Monday, October 17, 2016

Do I Have To Pray To Get the Holy Spirit?

Luke 11
11 “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? 12 Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13 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!”

In Luke 11, Jesus is teaching on prayer and he gives them a model of what to pray in the Lord's Prayer. And then he moves to the famous passage where he summarizes how we should pray, "Ask and it will be given to you, seek and you shall be find, and knock and the door shall be opened to you." His point seems to be that we should persevere in prayer. It is active more than passive. He seems to suggest that prayer could mean more than a yes or no. It could be a process of knocking on doors to see if they open. Or, seeking godly advice from other Christians to clsrify how God might be answering our prayers.

Then, the text above says something very interesting. Luke is teaching us how God responds to us in prayer. He gives the example of a father who does not give their son a snake when they ask for food. Meaning a parent will give their child what they need not try and trick them. And if they are like that as earthly parents, how much more is the Father in heaven going to give his children what they need.

But then Luke says something that seems to not connect with the passage. Luke says, "how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him." One might ask, "Why does Luke bring in the Holy Spirit as a way of the Father answering prayer."

First of all, we know that the Holy Spirit is intimately connected in and with our prayers. Paul says in Romans 8 that the Holy Spirit intercedes with groanings that we don't even understand when we pray. So in this sense, we could say the Holy Spirit helps us to pray in a way that is alignment with God's will but we may not even understand. Also it shows that the Holy Spirit is not something we have to earn but given to us. It is a gift from the Father, much like an answer to prayer.

The Father denying one of his children the Holy Spirit is like an earthly father giving his child a scorpion when they ask for an egg. Luke is also reminding us that although we need many things in this life in a material sense, our deepest needs are spiritual. Although our material needs are important for all of us, our ultimate need is a relationship with God that leads to eternal life. The Holy Spirit is simply the best gift we could ever have and God gives it to us even when we didn't know we needed it.

The Holy Spirit is what every Christian relies on to live out the Christian faith. God knows we need it and has given it to us liberally even if we haven't asked for it yet.

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