“Do you want a special coffee, Ezra?”
I had convinced my friend Katie to come to the coffee shop where I work and bring her son with her. He likes to get a “special coffee” (chocolate milk) when he comes. Instead of responding to my question, he buried his head in his mom’s shoulder.
“I’m not going to make it for you unless you tell me ‘yes!’”
Kids are so illustrative of spiritual truths. I think I understand things the best because of kids.
I’m really, really bad about remembering to pray. If I’m being entirely honest, it’s not a discipline I’ve developed very effectively in my years as a Christian, because much like the practice of reading the Bible, once I realized that it wasn’t something I did to be saved, I stopped prioritizing it. When I realized that God wasn’t sending me to hell if I don’t read the Bible and pray at 6:00 AM, I didn’t do it. They’re disciplines I am still developing.
I have this really bad habit of telling a friend I’ll pray for them, when in reality I just make a mental note and say to myself, “I hope things work out.”
But this thing with Ezra reminded me that sometimes, we just need to ask God for things.
I knew Ezra wanted his chocolate milk. I knew him well enough to know that. I could have just gone ahead and made it, but I wanted to produce in him the habit of saying, “yes, that’s what I want.” I don’t believe it’s any different between us and God. I believe God wants to intervene when we’re having trouble at work. I believe God wants to heal relationships and make people more like Jesus. I believe God wants to heal the sick and raise the dead.
But Jesus talked a lot about asking.
First, He said that the Father knows what we need before we even ask Him (Matthew 6:8.)
He also said that if we ask, it will be given to us (Matthew 7:7-8,) the Father will give good things to those who ask (Matthew 7:11,) if two agree on anything they ask, it will be done for them (Matthew 18:19,) and that whatever we ask in prayer, we’ll receive (Matthew 21:22.)
Friends, God is a Father, and He’s a Father that loves His people, and wants to move on their behalf. I loved Ezra and I wanted to make him a chocolate milk, but I didn’t do it until he asked me. I’d contend, based on what the Bible says about it, that all God wants is for His kids to ask Him to move. I say this to myself, but also to you: let’s remember how important it is to ask God in prayer.