You have a loving, generous Heavenly Father, who longs to give you good gifts.
Do you cast your eyes toward Heaven and think, "God wants to give me good gifts - after all, he is my father"? Truly, have you ever stopped and thought about the nature of the Father's heart toward you? It seems that God is portrayed as 'Father' in the Old Testament rather sparingly, but when Jesus started teaching, it was his favorite way of referring to God. In Jesus, we see the heart of the Father, and we also see relationship to the Father exhibited in bold loving ways. "Father" is uttered by Jesus 165 times in the gospels.1
In fact, it is one of the reasons we ought pray, and never grow faint of praying, because we have a good Father who longs to hear and answer our prayers. Stop and consider how many prayers offered by you or even for you that God has answered. Seriously-stop and think. I'm afraid that we forget so much.
But God wants us to remember and to continue to tell the stories, the miraculous, the merciful that has been wrought by his gracious thoughts toward us in answer to our prayers. One of my favorite Old Testament stories is the scene where Joshua had the people gather memorial stones to mark God's hand of protection, to set as monuments to tell future generations of his faithfulness2. [read the story in Joshua 4.1-9] Love that. When we talk about God's provision-how he has shown up-how he has sustained us, it builds others' faith, and rekindles our own.
You see, God promises that he hears and answers our prayers, but he is desirous that we seek him, and that we do so in earnest. So Jesus says,
Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find;
knock, and it shall be opened unto you ~
That is how I memorized it--from what my mama called the one true Bible-the one Jesus used, the King James Version. Love my mother, but the King James was not published until 1611, and it was in English! The New Testament was written in Greek and Jesus spoke Aramaic; so much for the King James being the one and only true Bible!
Nonetheless, Jesus' invitation to pray is so compelling, is it not?
Another translation of Matthew 7:7~ "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you." NIV
In reality the Greek verbs Jesus used-ask, seek, knock-were in the present imperative forms, which means Jesus was telling us to keep on doing these things. Take a look: "Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. [I don't know about you, but I need this reminder to keep on praying for some things, like my sons who seem so far from God]
Jesus explained: "You parents-if your children ask for a loaf of bread, do you give them a stone instead? Or if they ask for a fish, do you give them a snake? Of course not! So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him. NLT
How I love this passage! First, I love it because it shows the heart of our God, our loving Heavenly Father, who longs to give us good gifts. Because I have four children and five grandchildren for whom I would give my life, I can relate to Jesus' point here. Of course, I want to give them good gifts; I want nothing but good things for them. But I hear Jesus saying, 'Ah come on, Girl, you think you want to give them good things? You don't know the half of what I want to give them!' And that is my second reason for loving this passage: Jesus' teaching promises that
God answers prayers. He answers the prayers of
mothers and fathers crying out to him for their sons
and daughters who seem lost to him right now. He
hears the prayers of wives who have husbands who
give little regard to a relationship with God . . . for
single people who would love to have a life partner.
God hears, God answers.
We pray...God hears, and he answers the prayers of his children. He answers because he is our gooood Father.
Sing this song to him, ‘k? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qlsQrycKKsY
1 - "The Fatherhood of God," Bible Study Tools
2 - Joshua 4.1-9
3 - Matthew 7.7-11, NLT