God-Focused Fervor in Prayer
“And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” – Luke 11:9
Burt Newman shared last Sunday the meaning behind Jesus’ words from Luke 11:1-13 regarding proper ways to pray. Contrary to a view of prayer that is spineless and shallow, Jesus teaches consistent, God-focused, fervor in our prayer.
Prayer ought to be persistent and expectant like a neighbor refusing to cease knocking on his friends door until he is let in. Praying is like a daughter desperately reaching for her daddy to scoop her up and carry her around the house.
However, there is a question to ponder from Jesus’ words. Is Jesus more concerned about our method rather than the content of our prayer? As long as I pray with persistence, can I ask for anything my heart desires?
1. The method of persistent prayer reveals what we put our confidence in.
The continual action of boldly coming before God with our every need, reveals a heart that believes God is worth hoping in. Asking and seeking God in our prayer defines the order in which we live. God is the great provider and Lord. We are the needy creation reaching out for aid. The repetition of our coming to God with our needs reveals genuineness. Through many trials of life, the dependent Christ follower still asks, seeks, and knocks. Therefore, I think that Jesus knows the method of our prayer (persistent and continual crying out) reveals the attitude of our hearts toward God. Do I really need this God in my life?
Question: Does my prayer life reveal that I am confident in God to hear and answer my prayers?
2. Persistent prayer will change the content of our prayer (what we ask for) as God reveals our greatest needs.
Though one may see this as a means to abuse God’s kindness to get things they want in prayer, Jesus reveals that the good things God will provide in our asking are truly good because they are tied to our greatest needs.
In other words, God has good things for us at the ready. These good things may not be what we expect, but they are absolutely good and needed for our lives. God gives good gifts. Persistent prayer (which will only occur in the life of a Saint who is confident in God) will mature us to pray for the things that God sees as good and needed for us rather than selfish wants and desires. If God is really God, then I am a fool to not desire what He desires for my life. Shortsighted as we are, we often struggle to know what our needs are and mix them up with desires of our heart. By God’s grace, an attitude of persistent prayer will align our hearts with God’s to shape our desires, leading us to what we ought to properly pray for.
“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” – Matthew 6:33
We do not have to look far to see what our greatest needs are. Jesus openly reveals that it is the Spirit who is ready to be given by God to those who ask (Luke 11:13). What need is greater than for the Holy Spirit to work in us?
Lord, help us to pray persistently with sincerity and surrender to You. Asking! Seeking! Knocking! For, our persistence is dependence leading to Christian maturity.