Richard J. Foster: Asking and Authentic Dialogue

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Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. Mark 11:24

“Do you know why the mighty God of the universe chooses to answer prayer? It is because His children ask. God delights in our asking. He is pleased at our asking. His heart is warmed by our asking. When our asking is for ourselves it is called petition; when it is on behalf of others it is called intercession. Asking is at the heart of both experiences…

God desires authentic dialogue, and that as we speak what is on our hearts, we are sharing real information that God is deeply interested in… Just as we long for our own children to share with us the petty details of their day at school, so God longs to hear from us the smallest matters of our lives. It delights Him when we share.”

Richard J. Foster in Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home (New York: HarperCollins, 1992) 179-181.

It seems like the older I get the more I pray. In reading a chapter on petition and in Foster’s classic work on prayer, I was reminded of the generosity of God related to our asking and how He welcomes authentic dialogue.

When we need anything, big or small, God wants us to ask and wait patiently. That’s petition. When others are in need, we get to lift them up to the Father. That’s intercession. We get to engage in both and there is no limit to what we can request.

The irony is that our Heavenly Father knows what we need before we ask but wants the conversation with us. I can relate as I age as a father. The older I get, the more I cherish conversations with my grown son and daughter. Authentic dialogue is rich.

So what’s the lesson for us today related to generosity? Tell the Father what you need: wisdom for life’s challenges, provision for each day, strength for a task, relief from pain or suffering, or anything else. No request is too big or small.

Also, Jesus said to keep it simple and real (Matthew 6:7-8). Engage in authentic dialogue on big and small matters. That means share your joys, sorrows, frustrations, and exasperations. And, rest in the generosity of the God who longs to hear from us and care for us.