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Summary: Jesus encourages us to pray regularly and faithfully. Why? How?

8.18.19 Luke 11:6-13

“Suppose one of you has a friend, and you go to him at midnight and tell him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread, 6 because a friend of mine who is on a journey has come to me, and I do not have anything to set before him.’ 7 And the one inside replies, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children and I are in bed. I can’t get up and give it to you.’ 8 I tell you, even if he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his bold persistence, he will get up and give him as much as he needs. 9 “I tell you, keep asking, and it will be given to you. Keep seeking, and you will find. Keep knocking, and it will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives. The one who seeks finds. And to the one who knocks, it will be opened. 11 “What father among you, if your son asks for bread, would give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, would give him a snake instead of a fish? 12 Or if he asks for an egg, would give him a scorpion? 13 If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?”

I was wasting my time on Twitter a few weeks ago, and I read a tweet where a man was talking about a struggle he was going through. He then said, “Just send good thoughts. I don’t want any prayers, they don’t work.” Now, some people were defending prayer against what he said. But I was also surprised at what some others said. “Good thoughts are the same as prayers.” No. They’re not. Prayer is when you speak to God Almighty, the Creator of the heavens and the earth, the One who is infinite and hears everything: and Who has the power to answer what you request and the means through which to do it. It’s not just thinking about something with your brain. The power of prayer is in the connection it has with the Almighty God who can do what we need. Without God to answer that prayer, it would be useless: no more powerful than a good thought.

Ask, Seek, and Knock

Remember who you’re asking

But today’s text doesn’t talk about the POWER of God. It talks about the NATURE of God in comparison with earthly fathers, how He wants to give us good gifts. Jesus contrasts the God the Father in heaven with an earthly father. And it’s always interesting how He throws these terms around without us sometimes giving much thought to it. It’s almost in passing as he says, If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?” Did you catch that little rider on that - you then, though you are EVIL. Whoa! There’s a huge statement on humanity, that slaps us all in the face. You’re all evil. So am I. I’m born with this sinfulness within that Jesus doesn’t call “good.” He doesn’t mask it with good intentions. He calls it evil.

This wickedness blinds us to other people’s needs in many ways. We tend to look only to what we need, and not what others need. We think of ourselves much more highly than we ought. We miss out on opportunities to help and reach out to people because of this selfish evil within. It’s sad to see how this wickedness is causing more and more child abuse and neglect in our society than ever before. Children are being withheld from the basic necessities and protections they used to get from their parents and grandparents.

But even though we are sinfully EVIL by nature, most parents by nature still want to give good things to their children. Most won’t maliciously give their children snakes and scorpions to hurt them. Thank God for that! This desire is given us by God and still works through the evil. It hasn’t been completely lost in the Fall. But Jesus says that if we can do this good while still having evil within, then just imagine what a HOLY and PERFECT GOD will give you! He knows what you need more than your own parents do. He has better gifts than bread and fish, and He has the power and ability and the WILL to help.

So prayer starts with a proper vision of WHO GOD IS! Just recently I saw another video online of a young teenage girl putting her dog in the dryer for a couple spins. She laughed and thought it was funny. It was a mean thing to do to a dog who trusted her and thought she loved her. That’s how some envision God to be. But Jesus emphasizes that God is a giver of BETTER gifts than any human father could think of! Do you think of God in this way? If you don’t, then you won’t want to pray. You won’t take the time to pray. You will assume that it is worthless and a waste of time because He doesn’t really care at all. But if you look at the Bible and read about all the GOOD things God has done for His people, you will be more encouraged to pray and want to pray to Him.

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