Prayer: Stones Or Bread?

Dear Ones:

No one can pray quite like the Lord Jesus.  If we examine His prayers, we find there a Divine deliberateness, and specificity, which is so simple that a child could pray it.  And yet, the profound significance, and effect of such praying, brings us to our knees, realizing that indeed, no one prays like Him.  It was in hearing the Lord Jesus pray, that one of His disciples said unto Him, “Lord, teach us to pray.” (Luke 11:1)  Will He teach us to pray?  In two Psalms in particular we find the Lord’s reassuring words:  “I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you shall go: I will guide you with mine eye.” (Ps. 32:8)  And in Psalm 25:8-9,”…Good and upright is the Lord: therefore will He teach sinners in the way.  The meek will He guide in judgement: and the meek will He teach his way.”  What do these verses reveal to us?  First of all, we have the need to be taught HOW and WHAT to pray.  Secondly, Christ is waiting to teach us, to instruct us.  There is NO unwillingness or hesitation on His part to respond to our request.  He only waits for the individual to be willing to be taught, and to ask for instruction.

Why is the teaching on prayer so very important?  Why was Jesus so very careful to give time to prayer, both alone and with His disciples?  The answer is simple…it is God’s way of bringing the blessings of heaven to the hearts and lives of men.  So, in Luke 11, not only does the Lord begin with what we call, “The Lord’s Prayer,” in order to give us a clear understanding of the priorities and direction of prayer, but then He goes to the very heart of faith in God for the prayer made.  He deals with the certainty of prayer, and this with the parable of the man who had a friend, who arrived at midnight from a journey.  The hospitable friend, not having any food to give him, went to the neighbor, and because of his persistence, the neighbor “…gave him as many (loaves) as he needed.” (v.8)  The application here is simple, and clear.   God answers the prayer of the earnest soul, who will believe God.  For, as Jesus said, “…everyone that asketh, receiveth.” (v.10)

But what of stones and bread?  The Lord Jesus takes us a step further in our understanding of prayer.   Not only are we to be “guided” by the truth of what He would have us ask, and, not only would He have us understand that God is faithful to answer the prayer of the “faith-filled,” persevering believer, but that the revelation of the heart of God is the greatest reason for believing God for the wonderful thing.  Our sinful nature, as compared to the pure, clear, loving nature of God, is simply “evil.”  Jesus said that, even with such a nature, we KNOW how to give good gifts to our children.  Even the natural heart would not give a stone to a child which asked for bread.  It is at this point that the Lord Jesus tells us that even though our actions are naturally “good,” (in the sense of seeking the well-being of the child), yet, the goodness of God falls into the category of the “much more.”  “How MUCH MORE shall your Heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him?” (v.13) Matthew writes, “…how MUCH MORE shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask Him.”  Here we are faced with the heart of God when it comes to the matter of prayer.  And what we see is a readiness to do the wonderful thing in answer to believing, persevering prayer, especially when we realize that we have nothing, and no bread to give.

Lord Jesus, teach us to pray, and to pray aright,  not in a whimsical way, but with deliberate certitude, trusting not only for the knowledge of Thy will, but for the strength to ask, and believe, and wait upon Thee, until we see Thy provision, Thine intervention.  “For Thine is the power and the glory forever.” Amen.

Love, Dad