Monkeys, Jesus, and Prayer

African hunters have long deployed a unique trap to capture small monkeys. Anchoring a small wooden box to the ground, the hunters cut a small hole in the box just big enough for the monkey to slip its hand into. They leave a piece of fruit inside the box and then leave the area. After a day or so they return to find the monkey with their hand in the box. Even as the monkeys watch the hunters move in to grab them the monkeys stay clinging to the box.

Here’s why: after taking hold of the fruit inside the box, the monkeys cannot pull their fist full of fruit through the hole. Their fist is simply too big. The monkeys are so fixated on having what’s in their hand that they end up giving up their freedom because they are not willing to let go of their new found prize.

As crazy as that sounds, you and I are not much different.We tend to have a white knuckled grip on much of our lives: our relationships, our money, our jobs, our stuff, our goals and agendas, our wounds…the list goes on. Our unwillingness to release these things to God ultimately enslaves us.

Jesus gives us the secret of taking hold of a better promise:

Read Matthew 5:3 (ESV)

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Jesus points to this truth that only those that are poor in spirit can receive all that he offers. The word poor here in the greek means destitute or with nothing. God wants us coming to Him empty-handed spiritually. Empty of our own spiritual self-sufficiency, empty of anything that might push God out of the central focus of our lives; completely dependent on him.

Coming to God empty-handed is the key to receiving all that He has for us.

When you’re destitute, you’re desperate; and humble dependent prayers move the heart of God.

Let’s Pray: Spend some time in prayer asking God to bring to light anything that you might have a “white knuckled grip” on. You’ll then have a decision to make of what you’ll do with that knowledge. I invite you to let it go. Come and enjoy the freedom that God has for you! Come to Him empty handed and you’ll find that Jesus will meet every need of your life. I’m praying with you.

(Feel free to share this post or share below what God’s teaching you in this prayer journey.)