MDB 4: Matthew 7

"If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him" (Matt.7:11)

Several things emerge from these words of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount:

First, prayer is asking the Father for help, to supply us with those things that we need. Jesus encourages us to believe that our father in heaven delights to give us what we need. When we don't receive them, it is either because we don't need them, or we don't need them yet. God is all-wise and knows not only what is best for us but also when it is best for us to receive them.

Second, asking our Father for what we need is not the same thing as twisting God's arm to provide for us what he otherwise would not grant us. The reason why some prayers are not answered is not because we have asked with sufficient earnestness; the reason may simply be that it is not God's will. Some think that prayer devoid of such qualifiers as, "If it be your will" are prayers offered with greater faith. But this is a misguided view. We are more than capable of asking for something we view as a "need" when in point of fact, it isn't. Our prayers can be sinful, too.

Third, prayer is based upon a knowledge of adoption as children of God, something which is the result of faith alone in Jesus Christ alone. It is an act of God's grace in which we are received into his family - a family in which Jesus is the Elder Brother. Fathers - good fathers - know how to give good gifts to their children and our Father in heaven knows this too.  It should make us bold in our praying.