God Wants To Answer Your Prayers, #1
March 22, 2016
(This is the first chapter of a book I'm working on, God Wants To Answer Your Prayers, to encourage faith in prayer. I'll try and post the following chapters when available.)
Prayer, a sure thing?
Most of us, and by “us” I mean those of us who believe in prayer, who believe in God, have very little real confidence in prayer. We might pray as a last resort, when we’ve run out of options, we’re scared, would grasp at even the slimmest of hopes, but it’s certainly not something we rely on, something we count on, anything we’d recommend to our friends. Prayer isn’t the first thing we turn to when we need a job, or finances, or help, or healing. It’s not the first thing we turn to because we don’t believe it does very much of anything.
But Jesus and the Bible talk about answered prayer like it’s a sure thing, a certainty, something that is extremely reliable. Here’s Jesus:
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened (Matthew 7:7-8 NIV)
“Ask and it will be given to you…” Not might be given to you, or even, probably given to you, but will be given to you. It’s a certainty, a sure thing. The words, ask, seek and knock are parallels, basically synonyms, repetitions of the same idea. How much more certain could Jesus make it? What language could he have used to make it more certain than, “will be given to you?” When you ask, it will be given to you.
And he means everyone.
Jesus follows up in the next verse, “For everyone who asks receives…” He doesn’t say every nice person, or every religious person, or even every person who serves God. No, “…everyone who asks receives.” It doesn’t work quite how we would expect. Often the people we’d think would be the least qualified to get their prayers answered, are the ones getting their prayers answered. You can see this idea of God’s desire to bless everyone in a couple other of Jesus’s sayings:
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