As I read from Matthew 6:8 this morning I was drawn back in my mind’s eye to the various conference rooms and the meetings that I attended in those rooms at Agilent Technologies. As a member of the management team in the Fabrication area of our division, it seemed many times, that at least half of my days were spent in meetings covering a variety of subjects including our weekly staff time, production scheduling, engineering problems, employee conferences, discussing performance issues and team building activities.
For many years I worked directly under a Production Manager who was both well liked and yet in some respects, feared by the workers on the floor. He was a good manager with a type A personality. Since we worked close together on a daily basis, I got to know him pretty well. I therefore had developed a good understanding of how and how not to approach him when discussing work related issues.
In Matthew 6:8 Jesus taught His followers to “not be like them (the Gentiles or unbelievers) for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” In the previous verse He had described the Gentiles petitions as “empty phrases.” (Matthew 6:7-8 English Standard Version) It was the idea of the Father knowing what we need before we ask Him that brought me back to my Hewlett Packard/Agilent Technology days that originally began in 1980. I had many opportunities to cringe (and sometimes laugh inside!) during those meetings in the conference rooms that lined the production floor as unsuspecting participants would comment or converse to my boss in such a way that I KNEW was going to set him off!
You see, I knew him. Over my time as a Production Supervisor I had learned (sometimes the hard way…) how to discuss matters with him in a way that was mutually accepting and beneficial to both of us! I understood what information he needed and the best way (short and succinct) to present my reasoning’s and documentation so that he could digest and make a decision on it. In other words, there was the right way and a wrong way to discuss important matters with him.
Some of this has to do with knowing how to interact with different personality types in general, but much of it has to do with spending time with the individual in various situations in order to understand how they think and respond. This information is very helpful to all parties concerned. It saves time, steady’s emotions, keeps the discussion on track and is the best way to come to a speedy resolution that best meets the needs of the situation.
I think that you can say the same thing about our taking the time to get to know and then stay in touch with Papa God. Jesus said that He knows what we need before we even ask and I think that we could say the same thing about us when we go to Him in prayer. Many times a strong, close, up-to-date relationship will most likely insure that we would have a pretty good idea of what Papa God is going to say before we ask Him!
Like I mentioned yesterday, a successful relationship takes the active effort and participation of both parties to make it work. Matthew 6:8 threw me for many years. Every time I read it I would think “so why do we need to pray at all if He already knows what I’m gonna ask?” I finally came to understand it from the relationship point of view and our being so close to each other that we can practically read each other’s minds! Just like I knew how my boss was going to react when asked certain extraneous questions or presented with ideas void of any documented proof.
Even though I may know my wife like the back of my hand, I still need to ask her advice and input in order to best work as a team and accurately develop the projects in life that we work on together. Papa God WANTS to hear from us. He WANTS to know how we are doing. He WANTS to personally and intimately interact with us in our life and the best way to do that is to spend time with each other in His Word, in prayer, in praise and in loving others.
Have you ever wondered if Papa God ever cringes when you talk with Him… or are you assured that your relationship with Him is active and intimate enough so that you know how He’s going to reply even before you say what you had in mind? Think about it this weekend… and then just spend some time with Him alone to discuss your findings! Have a great weekend. Stay in tune to Him and His Word, and keep asking yourself… “What or Whom am I expecting to spend time with today?”