Friday, June 27, 2008

A Prayer Promise

Teach us to Pray: Part 5

Jesus taught His disciples to pray. One thing that He wanted them to know is that prayer is addressed to our Father in Heaven. The image of God as Father reminds us that God cares about our lives. God will give us what we need. That is the point Jesus makes in this last section of His teaching on prayer.

Jesus concludes His teaching with a PRAYER PROMISE

9 So I say to you: Keep asking, and it will be given you. Keep searching, and you will find. Keep knocking, and the door will be opened for you. 10 For everyone who keeps asking will receive, and the person who keeps searching will find, and the person who keeps knocking will have the door opened.

11 “What father among you, if his son asks for bread, would give him a stone, or if he asks for a fish, would give him a snake instead of the fish? 12 Or if he asks for an egg, would he give him a scorpion? 13 So if you who are evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who keep asking him!”
(Luke 11:9-13; ISV)

When we approach God (ask, seek, and knock) He will give us the good gifts that we need. But we cannot be certain receive these gifts if we do not take the initiative and go to God.

Again Jesus offers a contrast to God to illustrate His point. Parents do their best, even though they are sinful and mess up, to give their children what they need for life. Even more than that parents love to give good gifts to their children, gifts that their children don’t need, but will brighten their lives. So if we, people who are entangled with sin, can give good gifts, who much more will God, our Heavenly Father, give us good gifts.

There is an aspect of faith that we need to consider here. Because God’s perspective is perfect on our perspective is limited then God knows what is best, when we can only guess what is best. Will we believe God gives good gifts even when the “egg” we asked for seems to be a “scorpion”? How will we react when God doesn’t heal us and give us the life we have always wanted? Will we still think God is good even though we get fired and the collection agency is threatening to take away our car and no money or job seems to be coming our way?

I know that there are times in my life when it seemed that God gave me a “scorpion” and it was only as I looked back on my life did I realize that it was really an “egg.” The example that sticks out in my mind deals with when I left my youth ministry in Stronghurst and all the circumstances which surrounded that situation. It was painful and I prayed to God to change things, to allow me to stay with the students I had worked with for five years or at the very least to give me another ministry so I could continue my work. But nothing. It was difficult and it was painful, but I wouldn’t trade that experience for the world. Why? Because it has brought me to where I am today. It was a catalyst of change in my life. I wanted God to change my circumstances, but God wanted to change my character.

We often go to God so He can give us the life we have always wanted, but God wants to give us the life He planned for us. We want God to fulfill our dreams, but God wants to mold our character. We want God to make us happy, but God wants to make us holy. The reason why God’s gifts don’t always appear to be good at the time is because we have a different perspective.

Prayer reveals whether or not we trust God to provide for us what we need for life. The apostle Peter wrote: His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence (2 Peter 1:2-3; ESV). The promise of God’s Word is that He will give us everything we need for living and for serving Him. Prayer reveals whether or not we really believe God will provide the good things that we need.

  • Point to Ponder: God will give us what we need.
  • Passage to Remember: Luke 11:9-13
  • Question to Consider: Why is it hard to trust God to provide for us?

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