Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him? Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.Matthew 7:9-12
I have included through verse 12 in this article because Jesus is teaching what kinds of things we should be asking for. In the previous article, we learned that God answers our prayers when we are asking according to His will. This general principle applies to all our needs but in the context, Jesus is teaching about asking for something very specific.
The context of the first twelve verses on Matthew 7 all deal with the same subject. We see a brother in need and we want to help him properly. Therefore, the prayers we send to God need to be ones that show us our need of mercy and how we can show mercy to the brother in need.
If we really want to help someone. God is going to give us the things they need (bread and fish) not the things that will hurt them (stone and serpent).
Verse 12 sums up the theme of this portion of the Sermon on the Mount. We are not to judge someone else in a way that we do not want to be judged ourselves. We ought to love and help others and we would want them to show mercy and grace to us. When we do this, we are fulfilling law the and prophets. We love God by loving others.
Charles Meigs wrote a hymn in 1902. The first verse sums up how our prayer life should be in proper discipleship.
Lord, help me live from day to day
In such a self-forgetful way
That even when I kneel to pray
My prayer shall be for others.