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-- © GodSpeak International 2005 --
-- Do not republish without written permission from <copyright@godspeak.org> --

Author: Teresa Seputis <ts@godspeak.net>

Prayer-School Course #31

Thoughts From Teresa

By Teresa Seputis

Lesson 10
Sons, Not Beggars

I recently read a Bible study where they advocated approaching God in prayer like a beggar, but approaching Him in worship like a son. That study really rubbed me wrong when I read it. That is not all the mentality that God wants us to have in prayer. It has been coming to my memory and bothering me on and off all week, so I think that is what God wants to talk about today.

There are two mentalities for prayer. One is the beggar mentality and the other is the sonship mentality. Let's look briefly at each of them.

The beggar mentality says, "I know I don't deserve to receive anything from God, but I also know He is merciful. So I am going to throw myself on His mercy and beg for what I want from Him. Maybe He will give me what I ask for. If He doesn't give me precisely that, then I hope He will give me something."

This mentality is derived from the repentant tax collector parable in Luke 18:9-14. A Pharisee came in his own self-righteousness and arrogantly boasted in prayer about his works, but God was not impressed with him or his prayers. Then a sinner came in humility, understanding his sin and offense against God. He begged God for forgiveness that he knew that he did not deserve, and God heard his prayer and forgave him.

Some people take this parable to teach on how God wants us to approach Him in humility, coming with our requests like a beggar approaching people for money on the streets. But this parable is not talking about how Christians should ask God for things in prayer. It is talking about two unsaved people coming to God for salvation ... one of whom comes to God on their own terms and the other on God's terms (which today would be through the blood of Jesus.) God only receives those who come to Him in humility by accepting the sacrifice that Jesus made for them on the cross and believing/receiving Jesus. This parable was never intended to teach us to stand far away from God and not dare look at Him when we make our requests, like beggars.

Once we have been adopted into God's family, we are not beggars anymore, now we are sons (and daughters). And we approach our Father on a whole different set of terms than a non-family member would. We are to pray as sons and daughters, looking to our Father with expectancy, knowing that He loves us and desires to give us good things. Jesus made that clear in Matt 7:7-11 when He said:

"7Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. 9Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? 11If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!"

For those of you who have children, think of how they behave when you have been away for a trip and come home. They crowd around you in eager excitement. They want to know what you brought them, because they expect that you thought of they while you were away and got a present for them. They might even put their little fingers in your pockets or travel bag looking for their present. They expect to receive a good gift from you because they know you love them and love to do good things for them.

And that is the same mentality that God our Father wants us to have in prayer. Hebrews 4:16 tells us, "Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need." Whey do we expect to find grace in a way that allows us approach God in confidence? Verse 15 answers that question.. it is because of our relationship with God. It says, "For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are-yet was without sin." We are able to approach God with confidence because we are in right relationship with Him through the blood of Jesus. God has adopted us and He has become our loving Father. That is how we can have confidence that He will help us when we need it from Him.

Romans 8:15 tells us, "For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, 'Abba, Father.'" And Galatians 4:6 tells us, "And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, 'Abba, Father!'"

Jesus told us to approach God in faith in our prayers. We don't make requests assuming He is going to say "No," coming like beggars for the things we need from God. Jesus said in Matthew 21:22, "And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive." Did you get what He said? He said that we should expect our prayers to be answered. In fact, look what He said in Matthew 18:19, "Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven."

Does that sound like Jesus expects our prayers to be answered? It sure does to me!

Look at John 16:23-24, where Jesus said that we are to approach the Father directly and make our requests to Him, and He will answer our prayers. It reads: "And in that day you will ask Me nothing. Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you. Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full."

Some of you may be wondering why you are not experiencing that type of answered prayer. There are a few different reasons for this. First, you have to be in sonship with God for Him to answer your prayers. If you do not belong to Jesus, you need to fix that part. If you do belong to Jesus but you are not currently in right relationship with God, then you are like a rebellious child. God probably wants you to get back in right relationship with Him before you bring your requests to Him.

Chances are that if you are on the prayer school list that neither of those two things apply to you... you are probably saved and living in right relationship with God. But there is a third factor that plays into this. In order to get your prayers answered, you have to be seeking God's will first/foremost in your life. It is when we pray in accord with God's will that we can have confidence that He will answer our prayers.

The disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray. This was His answer from Luke 11:2-4:

2So He said to them, "When you pray, say:
Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
3Give us day by day our daily bread.
4And forgive us our sins,
For we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us.
And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one."

I am not going to do an exhaustive study of the Lord's Prayer here -- whole books have been written on that subject. But I am going to mention a few points. First, in verse 2, Jesus tells so to come to God in that Father relationship. We won't necessarily get our prayers answered when we approach Him as beggars. Instead, we are to come to Him as sons expecting good things from our loving Father. We see that in the phrase: "Our Father in heaven."

Second, we come in a posture of inviting His will to be done on our life and seeking His will. We stand in agreement with His will and we yield to it. That is from, "Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.'

Third, we recognize that God fully intends to provide our needs, including our physical ones (daily bread) and our spiritual ones (receiving forgiveness from our sins) and our emotional ones (us forgiving others). This lines up so totally with what Jesus said in Matthew 7:11 "...how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!"

We also recognize that He protects us from the evil one and helps us to overcome temptation ... e.g. He gives us victory in spiritual warfare. He wants to make us victorious in our prayer life, when we come to Him as a dear child expecting good things from our Father.

-- © GodSpeak International 2005 --
-- Do not republish without written permission from copyright@godspeak.org --

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