Pray the Word: Your Father Knows What's Best
Read Matthew 7
Matthew chapter seven, verses 7 through 11. Jesus says, "Ask and it will be given to you. Seek and you will find. Knock and it will be open to you, for everyone who asks, receives and the one who seeks finds, and the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you if his son asks him for bread will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish will give him a serpent? If you then who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him?"
These verses are both encouraging and perplexing at the same time. So encouraging because they're a promise from Jesus that everyone who asks, receive, ask and it will be given you, but then there perplexing because, well I'm guessing each of us is probably asked for things before in prayer and God has not given us what we've asked of Him. So is this a promise we can lean on and trust in or not? And that's why verses 9 through 11 or so important because Jesus goes onto say, "You have a good Father."
And just like you as a dad, I think about my life as a dad when my kids ask for something, sometimes they do ask for things that are not best for them and I tell them no. But I want to give good gifts to them, I want their best all the time, and I'm evil, I'm a sinner, I don't always know what is best. The whole picture here Jesus saying, "You have a Father in heaven who always knows what is best for you. So when you ask of Him, you can be confident that He stands ready to give everything that is good for you, everything that is best for you."
So I think about one of the darkest moments in my life, when I got a call from my younger brother and all the sudden, just on the other end of the line, he's saying, "David you need to pray you, need to pray, something's wrong with dad." My dad, best friend, biggest fan in the sense in the world. Just, yeah, meant a lot to me and I hear this news that I need to start praying and I don't know what's wrong and my younger brother just hangs up the phone so I just start going before the Lord, I'm pleading, "God please save my dad. God please, provide for my dad, please strengthen my dad", all these things I just start pleading for dad and then I get a call about an hour later and it's my older brother on the line saying that dad was dead, that dad had passed away from a heart attack.
I remember thinking in that moment, and really since that moment, here I was, I was pleading for my dad, and I've got these words in Matthew chapter seven to say ask and it will be given you but God didn't answer the way I certainly longed for and wanted in that moment. So how do we think about that? How do I respond to that and that's where verses 9 through 11 are so huge. I believe that I have a Father in heaven who listens to me when I call to Him and He always gives what is good. When I asked for bread, He doesn't give a stone. When I ask for fish, He doesn't give a serpent. And so I can trust His goodness, even when in prayer he doesn't respond in the way I would hope.
I want to encourage you. Let's be bold in our asking before God and are seeking God and are knocking and are pleading before God but let's do that, yes on one hand with confidence that He hears us and that He will respond to our prayers, but let's believe that response is driven by His wisdom more than desires. And let's believe that however He responds, He will respond as the overflow of a good father who loves his children.
So God we praise You for this promise, not just that when we ask, You hear, but that You respond in ways that are good and wise beyond our comprehension. Lord we trust in You, we trust that You are our Father in heaven, that You are good, that You desire to give good gifts, that You have authority and power to give good gifts, and so as we pray we say we trust in You.
We want to plead before You, we want to express our hearts before You, our minds before You, laid bare we want to pour out ourselves before You, but we know that as we do we have limited perspective and limited knowledge and limited wisdom and we don't always know what is the best, but we trust that You do and You work all things together for the good of those who love You and have been called according to Your purpose, so we trust You in prayer, as we plead before You in prayer. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.
The Pray the Word podcast is used with permission from Radical. For more from Pray the Word, visit radical.net. http://radical.net/articles/podcast_type/pray-the-word