If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him! Luke 11:13
When the family of Pastor Jack Loo immigrated to America, his mother announced that they would no longer speak Czech but only English in their home. His grandparents who came with them, however, didn’t much like the idea. They knew that God spoke Czechoslovakian so why bother to learn English.
As Jack grew older, though, he forgot his native language, and since grandfather didn’t learn English, gradually they were less able to communicate. However, Jack remembers that his grandfather almost always wore a sweater with large pockets which were usually filled with candy, so when the lad saw his grandfather he always explored the sweater pockets to see what was in them.
With nostalgia he says, “I got to know my grandfather’s pockets very well, but I regret I never got to know my grandfather very well.”
There are times when we are very much like that in relationship to our Heavenly Father. We want His blessings and gifts more than we want to know Him personally, so in prayer we come to Him and recite our want list much like a little child does as he sits on Santa’s knee and recites his Christmas wish list. But we never get to know Him very well.
A. W. Tozer used to say that when people claim the promises of God in prayer as they ask for something, they are going about it the wrong way. It isn’t the promises of God which are important; it is character upon which the promises rest. He’s right. It is true, when God makes a promise, He stands behind it. As Paul wrote, “For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us” (2 Corinthians 1:20, KJV). In other words, you can count on what God has said He will do.
Getting to know God is the key to understanding the heart of God, which is the source of the abundance of blessings He pours out on our lives, unworthy as we are. While some are more interested in the help God provides, knowing Him is the key to understanding the nature of prayer and how this brings us into harmony with the will of the Father Himself.
There is one truth, however, that is well illustrated in Jack’s story of searching for what was in grandfather’s pockets. Those pockets were filled with candy for his grandchildren. It was because of a relationship that he stuffed candy in them. Had the neighbor’s boy checked out those pockets, grandfather’s generosity would have been much subdued.
The bottom line is that God answers prayer for His children because He has adopted them into His family, and as such He provides for them, He cares for them, He hears their cries and provides comfort and strength.
Is God only a cosmic grandfather with a long beard, too old and too distant to be of much help, other than now and then allowing us to explore his pockets to see if anything is still left there of interest to us? Some think so, but the reality is that He never changes. He is no less today than He was yesterday, and He will be no more tomorrow than He is right now.
Get to know the Father, and when you do, you will be quite amazed as to how He provides for His own. And when you know Him as Father, you can cry, “Abba,” or “Daddy” and pour out your heart.
The good news is that God knows our hearts and sifts through our desire for the candy, giving us what we really need–which is far better than that which tastes good but is quickly gone. Think about it.
Resource reading: Luke 11