Now Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.” 2 And he said to them, “When you pray, say:
“Father, hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come.
3 Give us each day our daily bread,
4 and forgive us our sins,
for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us.
And lead us not into temptation.”
5 And he said to them, “Which of you who has a friend will go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves, 6 for a friend of mine has arrived on a journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; 7 and he will answer from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed. I cannot get up and give you anything’? 8 I tell you, though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his impudence he will rise and give him whatever he needs. 9 And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. 11 What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; 12 or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
We found out later, after he ran off, that Brad was in fact not a good person, not a good person at all. He had been abusing and dealing in drugs. This explained much of his erratic behavior and the frequent absences from the responsibilities which God had given him. Yet he loved his little girls. How does one explain such contradictions? I suppose the evolutionary biologist would speak of how we instinctually are better able to survive as a species because those who cared for their children passed along their genes. I rather prefer to think that God has written on our hearts a natural law in which parents, even profoundly broken and sinful human beings, care for their children.
Jesus notices this fact of fathers who still manage to care for their children. He uses it to tell us something more about God. For the same God who wrote that truth on our hearts lives it out in his dealings with us. Jesus tells us that even wicked people like us will give something good to our children. God, who is goodness personified, will give the Holy Spirit to us, the greatest good of all.
In this passage, Jesus is encouraging us to pray. His most potent encouragement is that God really wants to help you. Jesus notes that wicked judges and wicked people will still often hear a request and respond appropriately. How much more so our God, who made us, loves us, and given us life itself. Why not talk to Him today. Ask Him to help you. He wants to help.