A turning point in my life came when it became clear that I was disobeying God by failing to ask for necessary provision. I had been taught not to ask, but to get up and get whatever was needed. Asking was foreign to my upbringing, even if the need was sharp. “If you pray for potatoes, put your hand to the plow!” went the saying.
While there was much to commend this saying against an attitude of laziness, there was little to commend it in terms of its focus on faith. This was just another way to say, “God helps those who help themselves,” that we were the masters of our own destiny, that God didn’t really intervene in human life. Beyond that, it was a subtle way of indicating that He didn’t care. Yet notice the focus of Jesus’ teaching on prayer and human need from Luke 11: “Then Jesus said to them, ‘Suppose you have a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have nothing to set before him.’ And suppose the one inside answers, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is already locked and my children and I are in bed.
I can’t get up and give you anything.’ I tell you, even though he will not get up and give you the bread because of friendship, yet because of your shameless audacity he will surely give you as much as you need.’”
“So I say to you: ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; those who seek find; and to those who knock, the door will be opened.”
“Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him” (Luke 11:5-13)!
It is clear from this text that we must ask! In fact, the asking is to be persistent and consistent. This illustration is not instructing us to be pesky to the point of being a nuisance—filled with “shameless audacity,” according to this rendering. No! Once again, this is not a direct correlation, but a contrast! God does not need to be “bugged” in order for us to get his attention and wear him down enough for him to deign to take pity on our awful situation. Rather, the point of Jesus’ story here was that if legitimate human need could be met by harassing a sleeping neighbor in the dead of the night, then surely God has an ear to our persistent cry for help in time of need. A pestered human being who thinks you are a first-class pain can help you; surely God can do a whole lot better than this!
Merciful Father, You are so patient with me! My prayers lack trust and faith, and I often feel that my requests are so small and insignificant. You want me to ask for what I truly need and yet I can’t even ask my friends to pray for small things on my behalf. Help me to see that my daily bread is important to You and that You care for me so much more than even my earthly parents. Give me a heart of boldness so that I am able to come before You with confidence, trusting in Your ability to hear and answer!
–Adapted from Power Praying (Hearing Jesus’ Spirit by Praying Jesus’ Prayer) by David Chotka. This book is available at prayershop.org. Use the code CONPSP3 at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount.
Praise God for being the Creator and Lord of the Sabbath. Give thanks for a weekly “day of rest and gladness.” Confess any lack of commitment to the holiness of the Christian Sabbath (Ex. 20:8-11). Commit yourself to seeking Jesus’ honor in all your Sabbath activities. Ask God to make it a day of true joy and light for you and your loved ones.
Ask God to bring about the day when his people in every nation will “live in peaceful dwelling places . . . in undisturbed places of rest” (Isa. 32:18).
“Prayer is the language of a man burdened with a sense of need.” —E. M. Bounds
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