Summary: Look at the worlds view of prayer contrasted to Jesus’ view


Today’s reading is about prayer. There are all sort of prayers. Something I read reminded me of the song ’O Lord won’t you buy me a Mercedes Benz’. Today of all days I can echo that prayer. The particular Merc that I would like is white with go faster stripes down the sides. It usually has the number 23 on it somewhere. By the time I get it, it will be second hand, but I’m happy with a used car. Especially this one. Before I have the Lord buy it for me, ’cause there’s no way I could afford it myself, it’s current driver must drive it to victory this afternoon. I’m talking about Jensen Buttons Brawn GP, which is powered by Mercedes engines. That’s just my fantasy, of course.

The song does provide a way to contrast the worlds view of prayer with the view that Jesus is talking about in the Sermon on the mount. Let me read it to you:



(Janis Joplin / Michael McClure)

Janis Joplin - 1971

Elkie Brooks - 1995

O Lord, won’t you buy me a Mercedes-Benz?

My friends all have Porsches I must make amends

Worked hard all my lifetime, no help from my friends

O Lord, won’t you buy me a Mercedes-Benz?

O Lord, won’t you buy me a color TV?

Dialing for dollars is trying to find me

I’ll wait for delivery each day until 3

O Lord, won’t you buy me a color TV?

Oh Lord won’t you buy me a night on the town

I’m counting on you Lord, please don’t let me down.

Prove that you love me & buy the next round.

Oh Lord won’t you buy me a night on the town

From what you know of God, you may think it’s obvious that a prayer like that won’t be answered, so lets take a look through it as we try to understand what Jesus really meant when he said "Ask and it will be given". Well first you have to ask, and the song certainly manages that. There are times though when we don’t ask.

When James is writing on prayer he says "Jas 4:2 You want something but don’t get it. You kill i and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God."

Sometimes we don’t ask, because we can’t believe that God could possible care about our request. Perhaps we think it is too trivial. Sometimes we don’t ask, because we know what we want really isn’t the sort of thing that God gives, or isn’t the sort of thing that God wants.

In my case I have not asked for more healing for my shoulder because I just assumed that as it is healing up well that was all God wanted to do. After what we heard last week I now realise that may not be the case.

r1) Children don’t get bad things from their parents (almost always)

Sometimes we are not sure that we have any right to bother God. Ephesians 1:5 tells us that we are adopted children. God is like any good parent and wants to hear from his children. In the second part of today’s reading Jesus uses the parent – child analogy to show that even evil (earthly) parents give good things to their children. The examples here are clearly great contrasts – stones and bread – they may look the same, but they are very different. Fish (probably eels as they were classed as fish) and snakes. They may look the same, but they are also very different and the results from trying to catch and eat them could also be very different. You and I would not treat our children like that. We are in general careful to give our children things that are good for them, not things that will ultimately be bad for them, so we do our best to ensure they have a balanced healthy diet – not too much sugar, or too much fat, and a good mix of vegetables and fruit. We send them to school and encourage them and support them through University if we think it will be of benefit to them. We try to keep them away from excessive hours in front of the TV or computer. We long to see them grow up and become good parents in their own right. God is a better father than yours or mine – regardless of how good your father was God is better. God is a better mother than yours or mine – regardless of how good your mother was God is better.

Sometimes we have to give our children a negative answer. This can disappoint them and upset them. It is the same with God. If you are asking for something that is harmful to you He will say ’No’. God’s no is more final than any parent’s, but be sure that it is a ’No’ and not a ’not yet’.

Copy Sermon to Clipboard with PRO Download Sermon with PRO
Talk about it...

Nobody has commented yet. Be the first!

Join the discussion