When Jesus says, “… your father knows what you need before you ask him,” do you realize what an astounding statement this is? Do you see what a plate-tectonics shift this could be, this should be, in our approach to prayer? The implications of this incredible promise for our approach to prayer are enormous.
I decided a few years ago to believe what Jesus believed. Sounds obvious, but we dethrone Jesus more than atheists do, because we simply do not believe what Jesus believed. So if Jesus’ bold statement is true, how many times do you need to pray to your Father about things you want or worry about?
“Need” is the key word. Many times? Once? Actually none. He knows what you need before you ask him. I am trying here to take all the anxiety out of your prayer life. Please, hear me on this: You can go to your Father as many times as you want – as much as your heart desires. Wants to … desires to … but not needs to.
But what about the parable of the Unjust Judge and the Widow? Isn’t Jesus telling us to wear down God as the widow did by continuing to go to him until he relents? (Luke 18:1-8) Or the Parable of the Friend at Midnight, where the friend keeps knocking on the neighbor’s door until he relents and gets up to give him what he wants? (Luke 11:5-13)
No! In both these parables Jesus’ message is the exact opposite. There is no need to babble on, trying to wear him down. (How utterly ridiculous is that thought, anyway?)
Open your heart to him. Share your heart with him. And remember, prayer is about much more than asking for things. It is more about “a conversational relationship with God talking with him about what we are doing together.” (Dallas Willard)
But when you pray, go into your room, close the door, and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.—Matt. 6:6
Because he knows what you need before you ask him, block out all the distractions of worry, and the cacophony of the culture, and be still with him in the secret places in your heart and mind.(Your secret prayer “room.”) And then the promise?
Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
He will reward you with much more than just what you need; he will reward you with the desires of your heart. (Psalm 37:4)
Next Week: Your needs and the desires of your heart