Prayer not only requires trust but takes us to a deeper trust in God.
To illustrate this I want you to think of a young boy walking along the street with his father. The two are having a wonderful time together and suddenly the father stoops down and swings his boy into his arms holding him high in the air. He then kisses him and tells him that he loves him, and puts him back down on the ground. Puritan pastor Thomas Goodwin once spoke of this and then asked the following question. “Tell me this, was the young boy more a son in the father’s arms than he was down on the street?” Do you see why he spoke of this and then asked that question? His answer was that objectively there is no difference, the boy is always his much beloved son. But subjectively there is all the difference in the world, for when the boy was in the arms of his father he was experiencing his father’s love.
Prayer is like this.
Objectively all believers are owned and adopted sons and daughters of God, this is true, beautiful and praiseworthy. But subjectively we can feel the warm embrace of our heavenly Father’s arms. How? Certainly through reading and meditating on His Word, sure. But when the reading and meditating over the Word is coupled with prayer the heart is drawn heavenward to God and we experience subjectively what is already objectively true of us. We experience being lifted off the ground by our Father’s arms. Didn’t Jesus say in Luke 11:11 and following, “What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, 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!”
Because our heavenly Father loves us so, we can come to Him with anything on our hearts just as a child can come to their father. Think of some of the examples in Scripture we see of the gutsiness people had with God in prayer.
-Abraham asking God to save Sodom and Gommorah (Gen. 18:16-33)
-Moses pleading with God to have mercy on stubborn Israel (Ex. 33:12-22)
-Habakkuk and Job boldly questioning God’s purposes.
There are many others. In all of these moments God not only heard the prayers of His people, He answered. Lesson? God responds when His own adopted children cry out to Him. Yet, if this gutsiness in prayer isn’t coupled with a deep trust in God we could go very wrong in prayer thinking that we can muscle down God’s arm in prayer. This is why the image of the child with his father is so helpful for prayer. That young boy knows his father loves him. Therefore he trusts and knows can ask his father for anything, but that’s not all he knows. He also knows he can trust his father in however he answers that request.
Do you know these things? In prayer you’ll be reminded of these things, and through prayer these things will increase in you.