Summary: How do you ask God for things?
As you know, this Lord’s Prayer is all part of what we know as the Sermon on the Mount. Just a few verses from where we are here… Jesus says something else about prayer. In chapter 7:7-11, He says, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.” Then He gives us an illustration. He says, “Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?” If we, even though we’re fallen creatures… if we know how to give our kids good things when they ask… how much more so Jesus gives good things when we ask Him. Well, I don’t know how things work in your house. But I know how they work in mine. In my house, HOW you ask for something has a lot to do with whether you’re going to get it or not. And there are all kinds of things that factor into it. The mood of the one being asked has a lot to do with it. When Miranda is going through the bills is not the right time for me to tell her about this great set of theology books that are on sale. When I’m staring at a blank computer screen, trying to get up a sermon isn’t the right time for the kids to ask me for something. Thank God that He isn’t moody. Thank God that He isn’t too busy or distracted to hear our requests. Thank God that He doesn’t give us stones when we ask for bread or serpents when we really need fish. But in my house, not only does the mood of the one being asked have a lot to do with it… the attitude of the one who’s doing the asking does too. If I go in to Miranda while she’s doing the bills and tell her about this great set of books on sale… and she looks at me with that look that says, “gas and lights and groceries and kids—and now you want more books?” If she looks at me like that and I put my foot down and give her the whole, “man of the house” speech… how do you think that’s going to go over? I might get the books, but that’s about it. If I do that, my attitude in asking has really messed up our relationship. By the same token, if my kids come to me with the whole, “But Dad… all the other kids get to do it…” What is that going to do to me? You can ask them… they’ll tell you! If that is their attitude in asking, there is no way they’re going to get what they’re asking for. And then they’re mad and I’m mad. They’re pouting and I’m fuming. Our relationship is damaged. All because they didn’t consider HOW they were asking for something. As we’ve gone through this lesson that Jesus is teaching us on how to pray… this is the first time when we get to ask for something. This is our fourth week of looking at this prayer and this is the first time. And now that Jesus finally gets to the part where we get to ask for something, He gives us verse 11. “Give us this day our daily bread.” Now, we’ve all probably said that line many times. But that line tells us HOW we’re supposed to ask God for things. It tells us what our attitude is supposed to be when we approach the creator of the universe with a request. So, how do you ask God for things? This short verse—7 words in the KJV, 8 in the original… this short verse gives us four attitude checks when asking for things in prayer. Your first attitude check is to seek the supplier of your needs.
Are you ready for a little grammar lesson? In the original, the word “give” is a second person singular verb. Do you know what that means? It means that there is an understood “You” before it. And what a “You” it is. Lord, You give. If you remember who it really is you’re talking to, it will affect your attitude. It will affect the way you ask for things. That’s why Jesus has verse 9 and verse 10 before verse 11. That’s why He tells us to greet the Lord in prayer the right way in verse 9. Remember that He has a fatherly relationship with you. He longs to relate to you the way a perfect daddy relates to His children. But at the same time, He is your Father in heaven. He is no ordinary father. He is a holy and pure and perfect God and you aren’t. You can only come to Him because of His grace and mercy and love. And because of that, His name is to be hallowed. And not only does Jesus tell us to greet the Lord in prayer the right way in verse 9… in verse 10, He tells us to recognize and understand that He is the One who is in charge of everything. He is the One who rules and reigns over you personally, over this world, and over eternity. That is the “you” that you are talking to. That is the “you” that you are asking things from. That is the “you” that you are saying, “You give me.” That is the “you” Who is your supply—Who is the supplier of your needs. The God of all heaven… The God of all the universe… the God whose name is hallowed above all other names… the God who rules over His creation… the God who reigns over His eternal kingdom… That God is the One who bends His ear to hear your requests. That’s the God who Scripture pictures as leaning over to hear you call out to Him to meet your needs. Isn’t that a whole lot more impressive than some sort of heavenly Santa Claus? Isn’t that a whole lot more deserving of worship than a heavenly genie in a lamp? But all too often, those are the images we’ve reduced God to. In this age of prosperity gospel and name-it-claim-it religion, there are those that will tell you that God is sitting back waiting to make you rich. They will tell you that God is there only to meet your needs and prosper you. He’s only there to give you stuff and fill all your selfish desires. What a small god they’re peddling. What a pitiful god they’re telling us to pray to. That’s certainly not the God that Jesus told us to pray to. When you say, “God, You give me…” who is in the forefront of your mind? Is it you and your selfish desires? If it is, then you must be praying to the false gods of the prosperity gospel on TV. But when you push aside your selfish wants and desires and say, “Lord, give me…” that’s when you’re praying to the God of the universe. That’s when you’re praying to the God of all creation. That’s when you’re praying to the one who has promised to supply all of your needs according to His riches in glory. When you do that, you’ve made your first attitude check. Your first attitude check is to seek the supplier of your needs. Your second attitude check is to understand the urgency of your needs.