do we believe that God answers prayer?

Don’t bargain with God. Be direct. Ask for what you need. This isn’t a cat-and-mouse, hide-and-seek game we’re in. If your child asks for bread, do you trick him with sawdust? If he asks for fish, do you scare him with a live snake on his plate? As bad as you are, you wouldn’t think of such a thing. You’re at least decent to your own children. So don’t you think the God who conceived you in love will be even better?

Matthew 7:7-11; MSG

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!

Matthew 7:7-11

In the unbelieving age in which we live, just the idea of praying seems strange to many. Even for us followers of Jesus, though it’s like the breath we breathe, a part of who we are, it’s not without great difficulty much of the time. We stumble over what prayers we might try to offer to God. Often it becomes more or less like just a plea for help, help for someone else or ourselves, or some situation in the world.

But to the question: Do we really believe God answers our prayers? James and the prophets tell us that it can’t just be any old prayer. Prayer submissive to God’s will, wanting to hear God, to get God’s answer. And to be at peace with that.

Jesus tells us here to keep asking, keep seeking, keep knocking, or simply to ask, seek, and knock. The Message tells us to be direct with God, to the point, specific, not beating around the bush. Dare to tell God exactly what is needed in another person’s life as we see it, or in our own. Of course God sees all, and will answer in time, already is answering. It may be as if nothing is happening, but God’s work is in the works.

Believing this in all our weakness, holding on to it, means that we just keep on praying about everything. Instead of taking matters in our own hands like we’re so prone to do, we just need to keep praying. Being specific. Patient. And keep on doing that. We will see answers. I know that not merely as something written down, but by experience. Though it still remains a struggle for me. And we’re to do this together, helping each other. Being thoughtful in that. The point that follows in this passage:

So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.

Matthew 7:12

In and through Jesus.