D. L. Moody used to tell the story of a little child whose father and mother had died and who was taken into another family. The first night, at bedtime, she asked whether she could pray as she used to. They said, “Oh, yes!” So she knelt down and prayed as her mother had taught her; and then she added a little prayer of her own: “O God, make these people as kind to me as father and mother were.” Then she paused and looked up, as if expecting the answer, and then added: “Of course you will.”
Expect God to Respond
How sweetly simple was that little one’s faith! That is the spirit in which God invites us to approach him. When Jesus taught his disciples to pray, he taught them to approach God as a loving father (Matthew 6:9). Furthermore, Jesus emphasized that if an earthly father would give good gifts to his children, we can confidently expect our heavenly Father to respond generously to his (Matthew 7:9-11).
Prayer is not a performance or going through religious motions. The value of prayer does not lie in the number of prayers or their length. Its value lies in the great truth that as God’s children we have the privilege to unburden our hearts and make our requests known to God. Jesus instructs us to ask, seek, and knock. The object of asking is to receive. The aim of seeking is to find. The purpose of knocking is to arouse attention and get in.
God’s Heart can be Touched
The aim of praying is to get the thing prayed for, just as a child’s cry for food is getting food. A child asks because he knows that the parent is in the habit of granting the child’s request. When we desperately need something we go to God for it. Prayer is a helpless and needy child crying to the compassion of a father’s heart and the power of a father’s hand. The answer is sure to come because God’s heart can be touched and his hand can be moved.
Help is On the Way
In Luke 18:1-8, Jesus taught us to pray and not lose heart. Toward this end he told a parable about a widow with an adversary. She repeatedly sought justice from a local judge, but her requests were met with indifference. However, because the widow kept coming to him, the judge finally relented and helped her. By contrast God is much different! Jesus said, “Will not God give justice to his elect, who cry out to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? I till you, he will give justice to them speedily” (Luke 18-7-8).
Does your Father in heaven see your situation and care about you? Of course he does. Will he help you when you ask him? Of course he will.