Monday, October 31, 2011

"The Fruit of Prayer" Part 23

- 23 -
Prayer and The Cheerful Giver
God desires to answer our prayers far more than we desire to pray them.
"Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: for every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

"Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask Him?" (Matthew 7:7-11).
Our spiritual enemies would have us view our Heavenly Father as distant, dispassionate and reluctant to respond to our requests. Conversely, the Bible provides a completely different perspective, declaring that God loves our prayers, loves to answer our prayers, and is ever ready to hear and respond. Indeed,
"God loveth a cheerful giver" because He is Himself the most joyous and generous of benefactors (II Corinthians 9:7).
Think of it. The Apostle Paul said that "He giveth to all life and breath and all things" (Acts 17:25). The Lord Jesus amplified the point, proclaiming that God makes the sun to shine and the rain to fall not only on the just, but on the unjust (Matthew 5:45). And our very existence requires God's ongoing gift - "by Him all things consist" (Colossians 1:17). By any measure, that's generosity, that's readiness to answer, and that's a cheerful giver!
Of course, we're not silly about the matter. We recognize - gladly - that God answers prayer according to His perfect wisdom, and in His time and way. We also understand that we can "ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your own lusts" (James 4:3). We take prayer seriously, viewing it as a sacred trust that we would never want to violate by fleshly frivolity or greed.
Nevertheless, we maintain the Biblical perspective that looks into our Lord's heart and sees a willingness to answer prayer that transcends our most fervent desire to pray. We also rejoice in the truth that we cannot even attain to asking or thinking the "exceeding, abundantly above" measure of generosity that motivates God's giving (Ephesians 3:20). Yes, our Heavenly Father is the cheerful Giver, and He would have us know Him thusly in order that we might be His cheerful recipients. Because the heart that continually asks and receives of God becomes the heart changed into His likeness of self sacrificial generosity and abundant willingness to joyously give and give and give.
"God... giveth us richly all things to enjoy."
(I Timothy 6:17)

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