For January’s article that I submitted for God’s Corner I wrote a short story to relay a message about prayer that I have noticed even in my own life. Here is the published story, following it I will explain several points I was attempting to make.
Christmas had been complicated this year at the home of two young boys, Jack and John. On Christmas morning Jack had been thrilled to open his presents, finding everything he had asked for. His Christmas list had been long and very specific. His parents delighted in surprising him on Christmas morning, seeing his face light up us he opened the gifts he had asked for.
John on the other hand did not seem so excited about his gifts. Before Christmas his parents had asked him for a shopping list but he just never seemed to get around to it. He figured it would be okay if he didn’t ask for anything because he knew they would still give him presents. John’s presents consisted of practical gifts, supplies for school and money for his savings account. In monetary value his gifts equal the same as Jack’s but on Christmas morning when John saw Jack’s excitement at receiving everything he had asked for he felt a twinge of resentment. He wondered why Jack was given so many good presents while his own presents were frankly quite boring and even unwanted. His parents had desired to give him what he requested but he had never asked.
We have a Heavenly Father that longs to give good gifts to His children. He is the giver of every good and perfect gift but all too often we do not receive because we do not ask. The promise is that when we ask we receive. (Matthew 7:8) Of course this doesn’t quite mean that if we ask for great wealth we would become wealthy but wealth would not satisfy our hearts anyway. What we can ask for is based on the promises, all of them available to us. The promises of provision, protection, and security in Him – the promise that we will never walk alone.
Like everything in God’s universe the asking is governed by His boundaries. The boundaries are there for our protection. For instance a parent does not give a small child a high-powered paintball gun. It would not be age appropriate and would be dangerous. In the same way our Good Father gives good gifts that are appropriate for our time.
Are we ever afraid to ask thinking that He will be upset with our requests or fearful that He might say no? Do we come asking with faith that He is love and He is good? Or does complacency get in our way, leading us to believe that we don’t need to ask because He will give anyway?
Talking about what we need to pray for more than asking Him.
Often I talk about praying, or talk about being concerned about something in my life, whether someone else or myself, but it is all talking. Even at times it could be talking about how God is able to fix it, how God is sovereign and in control of the situation, but talking is not asking. Talking is not claiming the promises in His Word. It is almost as if I subconsciously lead myself to believe that talking about it is turning it over to Him. What He really desires is for us to just come to Him with every little detail and build that relationship with Him.
Afraid to ask because we aren’t sure if it is His will
Are there times we don’t pray for something because we aren’t sure if it is His will? Or we are afraid that He might tell us “no”. I used to be more bothered by this but God has taught me a valuable lesson in this area. Throughout the Bible there are so many promises for every situation. When I don’t know what to pray or am not sure of His will for a certain situation I find promises that I know are true for that situation and pray that promises. Then I know that I am praying in His will and that He will delight to answer.
Do we just accept everything that happens to us as God’s will?
In this brief story John did not ask and so he was disappointed. If he had asked his parents would have given him what he asked for. As it relates to God, like I said before our asking has to be in line with Scriptural promises….
There are promises for
- Learning to love more
- Growing in the Lord
- Freedom from fear, the past and so much more
- That God will perform what He ordains
- God is our rear-guard (able to protect us from evil)
- healing and health
- Fruitfulness (in serving, in bearing children, in finances)
and on and on the list goes.
If we are sick but don’t ask with faith for health why would He heal our bodies? If we believe He has called us to do something but don’t continually ask Him to open the doors, and protect our way from evil as we pursue that calling will it come to pass? As we press in to Him He shapes our hearts, giving answers in His time. We can ask the question of what if He says “no” but as I look through the Bible, everytime a person sought His face, forsaking all else He gave them their hearts desire or He changed their heart. Look at Hannah begging for a child (I Samuel 1 & 2) or Hezekiah’s healing (Isaiah 38)
Feel free to share your thoughts on this topic.
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