Sometimes it happens to me. Does it ever happen to you? In my devotional life, I get stuck in a section of verses and can not read it enough. That is currently where I am in my devotional life-stuck on Matthew chapter 7 verses 7-11:
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. “Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”
Generally, when stuck in a passage of scripture, it is because God is trying to teach me something that I need or will need real soon. This passage is about asking God for the things that we need. This is something that I struggle with. You see as Americans, I think that all too often we view God as a cosmic vending machine. We come to Him, and get what we want. Unfortunately, it is something that we breed in our churches from a very young age. Think about it. How do most kids classes pray? “We’re going pray now, do you have any prayer requests?” and the kids state their requests, then we pray for them.
So, with this in mind, I often err on the other side and take my prayer time to just spend time with God and not ask Him for anything-for weeks at a time. A while ago, I heard Dr. Mark Rutland (one of the best speakers of our time) give this quote: “When situations need correction, balance is not error on the other side. Truth is always the correction and balance. Error on the other side is still error.”
So, I get to my point. While it is important for us to pray to get to know God, it is also equally important to ask God for things in our prayers. How often do we use prayer as a last resort when it should be our starting point? Clearly, this passage tells us that God loves to give us good things all we have to do is ask. Why do we wait so long to ask?
I’ll admit that sometimes, I find myself in the midst of a situation where I need God to intervene. While there have been plenty of places for me to stop and ask God to do so, I exhausted all of my other options only to find that prayer has become a last resort. It is so backwards from what Jesus teaches.
This kind of mindset actually reveals a lack of faith in God on our part. When we work as if it all depends on us, rather than to pray as if it all depends on God (I do believe that we need to work as if it all depends on us, but in conjunction with, not in place of praying as if it all depends on God), we are telling God “God, don’t worry about this, I got it.” We are putting our faith in ourselves. I don’t know about your experience, but I have found that I am not good enough to put my faith in.
God eagerly desires to give us good gifts. Just ask Him and ask in faith!