Thursday, August 9, 2007

Luke 11

Last night at prayer, I spent some time reading and praying through Luke 11, where Jesus is teaching on prayer. First he shared with the disciples a model of how to pray. We all know that as "The Lord's Prayer." I love that prayer - it comforts and soothes my spirit like few other "scripted" prayers ever do. I think it's because it is a combination of the most basic yet most profound expressions of all I will ever want and need in my relationship with Jesus and the world around me. I also love it because it reminds me of my roots: I remember saying it during mass as a child, flanked by my parents in our little 70's "modern" Catholic church or by my grandparents in their hulking, ancient Catholic church. The continuity of mass being the same wherever I went was a thing of beauty to me. I feel like "The Lord's Prayer" anchors me.

After meditating on it for a while, I moved on to the teachings in Luke 11:7-11. Here, Jesus is talking to the disciples about the Father's heart for His people. He likens God here to earthly fathers - reminding them (I'm sure they connected with this analogy because many of them were fathers themselves) that a father loves to give good gifts to his children. And that if a child is bold enough to ask, the father doesn't disappoint. That got me. Bear with me, I'm brewing this one in my brain now, too!

I'm very blessed to have a father who loves to give good gifts. In fact, on vacation we were reminiscing about some of my dad's travels when he was in auto-parts sales. I have a distinct memory of a beautiful, shiny (fake I'm sure!) gold ring with a flat stone on top that had been painted with a pretty horse head. He got it for me in my "horse stage" when he was on a business trip to wherever the Kentucky Derby is held. I remember other gifts, things that I needed or wanted, things that I'd hinted at and things that I outright asked for. One year, I really wanted a bike. We were in Bible school at the time and a bike wasn't really in the budget. But I got one. I still don't know how or from where it came, but I got the bike. And our family cabin was purchased by our parents for the whole family to have a touch point, a place of connection. A gift to facilitate retreats, future relationships, and memories for all the kids and grandkids in years to come.

As I prayed, I felt the Lord stirring this in me: with this great experience of a earthly father (and mother, I can't leave her out!!) who loves to give good things to his child, why do I have such a hard time asking my Heavenly Father for those things that are good for me? Why do I struggle to articulate what is in my heart for my walk with Him? Or my family life? Or my marriage? Or our finances? I have no problem praying with great confidence and even authority for a young mom about to welcome another little one to the family. Or for a friend struggling with her marriage. Or for The Boss in this season of upheaval and change at work. But if you were to ask me what I wanted from My Father for my heart, I would have a hard time answering that. I do have a hard time answering that.

Pastor Brother-in-law asked us last night what God was speaking to us during the quiet, individual portion of prayer time and I couldn't answer. I couldn't say out loud that "God showed me from Luke 11 that I have a hard time believing that He wants to give me good things when I ask for me." And believe me, for those of you who know me, it's not like I was at a loss for words. HA! It was more like I couldn't even admit that out loud yet. And I'm still working through what I think. Is it that I have a hard time believing that He wants to do it? Or that I have a hard time actually asking for it? Or is it that I don't even know what it is I really want?

I don't have any particular answers to these questions. I do have a lot of questions, and would love to hear from you. Do you wonder over this passage? Do you have different life experiences that make you respond to this passage differently? What can I learn from your thoughts on this? I'm still brewing, and I know it's something that HE started. After all, I've read that passage a thousand, million times. It never sent my mind percolating in this direction before! And like the previous brews, I'm sure this is gonna be a good one!


Pups n Horses said...

I think we all have moments, days, weeks etc...when we struggle with this. Sometimes I think its because we are afraid that he won't answer or not give the answer we were expecting so in the end its easier not to ask at all. After all why should we set ourselves up for disappointment, its so hard to let go and to take that chance. I go through periods where I wonder - why would he bother, there are so many in worse situations and the list goes on. But then after digging in deeper, and standing up to the enemy called doubt I can believe, and I do believe. But when the enemy of doubt reaches out to me I do need the strength of my friends and my heavenly Father to chase him away. I can't do alone, but then no one can.

The Gang's All Here! said...

Pup, that was excellently said! I agree, it often is doubt that holds me back. And fear is often his bedfellow, eh?! Thanks for sharing - it's so meaningful to have you on this journey with me :)