There’s a thought I can’t seem to shake. As I was studying to preach The Lord’s Prayer last week I was back-handed by the reality that our lack of prayer as Christians has a direct correlation to who we believe God to be. Sure, ask any of us if God is our heavenly Father, with limitless resources, who is all-good, all-powerful, and all-loving and we will agree. But our actions would say otherwise. If we truly believed this, wouldn’t we be kneeling before God’s throne with our requests so much more than we actually do?
For many of us, if someone were to put our lives under constant video surveillance, that person would have to conclude one of two things about God based on our prayers lives: either God is broke or he’s just plain mean. If someone saw how little I actually pray, then it would be easy for them to think that God does not have the things I need or else I would “pray without ceasing”. My pastor has a throbbing cranium of spiritual knowledge, so I frequently find myself asking him about things that puzzle me. I ask him because I know he’s got what I need. On a much larger scale, God has everything that we need, and because he made us, he knows what we need with mind-blowing precision. Ephesians 1:3 says God “has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.” Did you catch that? “Every spiritual blessing” Do you know what the word “every” means here? It means “EVERY”! God’s spiritual pockets have no end. He is lacking nothing we need and nothing that is good for us, so let us not neglect or hesitate to go to him with our requests.
On the other hand, the person watching the surveillance footage of our lives, if he didn’t conclude that God was broke, would have to conclude that God is a meanie. He would have to conclude that although God has the things we need, he’s not kind enough to give them to us – “If these people claim to be Christians and only pray every so often, then God must be holding out them, or else they would be like toddlers asking for more ice cream.” I have a friend who knows significantly more about fixing things than I do. I have often asked for his help when something needs repairing at the house because I know he has the knowledge I need and, on top of that, he’s a really nice guy, so I know he’ll actually give me what I need. This is even more true of God. In Matthew 7:7-11, after Jesus explains that earthly fathers give to their children what is good for them, we read “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him?” God isn’t playing games with us. He’s not opening the door to reveal to us the limitless spiritual blessing he has just to slam it shut and proclaim “Psych!” As Father he wants to give us what we ask of him… and he will.
There’s no excuse for our lack of prayer. God has what we need and, as Father, he gives us what we need when we ask. How will we change our prayer lives in light of these realities?