Friday, May 10, 2019
7 And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
Yet James 2 tells us that: “… you do not have because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.” But if God already knows what we need, why pray at all? These two passages seem to be saying opposite things.
Have you ever had a relationship where one side doesn’t communicate very well, or maybe not at all? It’s hard to get to know the other person, who they are, what they think, how they process information, what they like and what they don’t. Well even though God knows all about us, He has still given us a choice, no matter how long we’ve been saved, for us to get to know Him. And for sure, we can get off track from time to time. Do we sometimes talk too much? The short answer is YES! But Jesus is referring to rote predetermined sentences – like reading a book, sentences without meaning, context, or depth, thinking the words will do something on their own. The words are only a tool to express what is inside, what is our heartfelt desire, what are our passions.
When we have a relationship with another person, what makes that relationship a success is that not only do we talk, but we listen. We want to know what makes the other person tick. What motivates them. We may ask them “Do you want to go to a movie? Do you want to go to dinner? Do you want to go to the beach? Do you want…. But do we ask “what would you like to do?” We can fill up so much of our vocal space with talk that we never listen. Or are we just so important and all-knowing that no one has anything to offer us? That’s called pride, self-centered, arrogant, and boastful – exactly what Jesus was getting at in today’s scripture.
So yes, God knows our needs before we ask, but He wants to have that successful relationship with us – because He loves us and wants to have that dialog with you and me, like He had with Adam when He walked in the garden in the cool of the evening. A close relationship, where we can talk about our needs and wants, but even more our thoughts, and desires, our fears, and our joys. Someone who “… a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” Pr 18:24
PRAYER: (this song was written 117 years ago – how pertinent it is today)
I come to the garden alone, While the dew is still on the roses, And the voice I hear falling on my ear, The Son of God discloses… And He walks with me, and He talks with me, And He tells me I am His own, And the joy we share as we tarry there, None other, has ever, known!
He speaks and the sound of His voice, Is so sweet the birds hush their singing,
And the melody that he gave to me, Within my heart is ringing . . .
And He walks with me, and He talks with me, And He tells me I am His own,
And the joy we share as we tarry there, None other, has ever, known!
Words and Music by C. Austin Miles, 1912