Ask the Giver!

“Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he finished, one of his disciples said to him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray , as John taught his disciples.’ And he said to them, ‘When you pray, say:

“Father, hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come.
Give us each day our daily bread,
and forgive us our sins,
    for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us.
And lead us not into temptation.”

“And he said to them, ‘Which of you who has a friend will go to him at midnight and say to him, “Friend, lend me three loaves,  for a friend of mine has arrived on a journey, and I have nothing to set before him”; and he will answer from within, “Do not bother me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed. I cannot get up and give you anything”?  I tell you, though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his impudence he will rise and give him whatever he needs.  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.  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!'” Luke 11:1-13

Tucked into a conversation initiated by the disciples asking how to pray, the Lord Jesus revealed the bounty from God for their taking if only they would ask. They wanted methods, He gave meat. Jesus opened a treasure trove of sustenance when all they’d sought was structure. It seems John had taught prayer and fasting with an old covenant form of rote repetition and an eye toward the coming Christ, and now He was here to teach a new and higher way altogether. (Matthew 6:8-11; Luke 2:37-38; 5:33)

Self-interest and limited spiritual vision cause us to focus more on the how or what than the Who of prayer. What would change in the way we approach God and the content of our prayers if we sought Him, and humbly asked Him to teach us to pray? Might we begin (or return to) kneel? Might we open by hallowing His name, worth, and eternal attributes over our wants? Might we start asking for deeper things of the attitude and heart for ourselves and others? How might flesh desire for the extraneous become logical and wise understanding of the needful?

If we want to grow in prayer, we must look to the Giver. He is generous and loving kind, and worthy of our trust. What aspects of His generosity will affect the way we approach His throne, our praise, and our requests? (Hebrews 4:16)

Lord, keep me persistent in reverent, focused prayer that honors You, humbles me, and promotes Your glorious will.

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