#378 - THE FATHER GIVES GOOD GIFTS (23/6/21)
In this week’s section of The Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 7:7-12), Jesus is teaching us the importance of persisting in praying for things. Persistence is built on confidence. If we don’t have confidence that God is good, why would we pray? If we don’t have confidence that He keeps His promises to hear and answer prayer, why would we persist? If we don’t believe that He’s a Father who gives good gifts when we ask, why would we pray? Jesus wants us to get this. He says to us,
“Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 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 good gifts to those who ask him! “ (Matthew 7:9-11)
Jesus uses this everyday illustration that everyone will understand. Even if we are not a parent, we understand the truism that when we love someone, we seek to do them good. Jesus calls us evil because in comparison to God we are evil. In comparison to God’s goodness, we are more like that dictator whose name I’ll not bother repeating and yet we give good gifts to those we love. So let’s not be surprised or in any doubt that the Father, who gave His only Son to save us, will also give us good gifts when we ask Him.
Those who persist in prayer know God as their Father. They know they are loved and heard. The objective test of our faith in Jesus’ words is how we are actually persisting in prayer.
A Key skill is to look for the good gifts that the Father wants to give us in His word. The bible is replete with promises and good things for us. Let’s read the bible looking for wrapped presents that we can open in prayer.
An example would be what Paul writes about the fruit of the Spirit. What are the nine good things that we could pray for - and pray persistently for - from this treasure trove?
‘But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.’ (Galatians 5:22-23)