Yesterday we looked on as Jesus started teaching His disciples how to pray. He did this in response to their request. It just occurred to me how thrilled He must have been to be asked to do this. Introducing His most cherished friends to His Father. His Father knew His friends, but now His friends will know His Father more intimately and His Father will become their Father too.
We ended our study yesterday with a cliffhanger. I told you that now I understand why Jesus put these parables with His teaching on prayer. I did not have that understanding when we first started out. It was a gift along the way.
My bible puts Luke 11:1-13 under one heading; The Lord’s Prayer. When I was reading it yesterday I had some trouble understanding the linking of the two segments. I didn’t know how to tie them together. When thinking about the persistent knocking of the friend described in the first of Jesus’ parables I thought about how I would answer the door. “WHAT DO YOU WANT!!” It would be said in anger too. The passage on knocking, asking and seeking reminded me of a child asking for something from their parent. This child didn’t receive the answer he/she wanted so they kept asking over and Over and OVER again! Finally out of frustration the parent gives in. Reminds me of a cartoon I once saw of a parent and child leaving a store. The child, holding a toy in his hand, looks up and says “I almost believed you that last time you said no.” I HATE this kind of behavior! My response when treated this way is to withdraw even what I originally was willing to give. To me “no” means “no.” So I was having a hard time understanding what Jesus was trying to say here.
What I saw instead by the end of our time yesterday was completely different from my original ideas. I saw a relationship growing. When we first start coming to God with our prayers they are filled with a lot of “me.” They center on my wants and my wishes. We acknowledge God in them by coming to Him but we don’t focus on His plans. He has great plans for each of our lives. In Jerimiah 29:11 God tells us so; “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
He wants the best for each of us but we only get there by getting close to Him. By coming day after Day after DAY to spend time with Him. When we seek to know Him through His word. When we ask for His plans for our life. When we knock on His door to be let into His special room in the home. This is where He longs for us to be. This is where relationship with Him grows. “Fly by” prayers won’t get you there. You have to keep coming. Just as the baby has to keep trying to take steps before he is able to run.
Even the man in the first parable is counting on his relationship to finally win his friend’s assistance. If there was not a relationship already in place the seeker would have no standing and could expect the police to haul him off instead. But because of the relationship the seeker could touch his friend’s heart with his need.
Jesus promises that our persistence will be rewarded too. “For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and the one who knocks it will be opened” (verse 10). Jesus also promises that it will be a good and reward. We may not always come away with our “my plans” met but we can be sure He will give us what is best; His best. We also may not see His best immediately, but we can be certain He is working on delivering it to us. One thing Jesus says the Father gives when we ask, seek and knock is the Holy Spirit. That is His promise to all of us. His Spirit living in us. Drawing us daily into deeper relationship with Him. Opening our minds to understand His word. Changing our character to be more like His. Loving us fully as we were, are and will someday become. Loving me every step of the journey. (I feel a poem developing.)
Father God, thank You for bringing me to this place. Thank You for drawing me to Your word again and again. Thank You for opening my eyes and heart to what You wanted to share with me. I know this message was meant for me today. I look back and see the path we traveled and how You have drawn me to You. How You have brought me to a place I never could have imagined in the beginning of our relationship. I still have a LONG way to go, but looking back gives me hope for what lies ahead. You made this out of that stubborn little girl. I can’t wait to see what You do next!