In Luke chapter 11 Jesus encourages us to pray audacious prayers. He tells an interesting story (look it up!) and goes on to say, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.”
In Britain we are not encouraged as children to be audacious! In fact if my son or daughter asks too frequently and annoyingly, or “shamelessly” as the story in Luke 11 suggests, I’m more likely to say NO!
However, in this passage, God is encouraging shameless asking!
Paul Black, one of our elders at Brixham Community Church just preached on this topic. He gave us three very helpful things to focus on to help us pray more shamelessly!
1. Remember how great our God is! He made the heavens and the earth! He’s pretty awesome! Nothing is too difficult for him! He is able to do more than you could ever ask, think or imagine!
2. Remember what God has done. Remind yourself of the amazing things he has already done in your life and thank him for them. You’ll find it helpful to read Psalm 77:10-20.
3. Remember the difference between ‘knowledge about’ and ‘experience of’ and realise that you don’t just have to know about God and his word – you can know him personally (and if you’ve bothered to read this far I assume you already do!). In Daniel 11:32 it says that the people who KNOW their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits! As illustrated with the vine and branches idea, it’s imperative we stay close to God.
In his book, “Think!”, Dave Gilpin outlines five ways to become more audacious in our prayer lives:
1. Ask according to His will
It’s worth starting with the prayer in Psalm 25: “Show me your ways, O Lord…” Then remember that Jesus said that we can ask anything in his name and he will do it! (John 14:14). “In his name” is not a magic formula for the end of a prayer, though. In the Bible, the name of a person indicates their personality and nature. So praying in his name is praying in line with his will (not yours!)
2. Ask frequently
“Be unreasonably persistent, like a dog with a bone. Remember that the word ‘ask’ carries the idea of continually asking!” (Gilpin, p. 50)
3. Ask abundantly
I.e. ask “anything” in his name!
4. Ask obediently
“Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from him anything we ask, because we keep his commands and do what pleases him.” (1 John 3:21-22) Going back to my two children, if I gave one of them a job to do, let’s say clear the table after dinner, and they don’t do it, how will I react when they ask me for some money to go and get an ice cream? “Do what I told you first, then I might think about your request!”
5. Ask whatever you desire
Last week I talked about the vine and branches. Gilpin’s re-working of John 15:7 I read today says, “If you make God your house and not your hotel or hostel and make his word live and breathe in you, then your desires count. Tell God about them and He will do it.”