You’ve heard it said that there are three answers to prayer. God sometimes says “Yes.” Sometimes he says, “No.” And sometimes he says, “Wait.” This passage tells us there is always one answer to prayer. “Yes.” But it may not be the “Yes” you expect. It’s better!
And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” Luke 11:9-13
These few verses follow Luke’s version of the Lord’s prayer. In it Christ instructs us to pray for God’s honor, pray for God’s kingdom, pray for God’s provision, pray for God’s forgiveness and pray for God’s protection. If we could just remember that each day, our prayer life would be revolutionized. Jesus then goes on to let us know that God is a good God who wants us to ask, seek and knock. God wants us to approach him. And then he shares the promise of these verses is Yes!
God is so good, Jesus reminds us, that He always answers our prayers. But look how he answers. “how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” It almost seems, at quick reading that God gives a replacement gift. After all, what if I’m asking for a job? What if I’m asking for a relationship to be healed? What if I need physical healing? Why would I ask for God’s Spirit? Why would I want him? I want, no I need God’s good stuff.
What God is promising is the best answer ever! It is the ultimate “Yes!” He is giving His active, present, powerful self! Wrapped up in the Spirit is every good answer to prayer – most we haven’t even thought of.
The Spirit is the One who is active in the world. He is the One who moves mountains, heals diseases, establishes Kings, works the work of reconciliation. He is the One who empowers the Word of God. He is the One who gives life to the dead. He is the One who prays, when we are blind to our real need. He is the One who preserves and protects our souls for eternity.
Without the Spirit, the things we hope for are pale substitutes for life. With the Spirit, we have the very active, powerful, loving presence of God. Without the Spirit, a relationship may plug a hole, but with the Spirit it gives new life. Without the Spirit a job provides a paycheck. With the Spirit, a job is a calling to bring eternity to someone else’s world and meet your needs. Without the Spirit, physical life with its pains, is temporary. With the Spirit, our physical lives are a journey toward Christ-likeness.
You see, Jesus is not pulling the old bait and switch. He is promising, “you pray, you get my Spirit.” And when we have God’s Spirit in us, we have the same Spirit who moved in creation, reached out in redemption and secures us for glory.
In this season of gift giving and receiving, I encourage you to pare down your list. Ask for the One who will change everything! And when you do, the answer will always be “Yes.”
“Father, thank you for being a good and gracious Father. I confess that in my praying, I’m short sighted and earthbound. I pray today for your most gracious gift, the Holy Spirit. Spirit, I ask that you fill me. Work in and around me. Transform my life into a life-giving vessel. Meet my need, so others may see your love at work. Father, thank you that the Spirit lives in me by faith in Jesus Christ my Lord. Be glorified as I listen, follow and learn from your Spirit. Amen.”
Thank you friends for reading, commenting and sharing. Blessings to you this Christmas and may the Spirit of God be with you, as you seek Him.