Read: Luke 18:1-17
By: Pastor Jarren Rogers
“To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing.” – Martin Luther
I don’t know how my parents did it. I can’t imagine raising a child as annoying, needy, and as selfish as me. They are probably glad that they were able to quit taking care of me and allow my wife to take over.
I remember when I was a kid, we had this giant ceramic bowl that was perched on the top of the refrigerator just out of reach. Inside of this bowl was a mound of candy.
I never knew where the candy came from or why it never ran out but that didn’t matter. There was candy up there and I needed my daily sugar fix!
There were three ways that you were able to retrieve candy. The first option is the pastor’s kid, God-fearing, Christian child way. You simply go to either Mom or Dad and politely ask, “Mother/Father, may I please have a piece of candy from the candy bowl.” They would then consent to your request and would kindly retrieve the candy for you.
The second way was the sinner, ninja, thief, super sneaky, quiet way. This is where you peek out into the living room to see if your parents are paying attention. If not, then you tiptoe into the kitchen, quietly drag a chair in front of the fridge, climb up, stretch to reach the bowl, collect your prize, climb down, replace the chair, and then run like your pants are on fire with your M&M bag flapping in your greasy paw.
The final way was the annoying, beggar, I’m-two-seconds-away-from-sending-you-into-exile-and-disowning-you-way. This is where you confidently go to your mom/dad and ask. “Mother/Father, may I please have a piece of candy.” They say no. So, you quietly return to your room. Wait five minutes and then reappear in the presence of your selected parent. Once again ask, “Mother/Father, may I please have a piece of candy.” If the answer is no then, once again, return to your room. Wait five minutes. Then, come back to your parents and prompt the question once more. Rinse and repeat for anywhere between three to five hours until your request is approved.
In Luke 18:1-8, Jesus tells us how we are to go to our God in prayer. It seems as if Jesus here is saying that my third approach to getting candy was biblical! In this story, there is a widow who continues going to a judge and desires justice. Again and again, the judge refused until, because of the widow’s perseverance, the judge finally gave in to her wishes.
“And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? 8 I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly” (Luke 18:7-8).
When you are praying for something, do not consider it done with one prayer. Pray as if you are annoying God with your request. Pray consistently and constantly. Keep bringing your request before God until He answers it and then give Him thanks.
God will never be annoyed by our prayers, but we should give it our best shot.
4 responses to “The Candy Bowl”
Thank you for your thoughts and ideas on how to pray. I wanted to offer an alternative view on this scripture that I think is more cohesive with the rest of scripture and God’s character.
Starting with Exodus 3:11 – 4:17, we see Moses and the Lord in an interesting dialog where Gos asks Moses to go to Egypt and bring out. Moses comes with an excuse, much like a child not wanting to go to bed, however God still sends Moses.
The next example is 2 Samuel 12:15 – 23, where David is pleading with God to allow his child (he had with Uriah’s wife, Bathsheba) to be healed. Scripture portrays a man, who is pray and fasting to the point his servant worried for his life. He was not bathing, he was not leaving the house, he wasn’t even picking himself up from off the floor… Yet in all of the earnest payer, God still takes his child.
Another example is Luke 22:39-46 where Jesus himself prays so intensely to God to let the cup of suffering he know he was going to endure to pass from him. The bible tells us Jesus started to sweat so much from is prayer that it started dripping from him like drops of blood. Thankfully God honored Jesus’s first prayer, and he still endured the cross because that was God’s will.
Lastly, Matthew 6:5 – 6:13.
“And when pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him…”
I think scripture supports us talking to God honestly, and often… However your premise that God will essentially “give in” as our parents did when we annoyed them is not correct. Scripture is about God and his plan for his grace to redeem his creation. It a beautiful picture of His salvation for us and the way He reached us when we did not even know we needed it. In the widow’s case, God provided justice on His own time, not ours. God’s will is God’s will. He has a plan and will not be swayed by any amount of prayer or words that we say. Either way, yes or no, God answers our prayers, we may just not like the response.
In your own example, the parent gave in after hours of begging. However, a parent may have a good reason for withholding candy that the child is unaware of, no matter how much a child begs. The child only knows it tastes good and they like it. A child is unaware of the bad side effects of too much sugar in their diet. A parent is justified in saying no to their child because they know what is best for their child, even if the child is upset about it. We need to trust that God knows best, and be okay with whatever He does in our lives.
So, talking to Him about our concerns and asking Him for something is good, but we should pray with faith that however God decides to answer is best. And we need to accept His answer in faith because He is God, and God is good.
Wow! This is a very long and well thought out response. Good work! I do not believe that God will simply give in if we bug Him with our prayers. My story of the Candy Bowl was simply used to illustrate my persistance as a child in relation to how persistant we are called to be in our prayers to God. We are called, just like David, Moses, Jesus, etc. that you listed above, to be adament about our prayers – not simply saying one prayer and thinking it good enough. I believe that we should continue to pray until our prayer is answered – whether that is a “no”, a “yes”, or a “not yet”. I wish I had enough space in my devotional thought to be as thorough as you, but unfortunetly my time and word count do not allow it. I’m afraid that my illustration on persistance may have overshadowed what I was truly saying in the final lines: “Pray as if you are annoying God with your request. Pray consistently and constantly. Keep bringing your request before God until He answers it and then give Him thanks.” Thanks for your comment!
You don’t need to beg. The judge didn’t even like the woman so he answered to shut her up. How much more will God hear and answer His children.
But BECAUSE God says he hears and answers, then if you get a no- it’s a no or a not yet out of Gods sovereignty.
To ignore this is prideful and putting your desires higher than God.
I agree with you. I believe the point I am trying to get across is not that we should continue to beg God until He gives us what we want. Instead, we should pray continually until He answers us. When I wrote, “Keep bringing your request before God until He answers it,” I understand that God’s answer could be a “no”. I do not believe that God will give us what we want if we beg Him enough, but rather we should continue to lift our petition before God until He answers our prayer with a “yes” or a “no” or a “not yet”. We shouldn’t pray once and consider it “good enough”. My story with the Candy Bowl was a way for me to illustrate the point that just like me bugging my parents, we should be as persistant about offering our prayers to God. Thanks for the comment!