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Conceived in love

“Don’t bargain with God. Be direct. Ask for what you need. This isn’t a cat-and-mouse, hide-and-seek game we’re in. If your child asks for bread, do you trick him with sawdust? If he asks for fish, do you scare him with a live snake on his plate? As bad as you are, you wouldn’t think of such a thing. You’re at least decent to your own children. So don’t you think the God who conceived you in love will be even better?" (Matthew 7:7-8 MSG)
Bargaining - it is kind of like "you scratch my back, and I will scratch yours". None of prayer is to be this way - for God isn't a bargaining type! Bargaining involves obtaining something, but at a price - maybe less than expected, but a price is paid. Jesus tells us to ask 'directly' - don't pussy-foot around with God in prayer. Be open, honest, and with a heart of sincerity make your request known. God knows your need already, but maybe acknowledging the need before him is the real purpose of prayer - so we come to understand how 'pure' our request is, or perhaps how 'muddied' it has become because of our selfish will or influence of the world around us.
To bargain is to make an agreement between two parties, setting out what each gives or gets, how one is to perform and what the other receives as a result of that performance. Prayer is not a time of 'defining' what God will give us - it is a time of understanding what we have already received! It is a "grace-time" in which God begins to allow us to 'settle into' the grace-filled answers he has for each of our needs. God has already given us everything we need in Christ Jesus - it is a matter of us recognizing what we have been given!
Although this passage is reminding us not to bargain with God in our prayer time, it is important to point out the key words of this passage - conceived in love. We need to remember that 'in Christ' we are made new - we take on 'new form'. As new creatures in Christ, we can begin to experience the life we have been given, but this is best experienced in the presence of the one who has conceived us in love! Prayer may actually be the way we come to experience newness - laying aside all the things that mattered to us before and realizing how truly blessed our life is in Christ Jesus.
As a result of our "conception", we can have boldness to come before the one who loves us so deeply. This is the crux of what Jesus was sharing that day so long ago - we are loved, cared for, and nothing escapes God's notice or attention. Just sayin!

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