“You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.”
James 4: 2, 3
“Ask” – To request help for something. To make a request expecting help in return.
What have I asked God for?
Am I asking for help, according to God’s Will?
“You pay God a compliment by asking great things of Him.”
Teresa of Avila
“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 (her) with sawdust? If (she) asks for a fish do you scare (her) with a live snake on (her) plate? As bad as you are, you wouldn’t think of doing this evil…how much more your Father in Heaven will give good gifts to those who ask Him!”
Matthew 7: 7-12
When my two nieces were young, they would ask their mom if I could baby-sit them – on a very frequent basis. Since I lived just a few blocks away, my sister would usually drop the girls off at my house on her way to a meeting or to work in the evening.
This meant that if I had activities planned like grocery shopping, Aimee and Bethanie would go with me. Our trips to the market gave their little (maybe I should say “Big”) imaginations plenty of time to dream up some new game. In the case of grocery shopping, the older of the two, Aimee, would point to some item on a shelf and ask Bethanie if it were “available” or “unavailable.” Of course, all “available” items were added to the grocery cart while “unavailable” items were left on the store shelves. You have probably figured out that my grocery cart ended up looking like a nutritionist’s nightmare – filled with cookies, candy, chips and any other tasty treat that kids think they can’t live without. On the flip-side, foods like broccoli, cottage cheese, and whole wheat bread were deemed, not only “unavailable” but undesirable.
In my defense, I didn’t allow all the “available” items to make it up to the check-out counter. However, enough slipped through and one night, after we got back home, while I was putting groceries away, two little girls got into one bag containing way too many treats to be eaten at one sitting and began to feast on their loot. About an hour later, they paid the price, and so did I, as two sick little girls were crying with “tummy aches.” And the next day, their mother (my sister) gave me a well-deserved lecture on being more judicious in my watch care of her children.
We might laugh at the antics that caused the problem of indigestion for two gluttonous children – guess what? I find myself frequently acting, just like my nieces did. When I go to God with my grocery lists of requests it sounds like a child hollering, “Get me that!” “Dear God, I’d like a new car with electric windows and a convertible top. Oh, and make certain it has a stereo, air conditioner and it’s powder blue.” Have you ever asked God for something that later seemed very silly and frivolous? I’ll never forget about 25 years ago my husband and I found a house that was for sale. We loved it and thought we had to have it. We made the owner an offer that was fantastic. Both the owner’s realtor and ours thought the offer was extremely generous. We prayed.
We told God this was the house for us. We asked Him to work everything out. The homeowner turned us down flat. Not only this, sensing our interest in the property he began to add on some of the most ridiculous demands. Much to his surprise we walked away from the situation feeling “something” wasn’t right. Several years passed, and we drove by the home again only to find out that information we were given about the surrounding property was a lie. Our disappointment in not getting what we were asking God for turned into absolute delight at the realization of the way we had been protected from a huge financial mistake. English lawyer, author and statesman Thomas More wrote: “So blind are we in this mortal life, and so unaware of what will happen – so uncertain even of how we will think tomorrow – that God could not take vengeance on a person more easily in this world than by granting (them) their own foolish wishes.”
I believe if we are truly honest with ourselves, we will agree that when we come to our heavenly Father with a list of what we are asking for, the words of Jesus, recorded by the apostle John are the best to remember: “I will do whatever you ask that brings glory to the Father” (John 14: 13, N.I.V.). And a few verses over in John 16, Jesus says the reason He does whatever we ask is that when our requests are answered, if they bring glory to His Father – we will have great joy in our lives.
So if you want to know what to ask for when you pray, ask yourself this question, “Will my request, when answered, bring glory to God?” If the answer is yes, then know with assurance that God will answer your prayer because He wants you and me to live a life of joyfulness in Him.
“Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.”
John 16: 24
Be Careful in Your Requests
“If it is true that once I asked to die,
I did not know what I was asking, for I do not want that.
It will come soon enough. I need not try to hurry it along.
Sometimes we need to be thankful that our wishes and prayers are not always
Granted, for we are unlearned in knowing what is best for us.
Heart breaking pain is unleashed in a destructive way through the vilest member
Of our body toward the temple of God, the bearer of our soul.
But we have The Heavenly Father who knows all things, even when to ignore our
Senseless pleadings of harmful requests to ourselves and to His temple.
He knows it shall pass and the new will be heard crying for forgiveness,
And asking for His mercies to be bestowed upon us.
For we know not what we want in nature.
Only in the spirit are the true desires of our heart revealed.”
Mary Ellen Goble Preece
Poems, Prayer and Promises
Of an Appalachian Woman
Dorothy Valcàrcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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