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No ask, no get
- Jacob Ninan
There are many things God will do for us without asking, which He does even for wicked people. God sends the rain and lets the sun shine on everyone (Mt.5:45). That's because God is good to all, by nature (Ps.145:9). But there are many good things He wants to do for us which He will not do unless we ask Him. We are mistaken if we think that once we have come to Jesus He will take care of all our needs automatically.
We read in Ez.36:22-36 about many things God wanted to do for His people. This included washing them from their sins and idolatry and giving them the new covenant blessing of a new heart. But this was not going to happen automatically, and God was going to wait till they asked Him (v.37).
This is the flip side of the freedom of choice that God has created us with. He will not force anything on us against our will even to bless us! We have to ask for even the things He wants to do for us. He wants us to be responsible for our own lives and choose what we want.
Many times we don't have what we need just because we haven't asked (Jas.4:2). If we ask for things to satisfy our lusts, then it is good God doesn't answer us (v.3). But isn't it tragic if we miss many good things because we assume God will give them to us and fail to ask Him?
God wants us to acknowledge Him in all our ways, and when we do that we allow Him to do things for us (Pr.3:6). One way to acknowledge Him is through prayer, not only by asking for things and thereby acknowledging our dependence on Him, but also thanking Him for things He has done. A humble man keeps praying all the time (1Th.5:17), requesting God for the things he needs and thanking Him when he gets them. This becomes an attitude (rather than a form of prayers) and a habit which also keep us close to God.
An enemy of prayer is an attitude of selfsufficiency by which we imagine that we can get along well by ourselves. God warns us not to make our own plans without depending on Him or seeking out His will (Jas.4:13-15).
Of course there is no law that we only get what we ask for. God often gives us much more than we ask for, or even imagine (Ep.3:20). He does this out of His love for us. Especially when He sees that our heart is set on seeking His kingdom and righteousness first in our life, He throws in everything else that we need (Mt.6:33). This teaches us how we should evaluate our prayers to see where our priorities lie--what we seek for most shows where our treasure is (Mt.6:21). Are we earthly minded, caring more for the things of this life than for a godly life (1Jn.2:15)? It's not that we should not ask for our earthly needs. Jesus asks us to pray for our daily bread (representing all our earthly needs). But the question is what is uppermost in our minds. Can we pray, "Oh take the whole world, but give me Jesus"?
It's also our responsibility to pray for others and the work of God's kingdom. How sad for us if things don't get done because we are shirking our duty!
Let us show our love for Jesus in words and deeds, if we claim to belong to Him.