Which of you, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead, Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion?
This is a dramatic statement, it is outrageous even. What sort of father or mother would treat their child like that, not only denying a child a basic need but actively giving them something dangerous? Most of us would agree only a cruel parent would do this, yet Jesus uses this over the top example to highlight how nonsensical it is when we choose not to ask of God.
He goes on to say, if we as sinful man know how to give good gifts, how much more will God not only meet our needs but, as our heavenly Father, give us the ultimate gift of His presence the Holy Spirit.
When we do not come to God in confident expectation that He will not only meet our needs but exceed them, then we are viewing Him not as a loving father but as an unloving, uninterested one.
God passionately wants the opportunity to be in relationship with us and for us to trust in Him fully in all areas of our lives. Trust can only be built when we let someone in, when we share with them our desires, dreams, needs, pains. God wants to provide for us, practically, emotionally and spiritually. He actually wants to give you His presence, His peace, but we have to ask. Asking is giving permission for God to move on your behalf. So when we ask God to intervene we are demonstrating and practicing our trust in him as our Dad.
Are you confident?
God is good. It sounds obvious but do you know this? And if you do, do you remember this when you pray? God is a loving God who is deeply in love with us, His children. That is a fundamental core belief of our faith. Yet, our past experiences can often over time cause us to doubt or not live this truth out. Circumstances, pain, trauma, unanswered prayer, rejection, disappointment, all can cause us to lose confidence in approaching God. We stop asking, expecting or inviting Him in.
Do you have confidence that when you pray God hears you, that when you ask you will receive, that God is waiting for your prayers, ready to act upon them as it is written in Psalm 18:6? “In my distress I called upon the Lord, and cried unto my God: he heard my voice out of his temple, and my cry came before him, even into his ears.”
Are there areas in your life in that, maybe without realising, you have lost confidence in approaching your heavenly Father? Ask Him to show you why. Ask God to help you confidently pray to Him with expectation that He will answer you.
Build a history with God
God does not have a priority prayer system. If something matters to you, it matters to Him. There are no small prayers. Every time we choose to come to Him and pray specifically for even the smallest things, we are building a history with God. Relationships are built on history; we need this past with God so when the big events in life happen, we have confidence to ask Him to intervene. It gives us a solid platform we can stand on because we know how to ask; we have practised putting our trust in Him and we can look back at our history of answered prayers and be confident in approaching Him.
Specifically, pray this week for something that you would normally have deemed too small or insignificant. Keep a note of it and pray daily until you see breakthrough.
Do it again
The root word for testimony in the Hebrew language means ‘do it again’. When we recall what God has done for us in the past, we are asking God to do it again. If we have been praying for a situation or a person for a long time, we can become so focused on what God is not doing that it is hard for us to see what He is doing.
If there is an area you are struggling to pray and ask God to intervene in, then spend some time remembering and thanking God for the answered prayer in your life. Write them down and speak them out loud, asking God to do it again. If you can not recall answered prayers, ask friends and family for their testimony and/or look up people’s testimonies online and claim them as your own.