You may remember from last week’s post that I said it probably wouldn’t take long for us to look at scriptures that speak directly to “asking”. Whelp, “very, very soon” turned out to be today.
A good friend reminded me of the following passage from Luke 11:5-9:
“Then, teaching them more about prayer, he used this story: ‘Suppose you went to a friend’s house at midnight, wanting to borrow three loaves of bread. You say to him, ‘A friend of mine has just arrived for a visit, and I have nothing for him to eat.’ And suppose he calls out from his bedroom, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is locked for the night, and my family and I are all in bed. I can’t help you.’ But I tell you this—though he won’t do it for friendship’s sake, if you keep knocking long enough, he will get up and give you whatever you need because of your shameless persistence.
‘And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you’.”
We spoke last time about the miracles of God, how He does the impossible time and time and time again. There are occasions when He just shows up, unannounced, and blesses far beyond what we could have imagined. There are other times when we have to ask in order to witness the impossible. Sometimes a one-time prayer may receive an immediate, “Yes.” But it has been my experience that more times than not, presenting a request before God may take hundreds, maybe even thousands of prayers before I get a definite yes or no.
The persistent widow is a classic example of this practice. The passage in Luke 18 opens with this: “Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.” Jesus himself says this clear as day: pray and never give up. Look back at our first scripture today: “And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.” Still not convinced of the importance of asking? Check out the following verses. I challenge you to read each one in context.
- Matthew 18:19- If two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you.
- Matthew 21:22- If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.
- John 14:13- I will do anything you ask for in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father.
- John 15:7- If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given to you.
- John 16:24- Ask and you will receive and your joy will be complete.
- Ephesians 3:20- 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.
- Philippians 4:6- In everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your request to God.
- 1 Thessalonians 5:17- Pray continually.
- James 1:5-8- If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt…
- James 5:16- The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.
- 1 John 3:22- We receive anything we ask because we obey his commands.
- 1 John 5:14-15- This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us…we know that we have what we ask of him.
Obviously, we are not talking about a prosperity gospel or a magic genie. As with everything in scripture, asking is a matter of the heart. What is the root of your request? Can you relate to James 4:3, “When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.”? That one hits a little close to home.
But that is not where we are camping right now. I want to reside on the command to “Ask”. Just ask! Ask anything in the name of Jesus for the glory of God and it will be done. Be persistent by asking in every prayer. Ask throughout the day. Ask for God to intervene, ask for peace, ask for wisdom, ask for a child, ask for strength, ask for healing, ask for salvation for a friend or family member, ask for comfort, a spouse, forgiveness, ask for anything. There is no end to this list, no qualifier of which things are deemed appropriate to bring before our Father. God wants to hear our hearts. He wants us to be persistent. And He wants us to ask. In just three chapters in John (14-16), Jesus tells us six times to ask and we will receive. Six times. Six times in three chapters! When God repeats Himself this many times it is probably worth listening to.
I’m pressing the pause button. I challenge you to meditate on the words of Jesus and the verses we looked at today. Let them take root in your life. Ask God this week. Ask Him for anything on your heart. And next week we will look at a few of the way God responds. It will give you chills.