A Fathers Heart{Matthew 7:9-11; NLT}
“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.”

It is important to remember that prayer changes us more than it changes the circumstances in which we live.  We often pray to get God to change our uncomfortable circumstances, but God wants to change our perspective.  God wants to create in us a heart that trusts Him more than we trust ourselves.

Through prayer God will change our hearts, our perspective, our world view, and align our will with His will. This change allows us to understand what is on God’s heart and what His will is for our lives.  Understanding God’s will helps us to see the way God is working in our lives, even when He doesn’t intervene in our lives the way we desire.

In the end prayer helps us to experience God’s love.  God blesses our lives in so many different ways, but we don’t experience them as God’s love because our perspective isn’t right.  As God changes our perspective through prayer our hearts are opened to experience the all the ways God is constantly showing us His love.

In this teaching Jesus appeals to the moral standard of  a good parent. We know that good parents do their best to provide for the needs of their children.  Not only will parents do their best to provide for their needs, but parents will do what they can to give their children their wants.  Parents want their children to experience the best life has to offer .

A father, in the days of Jesus, would not give his son a stone for supper after the son worked all day in the field and asked for some bread. To do so would be cruel.  Likewise a Jewish parent would never offer an eel or snake (both of which were unclean and forbidden to eat) to the the child who asked for a fish. To do so would be a mockery of the child’s request and God’s law.

The application of this teaching is that if people who are corrupted by sin can give good gifts to their children, we can trust our heavenly Father to provide what we need. Just as a human father will give his child what is best for the child, even if the answer is no, God will give us what is best for our lives. I know it may not seem like this is true all the time, but as we look back on those circumstances we will come to see that God gave us exactly what we needed at the time.

One thing that is important for us to remember is God’s concern for our lives isn’t that we have a happy life now, but that we will be molded into the likeness of Jesus. This process is not each, and it requires time, but hopefully this truth will help us not to become discouraged with things don’t go our way.

A sign that we are maturing as Christians is that we have a greater trust in God.  Time and experience leads us to understand that God loves us and desires the best for our lives.  In the moment this may not always seem to be the case, but as our loving Heavenly Father He knows exactly what we need, and He will give us exactly what we need.

The more we trust God the more we experience His grace, love, and blessing in our lives.  We can trust God because He has a father’s heart for us.

Questions to consider:

  • Do you have a hard time trust God? Why?
  • How do we learn to trust God more?
  • What part does prayer play in developing our trust in God?
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