Pray But Don’t BegIn Luke 11, in response to a disciple’s request for prayer instructions Jesus told the following story. Some guests stopped by a man’s house unexpectedly. As can …
Pray But Don’t Beg
In Luke 11, in response to a disciple’s request for prayer instructions Jesus told the following story. Some guests stopped by a man’s house unexpectedly. As can happen to anyone, the man’s cupboard was bare. In the ancient East, failing to host visitors adequately was considered grievously rude.
The would-be host went to a neighbor and asked to borrow bread to feed his unexpected visitors. The neighbor had already gone to bed and provided the needed bread only because the neighbor-in-need would not stop knocking/asking.
Using this parable, our temptation is to assume God can be persuaded to do our bidding by much supplication. That would make God a reluctant provider and us beggars. That is not a Biblical picture of God or us.
While Jesus certainly wants us to be faithful in prayer, in the same passage of scripture He gives us His understanding of prayer. Long prayers are not necessarily better than short ones. Jesus Himself said prayer is not answered by much speaking. (Matthew 6:7/8). In other words, long prayers are not necessarily better than short ones.
In this same passage, Luke 11, Jesus taught us to pray like one talking to a loving father. If we pray for something we want but the Father knows we do not need, He surely will not give it. If we ask for something that is wrong, the Father whose task it to teach us ethics will refuse.
When I was child, I awoke one morning and discovered a huge cavity in one of my teeth. One of the few things I feared at that time was going to the dentist. In those days it was very painful. For weeks I would begin and end each day praying the cavity would go away. As you might expect, God did not answer that prayer.
When at last I had courage enough to tell my parents, my father took me to the dentist who filled the cavity. Two weeks ago, I finally had that tooth extracted. After confessing my need to my father, the tooth was repaired and served me more than seventy years.
We Christians should pray, i.e., talk to the Father faithfully; but there is no need to beg. God knows our need.
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