One cold evening during the holiday season, a little boy about six or seven was standing out in front of a store window. The little child had no shoes on and his clothes were mere rags.
A young woman passing by saw the little boy and could read the longing in his pale blue eyes. She took the child by the hand and led him into the store. There she bought him new shoes and a complete suit of warm clothing.
They came back outside into the street and the woman said to the child, “Now you can go home and have a very happy holiday.”
The little boy looked up at her and asked, “Are you God, Ma'am?” She smiled down at him and replied, “No son, I'm just one of His children.”
The little boy then said, “I knew you had to be some relation.”
That little boy points out for us what it means to be the children of God. There are Godly signs to show that someone is related to God. There are certain characters of being children of God that we can identify; and there are certain expectations of how the children of God should behave. Compassion is one of God’s characters; and being compassionate is one of those expectations of Godly people. God is a compassionate God. And God’s children should be compassionate too. Children of God are Godly.
The first reading reveals how compassionate God is. God invites Abraham to walk along and he confides to Abraham that he is going to wipe out the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. Abraham obviously has a good relationship with God. He walks and converses with God in a very friendly manner. Abraham is also compassionate very much like God. He knows that God is a compassionate God. He knows that God would not carry out his punishment to the people in those cities if he could find reason to save them. For the sake of only ten good people God would be willing to not destroy the city.
Jesus also assures us how compassionate God is. It is very consoling to hear Jesus’ promises, “I tell you, ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds, and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened” (Lk 11:9-10).
Isn’t that great? It sounds wonderful. Ask and you will receive! But have you received everything you’ve ever prayed for? I don’t think so. There are many things we have asked God for that we haven’t received. Some people have lost hope and faith in God because their prayers were not answered. To understand Jesus’ promises, we need to look at the whole context of the prayer that Jesus teaches us.
There are three parts in the Our Father prayer.
Four elements in the first part are about God.
The second part is addressing to our physical needs. And there is only one thing:
The third part is addressing to the spiritual needs for our souls. And like the first part, there are four elements in this part:
So the focus of Jesus’ promises here is not only on the physical needs. No! Jesus is not promising us that if we ask for any of the physical needs, we will get it. He is promising that if we ask for all these elements in the prayer of the “Our Father” then we will get them. Yes! Ask for the coming of the Kingdom; ask for the name of the Lord be known; ask for his will be done; ask for salvation of our souls; ask for the protection from evil and from temptation, ask for daily bread, and we will get them. Knock at the door of heaven, and we will be allowed to enter. This is the most important prayer for everyone. That is the reason why Jesus emphasizes it so strongly.
Our most important concerns should be on God and the Kingdom of God and on the spiritual needs of our souls. The physical needs are not the most significant or most important one in the whole prayer. Acknowledging God as our Father who is in heaven is important. The salvation of our souls is important. Heaven is our home where we belong.
“Hollow be thy name.” We are here to make God known to the world. It is important that we live our life in ways that will manifest God’s name and God’s glory to the world.
“Thy Kingdom come!” Our desire and passion in life is for the sovereignty of God. The focus of our effort and labor in the world is to carry out God’s will.
“Give us this day our daily bread!” This is the least important element in the prayer; but for all of us, this is the most important part of our lives. Working for bread takes most of our times and consumes most of our energy. We spend most of our times in life to work for daily bread. Many people and nations go to war because of “daily bread.” Our concerns are not the same with the spirit of the Prayer that Jesus teaches us. We just take time to work for daily bread and let God take care of his Name and His Kingdom. We let God take care of his will, and we mind our own business of making bread for ourselves. We take good care of our bodies and neglect the wellbeing of our souls. In fact many people are providing temptations and leading others into temptations rather than avoiding them; and we often are inviting ourselves into temptations.
Jesus is promising us that if we are truly and sincerely praying the Our Father prayer, our prayer will be granted. The Our Father prayer is the key to open God’s heart. It is the key to open the door of heaven; and it is the key to open God’s pantry for our daily bread. How many of you are praying the “Our Father Prayer” everyday? How many times do you pray this important prayer?
It is very important that we pray this prayer every day. This is the prayer that will get us into heaven; because Jesus has promised so. “Ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds, and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened” (Lk 11:9-10).
A little boy was standing on the banks of the Mississippi River waving and shouting at a steamboat that was going by. He was beckoning the steamboat to come to shore. A stranger came by and said, “That's foolish young man. The boat will never come ashore because of your request. The captain is too busy to notice your waving and shouting.” Just then the boat turned and headed for shore. The little boy grinned and said to the stranger, “The captain is my daddy.”
The captain of the universe is God. God is our Father. He pays attention to our petitions because he loves us. He knows we cannot save ourselves. He knows we have nothing, and we can do nothing to save ourselves; therefore, He will do everything he can to save us. The only thing he is waiting for is for us to come to Him and ask for help.