I grew up in South Florida -- without air conditioning and without a pool. There was no escaping the heat. It was hot in the daytime and hot in the nighttime. But I saw an oasis in this desert . . . our neighbor was getting a pool!
I watched the hole being dug. I saw the gunite being sprayed over the re-bar skeleton. I gazed longingly as the pool filled with water. I could feel the temperature dropping as the water rose!
But there was a problem . . . this neighbor had not yet invited me to swim.
There I was, a seven-year-old kid, standing on the outside of the fence. I was a derby horse ready to break out of the gate. I wanted to soar off that diving board. I wanted to land with a refreshing splash in those cool blue waters.
I began loitering. I tried wearing that wilted-flower look, just hoping she would invite me to “take a dip.” It wasn’t working.
One day, as I patrolled her fence gazing at the cool, blue waters, she spotted me -- and then she chided me,
I got the point. If you want to come in—just ask. I did . . . and I swam a lot!
Sometimes getting what we need is as simple as A-S-K-I-N-G for it. It is a lesson Jesus taught his disciples, "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find."
Is It okay to Ask?
Absolutely! God loves us. He is a good, good Father. As such, he invites us to meet him in prayer. Here are three helpful thoughts:
- Be real. Prayer is not putting on a show. It is pouring out our hearts to God. You don't need to use fancy language. The psalmist said, "Pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us." Psalm 62:8 ESV
- Use a guide. Sometimes it helps to use a prayer guide. ACTS is a good one. A=Adoration (spend time praising God); C=Confession (spend time naming your sins and asking forgiveness); T=Thanksgiving (recognize the goodness of God in your life and thank him for it); S=Supplication (a fancy word for asking for what you need for yourself and others).
- Keep it going all day long. God tells us to "pray without ceasing." That means anytime is a good time to pray: at work, at the gym, on a walk, in good times and bad. God wants an on-going relationship with us.
The S.O.A.P. Bible-reading plan
SOAP is an acronym that stands for Scripture, Observation, Application, and Prayer. Click here if you need a brief review of each point. One thing I love about the SOAP approach to reading my Bible is that God uses it to show me things I need. I'm hearing from him!
Your SOAP for today:
Read the passage below. It is about the listening and doing. Once you read the passage, follow the SOAP plan. Time is always in short supply, but try devoting fifteen minutes.
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[a] 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[b] 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!” Luke 11:5-13 ESV
Scripture: What is the one verse that God used to speak to you?
Observation: What did you discover in this verse? What is God saying to you? Try writing out the verse in your own words (paraphrase it).
Application: How does this apply to your life right now?
Prayer: Take time to ask the Lord to help you do what he revealed to you.
This is just the beginning
Thanks for joining hundreds of others on this five-day journey. As we promised last week at our Easter services, we will only visit your in-box for five days. If you have found this time helpful and would like to continue the journey of growing with God, here are some suggestions:
- Get on a regular Bible reading plan and use SOAP to discover more. You can click here for a simple, but powerful 20-day Bible reading plan.
- Subscribe (it's free) to my daily devotional blog, Don't Ask The Fish. You will receive a daily word of encouragement from God's word. Additionally, I'll post a daily Bible reading plan so you can study it using SOAP. Click here, then check "Don't Ask The Fish - Devotional."
- Join us this Sunday at Spanish River Church. Brian Haring is going to help us discover more about how to grow up in our relationship with the risen Jesus.
- We had such a great response to this five-day journey that we are creating a simple tool that you can use and pass on to others. It is a recap of this week's posts and includes journal space to write. If you want a copy, please click here.