If normal dads want to do what’s best for their kids, how much more should we expect the perfect, heavenly Father to always do what’s best for his kids? Jesus made this point to another audience filled with good folks like you and me. He said, “If you then, who are 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!” (Matthew 7:11).
Jesus starts his teaching on prayer by clarifying how he wants his listeners to view the God to whom they are speaking. Because your view of God will determine your practice of prayer. And your practice of prayer will reveal your view of God.
But Jesus doesn’t just tell us that we are talking to a God who is “Father,” so we know he is willing to help. He also tells us that we are talking to a God who is “in heaven,” so we know that he is able to help. “In heaven” isn’t meant to communicate distance; it’s meant to communicate competence. Because God is “in heaven,” he is unstoppable.
Jesus is connecting the identity of the one we are speaking to in prayer with the God who “is in heaven and does whatever he pleases” (Psalm 115:3 CSB); the one for whom “all things are possible” (Mark 10:27); the one who easily brought about every miracle we find in Scripture. His power is unmatched and unending. And he never needs a break when he does more in a moment than we can do in a lifetime.
Jesus wants us to know from the very beginning that we are speaking to a God who is endlessly capable and eagerly willing to do what’s best for his kids. He wants us to have so high a view of God’s power that we really believe he can make a difference in our inner thought life, health, relationships, finances, work life, and more, and a high enough view of God’s love that we really believe he is eagerly working to do what’s best in our lives.
Do you view God like this?
How do you know what your heart really thinks about God’s ability or willingness to help you with your problems and plans? Look at your prayer life. If you are daily asking God for help, you have a heart that believes in God’s ability and love. If you aren’t asking, you don’t.
When we say that we’re too busy to pray, our lives are saying, “It is more productive for me to get to work than to ask God to help me with my work.” That shows that we aren’t seeing who God is and what he can do rightly.
Jesus designed our prayer life to change our perspective. And at the heart of this change is a change about how we view God, from thinking he is unable or unwilling to help to knowing he is able and willing.
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 good gifts to those who ask him!Matthew 7:11
Our God is in heaven; he does whatever pleases him.Psalm 115:3
Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”Mark 10:27