[Jesus said,] â€œKeep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. You parents â€“ if your children ask for a loaf of bread, do you give them a stone instead? Of course not! So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him.â€Â Â Â Â Â Matthew 7:7-11 (NLT)
You might have noticed immediately today that I am using a different Bible translation than usual. I think that is a good thing. Sometimes when I keep using the same one day after day, I think I know what a passage says. I do not give it the time and thought that I should. Different words make me slow down and listen to the words, listen to God.
Prayer is (should be) a conversation with God. It is talking and listening. My talking is thanksgiving, confession of my sins, asking for my needs, telling Him my pain and frustration; just sharing what is happening in my life.
Good conversation includes listening. How much time in my prayers do I listen? It is in listening that I hear Godâ€™s wisdom and truths. My heart becomes softened so that bitterness, anger, and resentment cannot take root. These things grow in a hard heart.
There is so much more to prayer that submitting a list to God on how I want Him to answer my needs and my questions. I believe God actually does more during the process of praying than happens in the answer to prayer. Jesus says that I should â€œkeep onâ€. It is in taking on the character of the persistent widow (Luke 18) in my prayers that I receive greater understanding of myself, my life, my attitudes, and who God is and His plan for my life. Prayer becomes not about getting God to do what I want but instead learning the joy of moving into Godâ€™s way, the best way for me.
God does listen to every prayer. He answers every prayer. God is such a good Father. He doesnâ€™t answer â€œyesâ€ to every request because that would not be good for me. If He said â€œnoâ€ every time I would think Him mean and stingy. I would soon feel defeated and unloved. If every answer was â€œwaitâ€ I would get frustrated. God answers like the perfect Father, doing what is best for me. Not getting the answer I want does not tell me that He is disinterested but rather it could be pointing me into the direction He desires for me. As I spend time with God in prayer, listening and sharing, I begin to understand Him and rejoice for His great love for me.
Donâ€™t worry about â€˜stuffâ€™, my child. Instead, pray about everything. Tell Me what you think you need and give thanks for all that has already happened. Then you will receive My Peace that will be more than anything you can imagine or understand. My Peace will guard your heart and mind as you live in fellowship with Jesus.Â Â Â Â Â Philippians 4:6-7 (my paraphrase)