Luke 18:1-8 “Now He was telling them a parable to show that at all times they ought to pray and not to lose heart, saying, “In a certain city there was a judge who did not fear God and did not respect man. “There was a widow in that city, and she kept coming to him, saying, ‘Give me legal protection from my opponent.’ “For a while he was unwilling; but afterward he said to himself, ‘Even though I do not fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow bothers me, I will give her legal protection, otherwise by continually coming she will wear me out.'” And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge *said; now, will not God bring about justice for His elect who cry to Him day and night, and will He delay long over them? “I tell you that He will bring about justice for them quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?” NASB
Luke 11:5-13 “Then He said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend, and goes to him at midnight and says to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves; for a friend of mine has come to me from a journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; and from inside he answers and says, ‘Do not bother me; the door has already been shut and my children and I are in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything.’ “I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will get up and give him as much as he needs. “So I say to you, 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 he who seeks, finds; and to him who knocks, it will be opened. “Now suppose one of you fathers is asked by his son for a fish; he will not give him a snake instead of a fish, will he? “Or if he is asked for an egg, he will not give him a scorpion, will he? “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?” NASB
What is the right attitude for prayer? This is something I’ve been thinking about quite a bit the past few days. Obviously there are some things that are non-negotiable, like a clean heart and a dose of humility. Respect for the One we are praying to. Yet I know that too many times I find myself coming to God in a manner that is not only a bit fearful, but also rather apologetic.
I’m like Oliver Twist at the beginning of the musical “Oliver”, when he is starving and asks for more gruel. “Please sir, I want some more.” The request comes out almost as a question, hesitant and unsure. Of course in the musical he is then immediately punished for his request, unfairly chastened for gluttony when in reality he is constantly hungry. Too often I come before God’s throne in the same manner, as if I’m not worth a whole lot, and my prayer doesn’t really deserve a hearing from Almighty God, much less a response.
On one level I suppose this is true. I don’t merit a response based on my own virtues. The God of the universe isn’t under any kind of strict obligation towards me. And yet…when we read scripture, we find a very different view of God being presented. Over and over again, we are told by Christ to ask God for things. And not merely the bare bones requests of a beggar, but our heart’s true desires.
It’s a massive contrast: we come timid and hesitant, yet Christ tells us to be bold and essentially pester God with our requests. To keep pounding on that door until it opens, keep coming back until the problem is resolved, keep looking until we find what we seek. God isn’t a divine jerk in the sky, ready and waiting to chastise us any time we glance upward because we have a genuine need or desire that can only be met by Him.
God really is good, He really is loving, and He really does want us to “pester” Him. He actually wants to hear from us, and not only hear but also respond in ways that may sometimes blow our minds.
So the challenge for the day is this: today, pester Heaven. Don’t pray as a beggar, but rather come to God as His kid, and keep tugging on your Heavenly Daddy’s coat sleeve until He responds. He’s waiting to hear from you, and to respond with good things, though they may not always look like what you expected. His ways are different, and they are better. Pester Him today, and revel in the surprises that come to you when He answers.