Asking The Right Question, A Prayer Conundrum
"If you then, evil as you are, know how to give good gifts [gifts that are to their advantage] to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask and continue to ask him!" (Vs 13-Amplified)
Since the main content of prayer is in our asking; how do we know if we are asking, not only in the right direction, but the right question?
In the movie 'I Am Robot', the main character played by Will Smith is trying to solve a crime. He has a holographic image from the victim (a friend) and as he is viewing the message, he is told "he has to ask the right questions".
Jesus is teaching about prayer and from reciting how to pray, he then turns to telling some stories (a typical Jewish custom) starting in vs. 5-8 about "friends" and about bread. The one friend comes at a late hour, needy, desperate to help another friend who has arrived at his home from a journey. He is persistent even after the other says it's too late, but because they are "friends" he brings the bread.
Now we all know the Lord's Prayer or technically the disciple’s prayer off by heart, because it is the most recognized prayer around the globe. In the prayer is the mention of "bread", or our daily need. This instance in the story is about more than daily, but an extra ordinary need that the man wants fulfilled by his friend and won't stop until he has it. He is shamelessly persistent and insistent and the friend gives him as much as he needs. Shameless, or could care less if he wakes the neighborhood. An adjective that describes his character, that he knows his friend will meet it. Persistent, is an action verb, ready to overcome any obstacles. Insistent, is a noun, to maintain a stance and not back down. Do we know God as Father, enough to know in the depth of our heart that he will be happy to hear from me, no matter when I come, that I am not disturbing him from any other urgent business that would stop him from giving attention to me?
Jesus is showing us that he knows the mind and heart of the Father.
Now we go to vs. 9, ask and keep on asking and it "shall be given you". Ask for what? What are we seeing Jesus talk about?
The Prayer in the previous verses is on how to approach God, the introduction, a daily encountering with a friend, and reverent appreciation for who he is and that his will is to be done on earth as it is in heaven. So what is his will? We recognize that you are the Holy one and that you reside in a place of power, (Heaven) majesty and where things are perfectly accomplished. We are here on earth now but, your Kingdom has come amongst us in Jesus and we desire that same will to be done in our midst as it is in heaven for we know now that this is your perfect will. Let it be done and start with me first. Do you recognize that within you is the Kingdom of God and that you are an Ambassador of that reality? That you have been predestined from before time began to be the inheritors of his kingdom, beginning with a partial representation of that Kingdom in and through Holy Spirit. Until you do your prayer life might be one of futility. It is not about you as much as it is about who and what resides with power within you and that you ARE a child of this most glorious established powerful Kingdom and that a portion of this empire resides within you in the form of His Spirit. Jesus did not leave us barren. What we do individually with what we have received will transfer into 20, 40, 60, 100 fold.
I have come on a long journey from a place of absolute misery and shame, of darkness and horror, of sorrow, weeping and death. I have arrived and my friend Jesus has gone to the Father (his friend) on my account asking, seeking, and knocking until he has all that I have need of to procure my Spirit filled life.
His example to us… Seek and keep on seeking and you shall find; knock and keep on knocking and the door shall be opened to you.
What am I to be seeking? The will of God? the way of God? the person of God? more of his friendship? more of Holy Spirit? God has everything I need for my life to be right in him and to be right before others that I should be unashamedly seeking to keep up with where he is and what he is doing.
Knock on the door? What door? Heaven’s door? What do I need to open for me? Where have I come to that there is a door here, and what can I expect is on the other side? Am I arriving at a friend’s house? Regardless I am to knock with an attitude of persistence and insistence.
Vs. 10, "everyone" who asks receives; he who seeks and keeps on seeking, finds; and he who knocks and keeps on knocking, the door "shall" be opened.
Vs.11, 12 deals with fathers and food. Bread vs. stone, fish vs. serpent, egg vs. scorpion. What expectancy do I have in my heart that I will receive from God?
Jesus uses three staple food items. Bread, Fish and Eggs; you can live on bread but not a very balanced life; you can add the fish with the bread and the two are good together, but you don't want just that, so you add the third, egg... now you have variety and nutritional balance. Staples for your diet; morning, noon, and night.
Bread= word of God, great, but not complete. The WORD is incomplete without the SPIRIT to translate and vise versa. Bread is a by product of something that grows from a seed, it is worked for, planted, harvested crushed, separated and ground into flour for the making of the bread. Work involved; thought, process, desire, want, need, sustenance and the ability to have something to share with others. How desirous are we for heavens bread of life?
Fish= a created element, something that has to be sought after, requires a boat, caught in a net; it gives up its life, work, must be cleaned, and prepared for eating. Dried fish was a common staple food that would be carried with you, enough for a few days journey. What do we carry with us on a daily basis to help sustain our spiritual life?
Egg= a living byproduct, that comes by way of a created animal. It comes via the reproduction mechanism and in the form of a shell. This product can be fertilized to become a new chicken or it can have another purpose as a food group, an egg that has to be broken open to be enjoyed, with versatility and can be used many ways or as an accompaniment of the other foods. Variety; like the gifts of the Spirit to the church. Let me interject that we are also likened to the embryo of the chick, and we have going on within a growing process that needs to come to completeness. We must wait patiently until God is all in us before our coming out. We are often premature in our thinking and break out before our time and our immaturity or flaws in our character can crush others, but mostly will bring harm to ourselves. Many of us hang or get hung up on a doctrine, teaching, or elementary belief and stay there, bound and determined for our rights, opinions and judgmental attitudes to be voiced until Holy Spirit brings enlightenment to our mindset by way of conscience or conviction.
The bread is the word that comes from God as a seed into our hearts. Jesus is God in the flesh that we seek after and find and like the fish, he gives up his life for us.
The egg is the byproduct of Jesus, in Holy Spirit, he comes to us but must be opened, he is broken before us to find all that he is and the mystery of where he came from and what he is doing within us and how he does what he does.
God is the bread for our body, heart; Jesus is the friend and selfless redeemer of our soul and Holy Spirit gives us all the life we need for our spirit.
The bread we need daily to sustain us, Jesus has done everything and our redemption is solidly in place. Holy Spirit is part of our daily search for the eggs and the life giving force that grows within us preparing us for eternity.
There is much for us to learn of what is and is not acceptable to the Lord in our presentation of ourselves before him. Since we have been positioned as priests, know that there is a priestly call to be answered.
Are we giving thanks on a daily basis for everything that God has put into our lives; our completed redemption, forgiveness, love, grace, mercy, made to be family, an inheritance, and the Power in Holy Spirit to assist us in having the life God requires?
When God's children ask for the Spirit, they do, in effect, ask for bread; for the Spirit is the staff of life; he is the Author of the soul's life. If our earthly parents, though evil, be yet so kind, if they, though weak, be yet so knowing, that they not only give, but give with discretion, give what is best, in the best manner and time, much more will our heavenly Father, who infinitely excels the fathers of our flesh both in wisdom and goodness, give us his Holy Spirit.If earthly parents be willing to lay out for the education of their children, to whom they design to leave their estates, much more will our heavenly Father give the spirit of sons to all those whom he has predestined to the inheritance of sons.
Matthew Henry Commentary
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