Saturday, 6th Week of Easter
“Whatever you ask the Father in my name he will give you.”
The only people who experience the goodness of God are those who try to relate to God rather than to use God. Of course, it is a vicious cycle. What do I mean by this? The times when we are most likely to turn to God are the times when we want or need something. And yet if we turn to God just to make a deal, we are tempted to stop there. When this happens, we do not experience God’s goodness. The goodness of God is experienced in the long-term friendship rather than in the short-term deal.
In our daily, persistent relationship to God in prayer, worship, and service, we gradually learn that the goodness of our Lord is our strength in good times and in bad times. God is our friend at all times. At all times, God shares his goodness and love with us!
I have heard people talk about their experiences of disappointment in prayer. Someone said to his pastor, “I felt the need of God. I prayed for something to happen, and it didn’t. Prayer failed.” “No, Sir,” the pastor said, “I think that you did not want God… You wanted God to do something, and that’s different.” “You have missed the purpose of prayer: to be in harmony with God… to have a sense of God’s presence… to feel the assurance that God is in, around, and greater than any circumstance… that, come what may, we belong to him and underneath are his loving arms.”
Prayer is not magic. We cannot expect to receive whatever we want from God just because we ask. There are many people who feel that they can change God’s mind by their prayers. They think they can twist God’s arm and get what they want. They hassle and haggle and bargain with the Lord.
More often than not, when we pray, we think we are in business with God. Being very human we bargain only when we are in need. Once the need is satisfied, God is somehow put on hold – at least until the next time. We are to be people of prayer not only when we are in need but at all times. It is not that God needs our prayers; it is us who need to pray.
The Lord Jesus invites us to come to God to form a friendship rather than to make a deal. In the long run, a friend is better than a deal.