Daily D – Luke 11:13
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 11:13 (CSB)
Have you ever prayed a prayer and discovered that God answered it better than you prayed it? How many times has he given you more than you asked for? Isn’t that just like God? He is better than we expected. He is better than we could imagine. He is better than we think or feel or hope. He is good. He is love.
Recently, I prayed a rather bold prayer. At least I thought it was bold. Maybe even audacious. A few days later, a mountain was moved. Please understand this is figurative language, but the outcome is real.
Luke 11:2-13 is Jesus’ response to a simple request from one of his disciples who said, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John also taught his disciples,” (verse 1). Prayer Lesson Number One in this text is this: If prayer just isn’t your thing, ask Jesus to teach you to pray. If you really do not understand prayer, enjoy prayer, or have the capacity for prayer others do, ask Jesus for help. This is a prayer he loves to answer.
Jesus began with the Model Prayer (verses 2-4). This is essentially the same as the prayer from the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 6:9-13. These are more than words to commit to memory. These are starting places to shape our prayers. They provide a guide for what to talk to God our Father about and how to address those issues.
Jesus moves from the model to the method. We do not have to wait for Sunday or for set times to pray. We can pray anytime we have a need. We ask God for precisely what we need when we need it. Jesus tells a story about how someone with “shameless boldness” asks a friend after hours for supplies to entertain his unexpected guest. He says that such a request stretches the bonds of friendship. Even so, the man gets up out of bed and provides his friend with “as much as he needs.”
Here’s the point of the story. Our Father is never inconvenienced by our prayers. He never sleeps nor dozes off when we need him. He is ever ready to hear and to respond. Pray anytime you have need. What do you need right now? Patience? Kindness? Forgiveness? Strength? Wisdom?
Jesus moves on to tell us more about his prayer methodology. He says to Ask, Seek, and Knock. Just like the midnight caller, the friend in need, ask. Keep asking. Do not stop asking. Seek what you need. Notice the late-night friend had a specific request of three loaves of bread. Notice Jesus says his friend would “give him as much as he needs.” Ask God for what you need and be specific. Seek from him what you need in that moment. Knock on God’s door.
The late-night neighbor irritated his tucked-in friend. Contrast that to our Father in heaven. “For everyone who asks, receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”
God our Father is more anxious to receive our requests than we are to bring them to him.
Jesus finishes up his instructions on prayer with the assurance that God gives better than what we ask. He does not stop at “as much as he needs.” He does not merely give us things; he gives us himself. What more could we ask?
Consider this thought: If the basis of our prayers is more stuff for us, we might just be doing it wrong. If the basis of our prayers is more about what we need to take care of ourselves, our families, and our unexpected guests, we discover God is richly generous.
Application? Give God a chance to say Yes to you today. What do you need? What relationship requires divine intervention? What extremity requires God’s provision? Whose heart needs hope to go on? What do you need that only God can provide?
Ask Jesus to teach you to pray. Ask him anything. Ask him for what you need. Know that he will teach you to pray. Know that he will hear every prayer. Know that he will answer those prayers better than you pray them.
I will ask, seek, and knock with confident assurance that God hears, guides, and provides.
Our Father, teach me to pray. Teach me how, when, where, and what. Teach me to pray all day in every way. Teach me praise and thanksgiving. Teach me intercession and petition. Teach me confession. Teach me groans and tears. Teach me quiet conversation and loud adoration. Teach me how to pray for every person I meet. Amen.
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Ruth 1:20, 21 “Don’t call me Naomi. Call me Mara,” she answered, “for the Almighty has made me very bitter. I went away full, but the LORD has brought me back empty. Why do you call me Naomi, since the LORD has opposed me, and the Almighty has afflicted me?” (CSB)