“You parents—if your children ask for a loaf of bread, do you give them a stone instead? 10 Or if they ask for a fish, do you give them a snake? Of course not! 11 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.
As I read the Sermon on the Mount there are several main things I see Jesus trying to point out. One is the connection of a relationship.
I could go over to my neighbor’s house, whom I seldom see, and ask him fire up his grill and cook me a hamburger because I’m hungry. Yeah, I could do that, and I would love to see him look at me and tell me I’m crazy. However, if I went upstairs and asked my wife to make me a hamburger because I was hungry, she would put down her book and do it for me.
What’s the difference in the two questions? It’s the relationship I have with the two parties. I’m not that close with my neighbor, but with my wife, we have a very close relationship.
Andrew Murray comments that Jesus is telling us the prayer of a child owes its influence entirely to the relation in which he stands to the parent.
Earlier when Jesus begins His message to those gathered on this mountainside, He tells everyone:
“God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God.” (Matthew 5:9)
I’ve mentioned it before, but it’s worth noting again that in the Old Testament God was the God of our Fathers, but in the New Testament, Jesus reveals God as a Father. He begins this imagery here in this beatitude. If I am a child of God, then that makes Him my Father.
Because of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we are put in a right relationship with God the Father, and the favor that God the Father shows Jesus, His Son, He now sends our way. This allows us to ask the Father for the things we need.
I can only think of the popular tv commercial: I don’t want to grow up, I’m a …. kid. You know. I don’t want to grow up and lose the simple faith of a child who is in awe of everything his parent does.
Could it be that the effectiveness of our prayers is found in the relationship that we have with our Heavenly Father?
How is your relationship with God the Father? Is there something separating you and God?