Learning How to Pray – Part 3

Written by Neil Silverberg

November 14, 2022

In the previous blog, we examined the ‘a’ in the acrostic ASK. We saw how God gives us some of his treasure simply based on our asking. That’s because He is a good Father who knows what we need before we ask Him. So, the question remains, ‘why do we need to ask if he already knows what we need before we ask Him.’ The answer is that even though He knows what we need before we ask Him, He wants us to ask because He is interested in cultivating relationships. In other words, asking makes us dependent on Him.

But God doesn’t make his treasure available to us based on asking only. If my son asks me for a dollar to buy a pop, it is doubtful I will require him to fast for a week before I give it to him. But as the value of the treasure increases, so does the necessity of cultivating an appropriate attitude. In other words, when he asks for a soda pop, I will give it to him, but if he asks for a brand-new car, it is unlikely that I will immediately hand over the keys. Even though I may want to give it to him, I must be certain he has the maturity to handle it. Otherwise, it might destroy Him.

This can be seen in the next letter in the acrostic, ‘s’. While some treasure is given to us by simply asking, other treasure is ours only as we learn to seek it. I learned this early on as I developed the teaching ministry God gave me. While the gift of teaching I received was indeed a gift given to me by God, I learned that to be effective, I needed to seek God diligently through prayer and study. In other words, I had to learn to wait on my ministry.

The word seek appears in several biblical texts, calling for cultivating the pursuit of God Himself, not merely what He can give us. Perhaps the most well-known verse containing the word seek is found in Matthew 6:33: “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Jesus is making it clear in this statement that you can’t have the fruit of the kingdom without the kingdom. But that is what many try to do to no avail. But it is only by putting God and his interests first will we ever hope to obtain the riches of the kingdom.

King David was a man who learned to put God and his interests first. He states this boldly in Psalm 27, verse 4:

“One thing have I asked of the LORD,
that will I seek after: that I may dwell
in the house of the LORD, all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD
and to inquire in his temple.”

David was a man who was willing to be reduced to one thing! As a great king, he had riches, political power, and all of the other perks of being king of Israel. But he knew that none of these things could ultimately satisfy. Instead, he sought after God alone with all his heart and mind. Like Moses before him, who made the pursuit of God his primary pursuit when he asked Him to “show me your glory, David made the knowledge of God his primary pursuit.

And David was not the only one who sought the knowledge of God as his primary pursuit. Luke 10:38-42 contains the story of Jesus spending time at the house of Martha and Mary. When the Lord entered their house, they both instinctively began to serve Him, but each had very different ideas of what that service looked like. Martha was busily engaged in preparing the Lord the best meal he ever had while her sister Mary sat at his feet, drinking in his life-giving words. When Mary ignored helping her sister prepare the meal, Martha was grieved and burst into the room, chiding the Lord, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” How did the Lord respond? By telling her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary.” Some other translations state the Lord’s words this way: a few things are necessary—really only one!”

Jesus is telling Martha (and us by extension) that there is only one thing that matters, and that is to place seeking after the knowledge of God as the supreme task of human beings. So, I ask you today, are you willing to be reduced to one thing?


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