Principles of Prayer

Luke 11:5-13

I have been hanging around the halls of Christianity for some time now, schooled by various teachers along the way who taught me many of the prayer principles revealed in Luke 11:5-13. Unfortunately, I have let these principles slip away from me far too much. I suspect many of my readers have done the same. I’m sharing these principles to help me remember what I have been taught; and hopefully offer some guidance to anyone who reads this brief essay.

God does listen! What better to motivate us to prayer than a serious conviction that we shall be heard. We are bent toward distrust; to correct this fault we receive a promise from Jesus, Ask and it shall be given you seek and you shall find, knock and the door will be opened. This verse is about God listening to us; that God hears what we ask and seek for, and because He listens, doors open for us that would be closed without prayer.

For everyone who asks receives: there is two important implications in this verse; one is when we need help we should resort to prayer with confidence that God will comfort us if there is no earthly fix or help us find a remedy if there is; and if we don’t pray it is clear we kind of get what we have prayed for, little or nothing. Second, although we know God gives us all things freely by grace, yet, in order for us to exercise our faith, He presses us to pray so that we may receive an undeserved outcome.

Jesus compares the earthly relationship of a Father’s disposition toward his children to our Heavenly Father’s disposition toward us: if you know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give; not only redemption, but all other needs as well. Good and loving fathers forget themselves and give to their children. Even when it makes no sense economically; they find a way, they figure it out – even with limited resources. This comparison is intended to enhance our expectations: God who opens up the hearts of earthly fathers will not shut His own heart! And our expectations should be further elevated because our Heavenly Father owns the whole world, resources without end.

Your Father will give good things: We cannot pray for anything we want. If we are motivated by foolish desires like more influence for pride’s sake, more wealth for greed’s sake, or misguided requests that if answered would gain a hurtful advantage over others; it is likely that these unapproved prayers will be shelved. We must be convinced that God will give us nothing more or less, like a father, that He knows to be advantageous to us and to others in our world. God gives us good things. God has good intentions for us. We are better off to ask, accept, and trust that our Heavenly Father knows who we are and what he is doing in our lives. Good and loving fathers give us what we need and not everything we ask or think we want.

Sometime our hearts are sickened with the difficulties and delays in life. This is especially true  when it comes to prayer. Yet, we must not give up. Jesus encourages us to plow throw the obstacles and delays. In our passage Jesus said, Suppose you have a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say: Friend, lend me three loaves of bread: and suppose the one inside answers, don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children and I are in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything. I tell you however, even though he will not get up and give you the bread because of friendship, yet because of your persistence he will surely get up and give you as much as you need. God is more than a friend He is our Heavenly Father. It is okay to be persistence!

Joseph C. Hutchison Rochester Hills, Michigan,  2019

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