1 Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.”
2 Jesus told them, “When you pray, say:
‘Father, uphold the holiness of your name.
Bring in your kingdom.
3 Give us the bread we need for today.
4 Forgive us our sins,
for we also forgive everyone who has wronged us.
And don’t lead us into temptation.’”
5 He also said to them, “Imagine that one of you has a friend and you go to that friend in the middle of the night. Imagine saying, ‘Friend, loan me three loaves of bread 6 because a friend of mine on a journey has arrived and I have nothing to set before him.’ 7 Imagine further that he answers from within the house, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children and I are in bed. I can’t get up to give you anything.’ 8 I assure you, even if he wouldn’t get up and help because of his friendship, he will get up and give his friend whatever he needs because of his friend’s brashness. 9 And I tell you: Ask and you will receive. Seek and you will find. Knock and the door will be opened to you. 10 Everyone who asks, receives. Whoever seeks, finds. To everyone who knocks, the door is opened.
11 “Which father among you would give a snake to your child if the child asked for a fish? 12 If a child asked for an egg, what father would give the child a scorpion? 13 If you 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?”
Clearly the disciples believed that something they admired in Jesus came from his praying. They wanted to learn from him—they wanted to be more like him. In verses 9 and 10, Jesus did not mean that if we ask God for a solid gold Tesla full of thousand-dollar bills, God must give it to us. But he did mean that God will give “good gifts” (by God’s definition, not ours!) when we ask. Verse 13 offered the ultimate good gift: God will always give the Holy Spirit to anyone who asks.
Dear God, thank you for inviting me into the ongoing conversation with you that we call “prayer.” Help me never be too busy, or too shy, to bring you big or little concerns that are on my mind. Amen.
At the annual Resurrection Rummage Sale, I came across a unique children’s "book" about a friendly dinosaur that loved doorbells called “Bessie the Knock-Less Monster.” The author, Mr. Uhr, is owner & proprietor of a doorbell store called Mood Rings – “If you’ve got the time, we’ve got the chime.” I thought he might help us better understand today’s passage.
DL: Mr. Uhr thanks for your time. Tell us a bit about yourself
Buzz Uhr: Please. Call me Buzz. I’ve been fascinated with doorbells since I was a kid. For centuries, most homes had a doorknocker on the front door. However, as homes became larger, twist doorbells or chimes were needed to announce visitors. The electronic doorbell was invented in 1831, which allowed homes, stores, & offices to know when visitors had arrived.
Today, we have all sorts of designs & features: We have our stylish Fashiona-bells, our models with a low price-point, the Afforda-bells, &, for our religious friends, our Para-bells.
DL: As we consider today’s passage, what stands out to you?
Buzz Uhr: Jesus is telling His followers to not be timid in prayer. Don’t sit outside the door wondering if you should bother God. Ring the doorbell. Pull on the chime. Boldly go to God.
Excitedly shout to God your wildest hopes & dreams. Cry with God when you are mourning or sad. Laugh with God when you are amused. Scream at God when you are angry or frustrated. Rejoice with God when you are happy or celebratory. Reach out to God when you feel lonely or isolated. Smile with God when creation wows you. Weep with God when you are feeling guilty. Lean on God when you are fearful. Trust in God when all others have failed you. And when words are inadequate, go to God with your moans & groans; He will understand us. Just. Go. To. God.
DL: Agreed. Jesus also reminds us of God’s great love for us by sharing the parable of the neighbor getting up in the night to answer the door. If that neighbor was willing to sleepily trudge to the door at 2 a.m., just imagine the lengths God would go for you.
Being a father of 2 teen-aged sons, that middle of the night gig is a great example of sacrificial love. Instead of sharing a story about the boys, which would be low hanging fruit, I’ll tell a story on myself. When I was a teenager I was out late & to my horror realized I had forgotten my house key. I had no choice but to reluctantly ring the doorbell. Dad came downstairs to let me in. I apologized for waking him up. He replied, “That’s okay. I had to answer the door anyway.”
Buzz Uhr: That’s like the old preacher story about his parishioner complaining that his neighbor was pounding on his door at 3 a.m. Luckily, the parishioner was already awake practicing his tuba.
DL: If you don’t mind me asking, why do you have a black eye?
Buzz Uhr: I was doing a tricky installation the other day & slipped on my ladder. My face slammed right into the casing. I guess you could now say my face rings a bell.
Would you like a chocolate cake treat for the road?
DL: Say, are those…
Buzz Uhr: Yep. Hostess Ding Dongs.
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