and something we “should” do. Prayer sometimes feels like an obligation. Why do you think that is?

How is prayer a privilege?

Let’s take the reasons our culture considers something to be a privilege or not and look at why prayer trumps all other privileges.

  1. Complete Access. Jesus provided complete (Hebrews 4:14-16) and constant (Ephesians 6:18) access for us to God the Father. No longer do we have to meet the requirements of the Old Testament system of sacrifice. Jesus provided a better – a complete – way!
  2. No Limits. The way to God comes through Jesus. Once we commit our lives to Jesus, we have access without limits (Hebrews 9:6-8).
  3. Irrevocable. No one can take away the privilege of prayer. No one can stop you from praying. Paul & Silas in prison (Acts 16:25) illustrate this point about prayer well.
  4. Advantages. There are too many to name here, so let’s touch on two. Prayer brings healing (James 5:16) and unification (John 15:5 & Matthew 18:19). If that’s all I got out of prayer, that would be tremendous.
  5. Exemptions. Prayer also helps prevent many things from happening in our lives. Again, there are many, but let’s name three. Prayer can keep us from giving up (Luke 18:1-7), from anxiety (Philippians 4:6-7) and from guilt (1 John 1:9).

What will you do today to exercise the privilege of prayer? What advantages of prayer do you enjoy regularly?