Caryl and I have found every season of life with kids to be interesting. My recent thoughts on the importance of prayer has caused me to reflect on raising a family. There are times that as an parent you need to craft an answer to be age appropriate for your child. There are also times when you are able to read situations and know what your child needs. The challenge as your kids grow older is to assess their situation so as to not step in too soon which can squander or eliminate a growth opportunity.
I recently was reading Matthew 6. This portion of Scripture is part of a longer section known as the Sermon on the Mount. It you were to visit Israel today; you can visit the site that is believed to be the hillside amphitheater where Jesus taught the truths found in Mathew chapters 5-7. It is in chapter 6 that we find Jesus’ instruction on prayer. It is here that Jesus teaches, “But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” (Matthew 6:6) He reminds us that prayer is not to impress others but to interface with our Creator. The context speaks of the importance of prayer. It is a few verses later that Jesus provide a template for praying. Many misunderstand the “Lord’s Prayer” as it is known. It is an example of prayer that serves as an outline to help us be more effective when praying. Think of it as a template to be filled out with your specific situation and needs.
What stood out to me specifically in the passage was the portion where Jesus teaches, “Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” (Matthew 6:8) It is a verse that should cause you to pause. If God knows everything, then why does he not provide our needs. It is a very important question. Maybe you have wondered about this too.
The simple response is illustrated in my opening comments. Our Heavenly Father is waiting to see if we desire His help. There are many times that Caryl and I did help our kids. There were also times that we did not help them. There are also times that we have offered help but waited for them to ask. There were times that the situation is not something that we could fix or did not have the resources needed or it was best for our child to work through on their own. But lack of resources is not a limitation for the Lord who has unlimited resources. It has been said “God can respond it three ways, “Yes, No or Grow!” The Bible reminds that one of the main reasons that Lord does not help is because we do not ask! Another reason is the request would become a hindrance to us. Many times He is working in response to our prayers, but it is not the right timing.
God encourages us repeatedly to bring our needs and situations to Him. But we must see Him as our loving Heaven Father that always works for what is best for us. “So Why Pray if the Father knows what we need?” Jesus’ teaching reveals that the Father’s being aware of our needs should encourage us to pray! It reminds us of His intense interest in our day to day lives and His desire to help. He is just waiting for you to ask!
-Pastor Joe Parkinson