Torch, Spring-Summer 1999

of the relationship we have with Him. As Green points out, Jesus' illustration teaches us that, "because God will arise and act on behalf of those in need, [we] ought to bring [our] requests to him."7 Jesus goes on in verses 11-13 to give another illustration to help us understand the intent of prayer. He asks His listeners, "Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 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!" Wait a minute, someone might be thinking, that's nice that God wants to give the Holy Spirit, but right now I need money to pay the bills or relief from this ailment I've had for such a long time. Again, this is an instance in which our intentions in prayer may not align with God's. Often we focus on urgent requests (and rightly so, as the Lord's Prayer affirms), but we may be actually shortchanging ourselves by asking God for a quick fix to an unpleasant or uncomfortable situation. We can ask for deliverance from a problem or healing from an illness, but by doing so we may miss a greater blessing God has in store. God is more concerned with our eternal welfare, as evidenced by the (continued on page 13) Torch 9