Daily Prayer Reflection: What Are We Asking For?

“And I tell you, ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened...If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?” Luke 11:9-10,13

Ask and you will receive... I think this may be one of the most hopeful and yet disheartening verses of Scripture for many people. Hopeful, because Christ makes us a great promise. Disheartening because we stop reading after two lines and misunderstand him. So many times I've been asked 'why, if we pray and are faithful, do our prayers go unanswered? God promised to answer, that we would receive what we asked for honestly in prayer!'

If we read the full passage here, however, we see that what Jesus promises us, what it is that we should be asking for, is the Holy Spirit. Ask for the Spirit and you will receive. Seek the Spirit and you will find it. Knock at the Spirit's door, and he will answer. Ahhh...that's right, God is not a genie. We don't simply make our wishes and demands known in order to have him grant them. God most certainly answers all our prayers...it's just that he answers them according to His will, not ours, so sometimes the answer is "no"...or at least, "not yet."

The great lesson of this passage for me today is that what we should be asking for with more desire is the Holy Spirit - that is the great gift that God has for us...his own Spirit that lives with us and in us. Through the Holy Spirit, we grow closer to the will of God so that our deepest desires mirror his more closely. After all, what God desires for us is what in the end is most fulfilling. So...what are we waiting for? Ask, seek and find!

Come, Holy Spirit!