21 Days of Prayer and Fasting - Day 15
Matthew 7a, 7:9-11 “Ask and it will be given to you . . .
. . . Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus taught us how to pray in Matthew 6:9-13. In the next chapter, Matthew 7, Jesus is still in the same Sermon on the Mount. It’s the same sermon, but another level of invitation regarding prayer. Here Jesus simplifies prayer down to three verbs. The first of which is - ASK.
Jesus invites us to ask. This may come as a surprise to you as it came as a surprise to some of Jesus' listeners then. Being encouraged to ask God for help and what we need, could seem a bit presumptuous. Who am I to ask of God? Jesus clarified that through him we are children of God, and because of that we should ask and expect for Him not to give us stones but bread. God provides for his children and responds to them not with harsh punishments or mocking, but rather by filling them with satisfaction out of this world.
In John 4, Jesus asked the Samaritan woman at the well for a drink. She was surprised, saying, ““You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.) Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” Jesus invited her to ask. He was not lacking in what she needed. He is not lacking in what we need. Jesus is full of grace and truth (John 1:14). He is ready to give them freely to those who are ready to ask and receive.
I realize that there is tension in this promise. Ask and it will be given. We seem to intuitively know that Jesus doesn’t mean that we ask and get whatever we want. However, Jesus seems to insist on us asking like children ask their Father. We should not hold back from asking God for help in any way that we need. Remember, He is our Father. Also, in the process of prayer, our asking is shaped and formed increasingly by the kingdom of God. We see that the invitation to ask isn’t to get what we want from God. We ask to get God into our wants. Then we begin to receive good gifts, see the good gifts that we’ve been given, and experience abundant life. Our lives become increasingly shaped and formed by this invitation from gracious God to ask and be filled.
Take a moment to put this into practice. Ask God.
How does this shape and form your relationship with God?