It seems like so many of us learn as children to ask things of God as though He were our Heavenly Santa Claus. Maybe it is a cultural thing, or maybe it is because we are such a rich nation with so much readily available to us. Something else that is easy to do, is to run down a list of things we would like God to do for us, without ever considering what He might have in mind… We hear or read those verses like John 14:14, “You may ask Me for anything in My name, and I will do it.” and we think, “Eureka! That’s all there is to it! I’ll make a list, fold it up nice and neat, and send it angel-mail to the Father!” Then over the years that follow, when we don’t get the Easy Bake Oven or a pony… Or when not everyone at school likes us… Or if the perfect Prince Charming doesn’t come to sweep us off our feet… We get discouraged and wonder why God doesn’t hear. We may even begin to doubt the power of prayer and God Himself, and start to question this whole religion thing. Church and all that is included becomes just another expected but undesirable tradition, like Aunt Sally’s annual Fruitcake. What’s missing?
It is easy to trick ourselves into believing that we have a Holy Genie in a Lamp that we can pull out for picking lottery ticket numbers or when things don’t go our way. I was guilty of this for a long time, until I realized it doesn’t work to simply pick and choose a verse to suit every whim and desire. Yes, Jesus DOES say ask anything, but then, that is NOT all He and the Word say about prayer. Take a moment with me to put into context that famous verse of Jesus’. Who was He talking to? He was talking to His Disciples, not perfect people by any stretch of the imagination, but people none-the-less who had given up their very lives and livelihoods to follow Him! Jesus knew the desire of their hearts was not to fulfill their fantasies, their whims, their wants… Their desire was to know HIM, love HIM, serve HIM, and glorify HIM! Their hearts and motives were right and in check. Jesus was also speaking about what was to come after He would return to heaven. The Disciples would soon be indwelt with the Holy Spirit, and led by the Spirit to pray for things on the heart of God.
Ask yourself, “What is my motive behind my prayer or request. Do I want this thing, problem solved, or person healed for my own comfort or benefit? Or, is my heart looking for the Glory of God and the advancement of His Kingdom?” James 4: 3 says, “When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” Ask God to reveal to you by His Holy Spirit and His truth, what is right motive in your heart and what is not. He will be faithful to do it, and when He does, thank Him for it! If He shows you wrong motive, simply ask Him to forgive you, and to redirect your heart according to His desire for your life and those around you. The Bible tells us that His plan for us is perfect! WHY would we want anything less than what He knows is right and perfect for our lives? Simple, we think we know better. Time to put that silly idea down. Just ask Him, Sister! Ask Him to align your heart with His, so that the desires of your heart would reflect His own. Then you will see Him answer in far greater ways than our finite minds could ever think or imagine. He WILL answer, in His way and in His time with the promise that He will use it all for your good! What a blessing!
So, you might then ask yourself… “If God is going to put on my heart what to ask for, and then do it…. Why include me at all? Why not just take care of it? After all, He is God, He doesn’t need me.” If that were the case, you would be missing sooo much! God desires to show you how REAL He is in our lives! How important you and every little detail of your life are to Him, and how much He loves you! He wants you to experience His work first hand and see how He is moving, so that you might rejoice and be encouraged! What a faith builder! What a privilege!
Not for a second am I suggesting that you stop talking to God about the things on your heart, or letting Him know what you think you need. I would be lost if I couldn’t carry on a dialogue with Him throughout the day. However, if I talk to Him about these things in the context of wanting His way and His Glory, or even admitting that I am having trouble wanting His way and His Glory, He is so faithful to give my heart rest and peace and show me a far better direction of thought and action. Remember too, the Word says in Romans 8:34 that Jesus is at the right hand of God interceding for us! And in Roman 8:26-27 we read that we don’t know what we should pray for, but the Holy Spirit “Himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.” WOW! Who better to take our needs and lives before the Living God and submit requests on our behalf! Remember, Jesus and the Holy Spirit ARE God, so when they come before the Father for us, Sister, it is done! All we need to do is continue seeking Him to know Him better and better, and in return we receive far greater blessings than we could ever imagine or ask for!
Ephesians 3:20-21 “Now to Him Who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”
Matthew 7:7-11 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him?”
John 15:7-8 “If you remain in Me and My words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”