Have you ever heard anyone ask, “Do you know who you’re talking to?” Or simply say, “Remember who you’re talking to.” Every once in a while we need people to remind us of who we are are talking to. Maybe we are talking to our parents, our boss, a police officer, or the President. Depending on who that person is, it will affect how we address them and speak to them.
Believe it or not, the same is true with prayer. When we open our heart before God, we are speaking to the Creator and Sustainer of the universe, the Almighty God who is holy, holy, holy, the King of Kings. He deserves our utmost respect, reverence, and godly fear. However, if we are born-again believers, God is also our Heavenly Father.
When Jesus was giving His disciples a lesson on prayer (Lk 11:1-13), He gave them a model prayer (as also recorded in the Sermon on the Mount). However, Jesus then closed by teaching His followers to remember their Heavenly Father’s heart (vs 5-13). When we pray, it is important to remember what our Heavenly Father is like, and what He is not like. You see, that affects how we approach Him when we pray. We need to remember that:
1. God is not bothered by our ongoing requests (vs 5-8).
And he said unto them, Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves; for a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him? And he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee. I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth.
We all know what it’s like for someone to come to us at a bad time asking for a favor. We want to be kind and helpful, but sometimes it is just not a good time! Ever been there? But that is never the case with our Heavenly Father! He doesn’t see our prayers as a nuisance or irritation. You may feel like you are asking God for the same things over and over again, and that you are driving Him crazy. But that’s not true! It is never a bad time to pray. In fact Jesus reminds us that:
2. God invites us to make personal requests (vs 9-10).
And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
Just like in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus tells us to ask, seek, and knock, with specific, personal requests. James even wrote: “Ye have not, because ye ask not” (4:2). We could study the difference between these three commands, but the point is the same: God will answer! Jesus even says it is true for “every one.” You may think your request is too small, or maybe too big, but don’t keep it to yourself. Go to your Heavenly Father in prayer and ask Him! Seek His face about it! Knock at the door of God’s throne room! Don’t ever feel hesitant to make your requests known unto God (Php 4:6)! He invites you to, with a personal promise. Jesus then explains that:
3. God wants to give you what is best (vs 11-13).
If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?
I find it strange that we often feel like God would do something to us that we would never dream of doing to our children. Some people believe that God is out to get them, or that He takes pleasure in making us suffer or do without. Jesus knew that some people have this misunderstanding of God, thinking that they could pray for bread, fish, and eggs, and God would answer by sending stones, snakes, and scorpions. That is not our Heavenly Father! If you and I want to give good things to our kids, God’s desires are infinitely greater. Our Heavenly Father puts every earthly father to shame! It may not always feel pleasant at the moment, but God will always do what is best for His children. We need to remember that.
Don’t believe the distorted views that many people have of God. When you spend time in prayer, you need to remember your Heavenly Father’s heart. He wants to hear from you. He invites you to come to Him. He delights in giving you His best.