What is Privilege?

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

A privilege is an advantage, allowance, benefit, birthright, entitlement, exemption, favor, freedom, immunity, liberty, or 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.

A simple example of experiencing privilege comes from when my oldest son (he was eight 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 he exclaimed, “Now this is flying.”

Who is Privileged?

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, 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 that feeling for them.

Prayer is a Privilege!

Many people don’t consider prayer when they think of privilege. Yet, it should not only feel like a privilege but more special than almost any other advantage we possess. Unfortunately, though, it all too often feels like a requirement and something we should do.

Prayer is a privilege because it:

  1. Gives 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. Removes 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. Is irrevocable. No one can take away the privilege of prayer. No one can stop you from praying. Paul and Silas in prison (Acts 16:25) illustrate this point well.
  4. Brings advantages. There are too many to name here, so let’s touch on two. Prayer brings healing (James 5:16) and unification (John 15:5Matthew 18:19). If that’s all I got out of prayer, that would be enough.
  5. Gives 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).

Exercise the privilege of prayer. Think about the advantages of prayer you enjoy regularly. If you feel like prayer is more of an obligation than a privilege, ask the Holy Spirit to help you see the truth.