Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"
Have you ever prayed for something good, and gotten "No," or received something disappointing, for an answer? There's an intriguing promise Jesus made in Matthew 7:9: "What man is there among you, who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone?" We've heard much about parental abuse, but where is the father so hard-hearted as that? Yet our arch-enemy wants us to believe that when we beg our heavenly Father for something good, something we want that would be good for us, He either won't listen or He gives us something disappointing.
Jesus knows how we are tempted; He Himself once cried out, "My God, why have You forsaken Me?" (Matt. 27:46). Psalm 22 says that He complained because it seems God wouldn't hear or answer His prayer. And because Jesus knows how we are tempted, He assures us in Matthew 7:11, "If you then, being 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?" And please note, He says that to everybody--the beginning of this Sermon on the Mount says, "And seeing the multitudes, ... He taught them" (Matt. 5:1, 2).
You don't have to earn His favor by doing good works before you pray to the One that Jesus says is your heavenly Father, any more than a child must earn the piece of bread he begs from his earthly father.
But then you ask, Isn't there a catch somewhere? Some fine print? Yes, and here it is: "He who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him" (Heb. 11:6). That's what we need to do before we pray!
—Robert J. Wieland
From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: October 23, 1997.
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