I had intended to share several of the verses and passages from the Bible that over the last few weeks have helped me pray and know the heart and mind of God. One of these days I will share them with you all. But this is the one that I feel led to share with you now.
Then Jesus said to them, “Suppose you have a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have no food to offer him.’ 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, even though he will not get up and give you the bread because of friendship, yet because of your shameless audacity he will surely get up and give you as much as you need. So I say to you: 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; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 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 the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” - Luke 11:5-13
I have asked God to heal me miraculously. I know that He can; I believe that He will. With shameless audacity I have pleaded before Him. Not because I have earned the right - but only because of Christ. When He died and then rose again, He took on Himself all of my sin, all that separated me from God, and took it all away. All I have had to do is accept the gift, believe, follow. Now I come before my Father as the daughter that He delights in. I have asked, sought, and knocked; God has promised in His word that I will receive, find, and the door that I knock on will be opened to me. Should I not take God at His word?
One of my pastors and another leader from my church came over to pray for me a few weeks ago. I told them of my longing for God to heal me, to take this cancer away. My pastor anointed me with oil and they prayed for my healing. Since then I have prayed as a desperate father two thousand years ago prayed - I believe; help my unbelief. I have poured over the Gospels, reading of how time and time again, Jesus healed those who came to Him. God has made me aware of my Western skepticism of anything that anyone claims to be a miracle; He has dismantled my faulty presuppositions about what is real and what is not. Many others have prayed for me when my faith was lacking. The Holy Spirit intercedes for me with groans that words cannot express. My Father inclines His ear to me, because He loves me.
The truth about God is that He is way more compassionate than any of us are, and way more than we make Him out to be. He is the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness. If we, who love imperfectly, know how to give good gifts to our children, how much more will our Father, who loves perfectly, give to His? Whenever I begin to doubt, this is what I come back to. The reality of a loving God and of me being His.
You would be right to point out that the last verse of the Luke passage says that God will give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him; there is no mention of "good things" as there is in the parallel passage in Matthew 7 (verses 7-11). I came across the Luke passage during a recent time of pleading. I was familiar with the Matthew passage and was surprised at the difference. I have been praying for the good thing of healing, of rescue; asking, seeking, knocking for that. But Jesus tells us here to ask for the Holy Spirit; and I want to do what He wants me to do. So as I knelt on the floor in my room, I prayed for the Holy Spirit to come. I prayed earnestly and cried my prayers out; and the Holy Spirit came and knocked me flat on my back. I have never had an encounter with the Spirit like this; probably because I have never seriously extended the invitation. This was a sign given to me; God was being gracious to His doubting child. Both passages are true. He gives the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him. He gives good gifts to those who ask Him. Neither is too difficult for the Lord. Neither request is too audacious.
Wait on the Lord with me, brethren. Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.
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