As Christians, what are we supposed to pray about, and how often should we do it?
Last week, because it is that time of the year when we are called upon to remember the persecuted church, I simply blogged my prayer. And as I thought about that, I thought of the importance, not only of encouraging God’s people to pray for our suffering family, but also to pray about everything.
So where do we start? Let’s start with Jesus teaching on asking and receiving from God, found in Luke 11:11-13:
“What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 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!”
Your heavenly Father knows how to give good gifts to His children! That is surely the main idea of this passage. Since we have a heavenly Father who loves to bless His children, shouldn’t that knowledge embolden us to ask Him? Shouldn’t we be known for being the people who are always asking God for something?
As those who have been saved by the blood of our Saviour, we now have the boldness to enter the throne of grace. But this passage teaches us that as we go, we will not find a Father who is reluctant to bless. He is not saddened that we always come. He does not weary that we are constantly full of needs. He wants us to know His willingness to care for our needs. When we come to Him in prayer, we come to One who loves to give. He loves it when His children ask.
Indeed, this teaching is more lavish than we suppose. Notice, that in the passage just before He compared evil fathers giving gifts to their children with an altogether good and loving God, Jesus introduced this teaching with an amazing promise. In Luke 11:9-10, Jesus says:
“And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.”
Now clearly, we will need to examine to find out why it is that we sometimes ask for things that are not given to us. But leaving that discussion to another time, we can say with confidence, that the reason for unanswered prayer is never about a God who is reluctant to bless His children. God’s lavishness is a given. We rejoice, that we have a loving and giving Father, who is urging us to come into His presence and bring our requests to Him.
Furthermore, Jesus teaching in Luke 11 is not the only time He speaks this way. Matthew 21:22 has Jesus saying, “And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.”
Have you noticed, in the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus instructed us to regularly pray – “give us this day our daily bread.” That is, He instructs us to go daily into His presence as ask Him to provide for us. “O Lord, do not withhold all that I need to sustain me this day.” What is our Father saying? He is saying, “Go ahead and ask. You will be amazed at how richly I will provide.”