In Matthew 7, Jesus promised His followers, "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened" (vv. 7-8).

Notice that the promise of receiving, finding, and opening is attached to the command to ask, seek, and knock--to pray, in other words. Why would God command us to pray? Perhaps it's because He knows that we as humans so often don't.

These verses show me the heart of God wanting to give His sons and daughters good things. A child knows that the nature and temperament of their father or mother will determine how much they'll ask of that father or mother. If a parent is harsh and stingy about what they give and doesn't want to be bothered, a child will hesitate to ask them for anything. But if a parent is generous and kind and loves to give to their child, that child will ask a lot.

In the same way, how you pray is determined by your view of God. Do you view Him as harsh? Do you think He's ungenerous, vengeful, and hurtful? That's how the Greeks viewed their gods 2,000 years ago. Even to many Jewish people at that time, God was aloof and distant. The temple was partitioned into courts that only certain people could enter. But when Jesus died on the cross, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom (see Matthew 27:50-51). God was saying, "Because of what My Son has done, there's no longer any separation. You can come close and have intimate fellowship with Me."

I was so discouraged when I found out that the Jews sewed the veil back up, but I think we often do the same thing. God says, "I want intimacy; come close and ask, seek, and knock," but we put up barriers. Growing up, I was taught that you can't come directly to Jesus; you can only talk to Mary or the saints, who would then talk to Him on your behalf. But then I read Hebrews 4:16: "Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need."

God wants a relationship with you. He wants to bless and give. He wants you to come to Him and ask. So pray in Jesus' name--submit your requests to His will--and leave the rest to Him.

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