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! Luke 11:13

Jesus is teaching about prayer and encouraging his followers to be persistent. Jesus describes the Father in terms of “how much more.” How much more gracious, loving, caring is God than any human father. Is this our perception of our Heavenly Father?

Sometimes our perception of God is a slightly improved version of our own father. The biblical view is radically different. Our own fathers, as good as they may have been, are fallen people. As we look through the Bible we see God’s care of Hagar, a supposedly insignificant slave. We see his immense patience with his people under Moses, under the judges, and under the prophets. We see his plans for Joseph, Job, and Esther are plans for good in spite of the difficulties they go through. And we see his supreme love in sacrificing his own Son.

When we come to God in prayer it’s important to see him the way the Bible teaches. God may not answer our prayers in the way we would like, but there’s no reason to doubt that he will always act in our best interests. There’s no reason to doubt that he isn’t powerful enough or not concerned enough to act.

In regard to prayer, the directive is always to ask. “Ask and it will be given to you” (verse 9), “You do not have because you do not ask God” (James 4:2). In the final analysis, God gives us the Holy Spirit when we pray because whatever our need is, his presence is enough.