Read: Luke 11
“You fathers—if your children ask for a fish, do you give them a snake instead? Or if they ask for an egg, do you give them a scorpion? Of course not! 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.” (Luke 11:11-13, NLT)
Persistence plus generosity—that is the equation not only for answered prayer, but for the life of abundance, fruitfulness and power God desires each of his children to experience.
That is what Jesus is teaching here. The context is a request from his disciples to teach them how to pray. They had witnessed firsthand Jesus’ unusual connection with his Father and the amazing spiritual power that freely flowed from it. And they wanted that for themselves.
So Jesus taught them his secret: Prayer. From that, we get what has been termed “The Lord’s Prayer”. But right after he teaches them this model prayer, he begins to talk about the need to persist in prayer.
He tells the story of a friend who goes at midnight to a neighbor’s home to ask for a loaf of bread in order to feed a guest who has just arrived. The lesson there was that the friend’s persistence overcame any reluctance the neighbor felt at that inconvenient hour to meet this need.
That is quickly followed up with Jesus’ admonition to therefore “keep on asking…keep on seeking…keep on knocking (verse 9, NLT) in prayer because you are not coming to a reluctant neighbor, or to an earthly father (verse 11) who, because of the limitations of his sinfulness, can only do so much. Rather, you are coming to a willing and generous Heavenly Father. And this Heavenly Father will not only provide what you desire (a fish or an egg in this story—symbolic of daily necessities), he will provide what you truly need—the Holy Spirit (the spiritual power to live as Jesus lived).
The secret to living as Jesus lived: We must learn to persist with the Father in prayer, not to overcome any reluctance on his part, but to overcome our own reluctance to come to him in daily dependence and tap into his willingness to provide what we desire and what we need.
Prayer, then, is not overcoming God’s reluctance; it is accessing God’s willing generosity. Our persistence plus God’s generosity equals the release of divine provision and spiritual power—the kind of life God has planned for every one of his children.
“Whether we like it or not, asking is the rule of the Kingdom. If you may have everything by asking in His Name, and nothing without asking, I beg you to see how absolutely vital prayer is.” ~Charles Spurgeon
What If God Took Over?
Memorize Hebrews 4:16 and in your own words, pray it back to God every day this week:
“So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.”