Beliefnet
Prayer, Plain and Simple

In prayer there is always an ask which makes the matter inter-personal. My desire, even if that desire is simply to be heard, or to express my gratitude, must be addressed to a Person, otherwise I’m only ruminating, daydreaming, whining or wishing. Wrapping prayer in an “ask” reminds me I’m addressing the Only One who can make any real difference. 

Consider these promises from Jesus:

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” (Matthew 7:7,8).

“’Have faith in God,’ Jesus answered. ‘I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, “Go, throw yourself into the sea,” and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.’” (Mark 11:23,24)

“I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” (John 14:12,13)

“If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish and it will be given to you.” (John 15:7)   

“If two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven.” (Matthew 18:19)  

“But,” I’m tempted to counter back, “Who am I to nag God with my petty requests? God is much too big to bother about ______ (fill in your gap). He’s in charge of galaxies a billion light years away. What possible influence can my ‘ask’ have on decisions God makes for running the universe?”

Honest answer? Who knows? But that doesn’t change the fact that God requires an ask. I can’t get my head around this wonder, but somehow God is able to factor my ask into his sovereignty. I don’t understand much about electricity, but I can flip a light switch. God challenges me to ask and I can comply even if I wonder why.

Reflection

What are you wishing for? Wishing is actually a flip-side to worry, and worry is anchored in a half-broken worldview that is more than half-akin to atheism. Wishing keeps you focused on what you want changed instead of The One who can change things. Wishing is passive. So, today, be proactive. Begin with your wish but don’t stop there. Take hold of Jesus’ words and turn that wish into a humble ask, a prayer. Don’t stop until you’ve made it quite specific. And write it down. As you bring it all to God you may feel a bit sheepish. Actually, you should feel sheepish. But that’s good: he’s your Shepherd!

Response

“Father, you have given me the gift of desire. I choose to take you at your word, that you want to hear my desires spoken in the form of an ‘ask.’ I come leveraging the rights and privileges of Jesus because otherwise, I would not belong anywhere close enough to you for my words to be heard. But I am here, trusting that you have given me this amazing gift of access. I am here to ask. Here goes…”

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