When Prayer Exposes Our Vulnerability
This comes from Matthew 7:7-11 – Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. You parents—if your children ask for a loaf of bread, do you give them a stone instead? Or if they ask for a fish, do you give them a snake? Of course not! So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him.
To ask, seek, and knock is to put yourself in a vulnerable position. And really, you would rather not. Right? There is too much fear involved. After all this is your beloved child we are talking about! You must do something to try to control the situation, try to control the outcome. It is easier to trust yourself than it is for you to trust God.
But this is a truth. Fear lies so you start to believe that fear itself will keep you safe and will prevent bad things from happening. You use this fear to try to help you gain some control over your life. When it is really fear that is controlling you.
So we don’t ever really ask, seek, or knock even though scripture promises that if we do we will receive, find, and have an opening. We don’t do this because deep down we struggle with trusting God.
For whatever reason you have, you keep your distance—stay out of vulnerability–because you believe the lie that God has let you down.
Maybe you prayed and prayed and someone died.
Maybe your prayers were never answered.
Maybe you have father issues and can’t trust a father figure.
Maybe you’ve been hurt by a church or someone in the church and you’ve transposed that hurt onto God.
Maybe you feel shame for a current sin or a past sin.
A teen from my last church (with lots of father wounding) believes prayer is like that wheel on Wheel of Fortune. To pray you spin that wheel. But her wheel has 7/8 of it with a “no” and only one spot for a yes. Does that feel like prayer for you?
Whatever the reason, the real reason why you don’t ask, seek, or knock is because you don’t trust God. It seems especially hard to trust God with our children, right?
Which is why, I believe, Jesus included this analogy immediately after these instructions. He talks about how a parent is going to give his/her child something good when the child asks. This is no-brainer parent behavior, right? It resonates deep into our being that this is what love begets.
For Jesus to use this analogy directly after this teaching it is like he is saying, “Do you get it?! I know you have trust issues with God but really, it’s like what you would do for your own child. You do it. Trust God to do it.” Because a parent knows that child is worthy of love and belonging. Because God knows you are worthy of love and belonging.
Can you trust God to do it? Can you share those fears you wrestle with with God?
That question probably tugs at that uncomfortableness that vulnerability brings. This is a vulnerable question. It feels. It feels a lie which is deeply a part of you—but that lie is being called out. Can you trust God—now that this lie is out in the open?
Vulnerability is really a position of strength. Vulnerability is you are capable of being wounded because you are worthy enough to be out there. You are worthy enough for God to answer your prayers. You are worthy enough to receive. You are worthy enough to find. You are worthy enough to have that door opened for you. You are worthy of every good gift God has for you.
Worthiness is your birthright. You began your life with the breath of God inside of you so you could live. Now you are alive. You were enough the minute you were born.
You are worthy of the good gift God has for you.