One of my favorite parts about summer is Pierce being home in the mornings. Normally he’s already out the door and in his classroom before my alarm even goes off. But during the summer, we get to spend the mornings together, part of which includes praying and reading the Bible (usually on our back porch if it’s not already blistering hot).
But after I had finished praying for us one recent morning, I opened up my Bible to Luke 11 where Jesus talks about prayer. Maybe it was the fact I had just opened my eyes from praying or maybe (definitely) it was God trying to get my attention, but I realized how often my prayers were lacking two essential ingredients.
Luke 11:8 says “…he will not get up and give you the bread because of friendship, yet because of your shameless audacity…”
I hate feeling like a nuisance, so I often approach prayer with a sense of cautiousness. And yet in this story, it wasn’t friendship or even compassion that led the owner of the house to open the door – it was the “shameless audacity” of the knocker. I shy away from praying bold, loud, persistent prayers, as though I don’t want to nag or annoy God. However, asking confidently and repeatedly doesn’t exasperate God but rather expands our faith as we actively demonstrate our continued trust in him.
Verses 11-12 say “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion?”
There’s not much room for interpretation in this request. If you ask for a fish, it’s probably because you want a fish. Yet I hesitate to name what I want because naming gives it power and makes me feel vulnerable. Therefore, my prayers are filled with “whatever you want, God” and “only if it’s your will.” While it’s good to pray in a posture of surrender, God also desires for us to specifically tell him the desires of our hearts. If we’re in step with the Spirit, the hope is that our desires align with his, so we can honestly ask for what we want.
Fear is ultimately at the root of the timid and broad brushstrokes I paint with my prayer. But we serve a good God who wants to hear from his children. A God who isn’t annoyed by our persistence or offended by our asking.
May that knowledge lead us to ask with specificity and knock with shameless audacity.