Sunday, 16 March 2014

Ask! - Luke 11:5 - 13

What are the stories of our children? Sadly in many ways the evidence suggests a general lack of well-being, a sense of 'not being good enough', 'not worthy'. Any thought of God is lost in the suggestion that God would not be interested in them anyway. It's a story that can also be repeated in adults, even older people. Has society turned us into commodities, so that we simply feel we do not count?

Jesus tells the story of an old friend calling round. The host is keen to provide but finds his fridge empty. He calls next door but it is late and the neighbours are rightfully tucked up in bed - unsurprisingly they don't want to be disturbed. Yet the person persists and the neighbour eventually obliges.

Of course Jesus tells the story to show that if you have a genuine need, then ask!
God is faithful, God is gracious, God gives good things - so He will give. Notice how in the story it is effectively a 'ministry need', to bless the friend calling round. God gives good things for us to minister - He won't leave you floundering when in ministry.

The model prayer given by Jesus in v2 starts with God, and focusses on God and His Kingdom. The requests part of the prayer are therefore made in the context of God and His Kingdom. Therefore we can ask, we can seek, we can knock because God wants to meet with us, to be found, to descend His Kingdom down to us on earth

The bottom line is that in God's estimation, you count. So ask!

How much of our prayer is impoverished, confined by the circumstances around us, effectively praying as if God will just sting us rather than giving a good thing. Is our own view so squashed that we cannot imagine the riches of God applying to our situations? Yes there is place for genuine lament, and yes our will is to be submitted to His will - so we cannot dictate to God what He should give. But shouldn't our prayer be fuelled by what God can do rather than our circumstances?

The clue is in v13 where Jesus talks of God giving the Holy Spirit - just what we as mortal humans need! We have challenged ourselves to offer prayer for others in need - how will we do that without the equipping of His Spirit? We have talked about learning by doing - how will we experience that without stepping out and finding ourselves ministering by His Spirit?

We desire to see signs of the Kingdom of God across this city. That requires us going - but we should go in His equipping. We can lift our eyes to God and His Kingdom and ask for good things with which to minister. Our status is sons and daughters of the King ... so therefore let us ask!

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