Principles of Prayer

We are bent toward distrust and doubt; to correct this fault we have a promise from Jesus in Luke 11, Ask and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be open. There are two principles in the verses above give us confidence and hope when we pray.

The first principle is – God listens! God hears what we ask for and because He listens, doors open that would be closed without prayer. Most of us have thought or heard someone say that God has better things to do than answer my prayers or be concerned with my needs when there are so many big problems in the world. This sounds sensible but it is not what Jesus told us. Jesus said, God is concerned about us and we should pray about what concerns us, not only the big things but the little things as well. There is nothing quantitive about ask and it will be given to you. 

The second principle is – asking increases our chances of receiving! As people of faith we don’t know what God will do but if we don’t pray the implication from these verses is we kind of get what we’ve prayed for, little or nothing. Prayer increases our chances of receiving what we need from God. Although God knows our needs before we pray; prayer is essential because it is the way God has chosen to partner with us when we are in need, leaving little or no doubt in our minds that God knows what is going on in our lives and will answer us according to his will.

There is another verse in Luke 11, that uncovers a third principle of prayer – God is our Heavenly Father Who will give us – not what we always want – but what we need. Somewhat like an insightful and loving earthly parent. Jesus said, if you know how to give good gifts (good means good for the child) to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give to those who ask Him. Loving parents give their children what they need if at all possible; even when it makes no sense economically, they find a way. They figure it out, even if they have limited resources.  This comparison is intended to heighten our expectations: God who opens up the hearts of earthly parents will not shut His own heart!  And our expectations should be further elevated because our Heavenly Parent owns the whole world, resources without end.

Joseph C. Hutchison

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