December 18, 2009

Asking and Receiving

Luke 11:5-11

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find …”
Luke 11:9


I like to believe that I do not need anything from anybody. I like to think that the friend Jesus mentioned in this passage was a poor planner. He did not think ahead or consider that he might have unexpected guests. He went to his neighbor with a last-minute request at a terrible time—when everyone was in bed. I can’t believe his nerve; he should have been ashamed of himself!

But life catches us off-guard sometimes, and we come up short on things we need. I need to imagine that I could be this man, and I must knock on God’s door for help. Jesus was teaching his disciples that prayer is not a one-shot call but a constant petitioning for God to answer us and supply our daily needs.

Bold prayer is not bullying. Bold prayer acknowledges that asking God for help is our privilege as his children. In bold prayer we know that we will receive an answer—and that it won’t be rude, like the answer from the neighbor in the parable. For Jesus says, “If you … know how to give good gifts … how much more will your Father in heaven give … ?”

But the answer might be different from what we expect. For example, it could be “No, you’re not ready yet” or “Yes, but far more than you imagine!” Though answers come in many forms, Jesus calls us to persistent engagement with the Lord, who will not turn us away.

Dear Jesus, build up my capacity to pray boldly for your kingdom to come. Help me to pray, knowing that you will hear and answer in the way that’s best. In your name, Amen.

About the author — Reginald Smith

Dr. Reginald Smith is senior pastor at Roosevelt Park Community Christian Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he has served for seventeen years. He has also served as a pastor in Paterson, New Jersey. He and his wife, Sharon, have three daughters, Janelle, Katrina, and Mariah.

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