Luke 11 New Living Translation (NLT)
1 Once Jesus was in a certain place praying. As he finished, one of his disciples came to him and said, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.”
2 Jesus said, “This is how you should pray:[a]“Father, may your name be kept holy. May your Kingdom come soon.3 Give us each day the food we need,[b]4 and forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us. And don’t let us yield to temptation.[c]”
5 Then, teaching them more about prayer, he used this story: “Suppose you went to a friend’s house at midnight, wanting to borrow three loaves of bread. You say to him, 6 ‘A friend of mine has just arrived for a visit, and I have nothing for him to eat.’ 7 And suppose he calls out from his bedroom, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is locked for the night, and my family and I are all in bed. I can’t help you.’ 8 But I tell you this—though he won’t do it for friendship’s sake, if you keep knocking long enough, he will get up and give you whatever you need because of your shameless persistence.[d]
9 “And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.
11 “You fathers—if your children ask[e] for a fish, do you give them a snake instead? 12 Or if they ask for an egg, do you give them a scorpion? Of course not! 13 So if you sinful people 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.”
Shortly after our son saw the movie “RV” he began asking us to buy one. We reasoned with him, telling him how expensive they are and how much it costs to maintain one, but he’s 5- and he has no concept of money. So, one day, after the 5,000th time of him asking I said “how about you start praying about an RV…and ask God if it’s His will that we have one?” He immediately shut his eyes and starting asking!
Now, I know what some of you are probably thinking…why would I set him up to be disappointed? Why don’t I just continue to tell him “no?” Or, better yet, why don’t we just buy an RV?!
Because its about way more than an RV…..
When we first read verses 9-10 about asking, seeking, knocking, we attribute this persistence in asking to be about what we want and we draw the conclusion that if we ask enough, we’ll get it. But God is not a God who is manipulated by our desires or smooth talking. He is the One that determines what is good for us for the long haul, not just what will make us ‘happy’ in the short one.
If you read further down to verse 13, we see that Jesus is actually teaching His disciples to ask their Heavenly Father for the Holy Spirit. And, therein lies the key to our asking….But if first starts with correctly oriented our hearts to the Father. Once again, Jesus shows us how to do that back up in verses 2-4
1) Praise God for who He is
2) Ask for God to provide for our needs
3) Repent & ask for God’s forgiveness of our sins
4) Forgive those that have hurt us
5) Rebuke the enemy
You see, prayer is more about building a relationship with Our Creator than it is about giving God our Christmas list. When we read or hear stories about others who get everything they ask for, we are sometimes left dumbfounded and confused that we aren’t getting the same treatment. And what can eventually set in is bitterness towards God and we quit talking to Him. I know this to be true, because, I’ve been there…
However, as I disciplined myself to read more of God’s word and ask Him for more of His Spirit, I began to understand more about this crucial aspect of our relationship with Him. When I began putting Him in his rightful place (first in everything) my prayer list began to change. I started hearing God’s heart about myself, my husband, my children, people around me…and the things I wanted.
By encouraging my son to ask the Lord for an RV, I’m not passing the buck or setting him up to be disappointed. I’m training him to learn to listen for God’s heart on the matter. It is a discipline that will serve him well if he learns it at a young age. And, who knows…this desire in his heart to own an RV may have come from His Creator and it may be given to him, just as he asked….& THAT would build his faith in the Lord far greater than me constantly telling him “no” or going into debt to buy him what he wants.