Jesus was a man of prayer. He would often withdraw from the crowds to pray (Luke 5:16; Mark 1:35). On one occasion, perhaps because Jesus’ prayer life was so fervent (Hebrews 5:7) and unlike that of other Jewish leaders that they had observed, his disciples asked him to teach them how to pray (Luke 11:1).
Part of that teaching was:
And I tell you, ask and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him! (Luke 11:9-13).
The other day, my granddaughter Anaya was at our place and she asked if she could have something to eat. My immediate inclination was to respond to her request generously. Chocolate easter eggs came to mind, but knowing her mother’s will, I instead offered her some fruit which she happily received.
But she wouldn’t have received it if she had not asked and I would not have had the opportunity to show kindness and love to a child I hold dear if she had not sought me out and made a request.
It seems to me that Jesus’ teaching here is meant to stir up God’s children to more regular patterns of speaking to their heavenly Father about the everyday stuff of life. Eggs and fish and the like. As well as those things that you need to find out about (seek help with) and the doors you run up against which need to be opened.
And unlike our grandfathers, parents and friends who have an evil sinful nature (as nice as they may be), God is our sinless, loving, gracious Father who will give to us much better than we ask. Like giving to us His very presence and power in the Holy Spirit. What an investment our prayers become with that kind of return.
So let me ask you how’s your prayer life? Has it become a bit routine? Are you struggling to find the time? Are you uncertain what to pray? How about right now ask Jesus, like his first disciples did, to teach you how to pray. Think of how you could set aside regular time for prayer as well as trying to make prayer a spontaneous part of your day. If you’re uncertain what to pray, keep it simple. Pray like a child to her father. As you become more confident in prayer reflect on the prayers of Scripture to see what the Holy Spirit gave us as illustrations of how the family of God prays. And finally, let me encourage you to pray with others in our church for the health and mission of HBC. Repeatedly in the history of the church, united, corporate prayer has sparked movements of Gospel advance and societal change (see Acts 4:23-31 for a powerful example). A good start might be to join us on the last Sunday of each month for our 5:00 pm prayer meeting!
For the glory of God,