Journal Luke 11 (all references are from the ESV; changes in punctuation are mine)
Scripture: “And (Jesus) said to them, “Which of you who has a friend will go to him at midnight and say, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves for a friend of mine has arrived on a journey and I have nothing to set before him.’ And he will answer from within ‘Do not bother me, the door is now shut and my children are with me in bed. I cannot get up and give you anything.’
I tell you, though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his impudence he will rise and give him whatever he needs. And I tell you: Ask and it will be given to your; seek and you will find; knock and it will be opened to you….What father among you, if his son ask for an fish…will give him a serpent; or asks for an egg will give him a scorpion.
If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?” Luke 11:5-13
Observation: What kind of impudence do we need to exercise to persist in prayer? What shall we ask for? What should we avoid asking for? What should be my expectation (if I am to have any expectation at all)?
Application: Is this the flip side of “name it and claim it? Is there any kind of justification that “name it and claim it” is a valid position?
Nope, sure isn’t. But why isn’t it?
I am pretty sure the answer is found in the condition of a heart. Is it a heart of humility or of pride?
First part of the story: There is a guy who has a predicament and he goes to his friend to ask for assistance. The guy being asked is cranky and doesn’t want to get up and get the household opened up again. But—because the first guy apparently doesn’t have another option he is insistent. The second guy gets up and gives him what is asked for so that he will leave him alone.
Second part of the story: Making it real for the reader. Here’s the comparison: Will you (the reader) be so callous as to substitute dangerous stuff for the stuff asked for?
The comparison continues: If you wouldn’t do that, why do you think God will do that? So then: Ask, seek, knock and find the Goodness of God.
The stories then becomes about what we should think and do, not what God is supposed to do.
The “Name it/Claim it” error is rooted into assuming an obligation of God towards Man by His Word. It is seen as a formula to take advantage of God. “If Jesus is King, then I am a Prince.” “If God owns everything, then as an adopted child, I own it as well. I claim my inheritance…” and other such drivel.
I should ask in prayer. But asking for stuff should not be the sum total of my correspondence with the Most High. What should be my prayer life? Practice not doing the above for one…
Prayer is hard. Learning to pray and pray well is a lifetime of practice. It is in the attitude of prayer where I have found that my Old Man, my sin nature, comes out in force. How is it manifested? By not having anything to say in my prayers other than “give me a fish and an egg please.”
James 4 tells me I ask and don’t receive because I ask wrongly. It is not how I ask (the process) but how I ask in attitude (foolishness, coveting stuff, and pride).
How did I begin to change my ways? One way recommended is pray through scripture. Take Psalms for instance: As I read through Psalms out loud, I change reading what David wrote to reading like I wrote it—I personalize my reading. Just a technique to change my sinful ways and to read life into my foolish heart.
James again: Humble yourself under the mighty Hand of God. Good advice and here is a little more. Humble yourself and try to get ahead of humble—you really don’t want God to humble you. Learn to pray rightly.
Prayer: Lord God: You see all my ways. You see all my needs. You also see all my wants. You are without limits wiser than I am. Please increase wisdom in me. I ask for more of the Holy Spirit. AMEN.