“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:4-7)
Just like the characters that we’ve read in the Bible, we all have our own specific requests to God. What’s truly comforting to know is that God Himself has asked us to “let our requests be known to Him.” And if God can make huge miracles happen to Moses, Sarah and Abraham, then we can expect those beautiful wishes to happen in our own lives, as well. All it takes is to understand and believe that prayers are powerful. The Book of James declares, “the prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective” (James 5:16). Before making any requests to God, we must examine and ask ourselves, “Have I been truly faithful to God’s Word?” How can God fulfill His promises to us if we have been neglecting to read Scripture and listen to His teachings? It is all about being righteous in His eyes that allow our prayers to be authoritative and effective. James also reminds us that when we present our requests to God, we must not have seeds of doubt. Such a person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord.
Which is not to say that the big heroes of faith did not have their moments. Abraham and Sarah at a certain point became
impatient in waiting on God and they took matters into their own hands. As such, Ishmael came into the picture, which did not come without consequences and heartache. While they did eventually realign themselves to God and His plans, they had to go through the process of seeking His heart for them yet again. The same is true with us. It is when we are convinced of God’s faithfulness and kindness towards us that we can trust how He answers our prayers and requests – even if His answer was not what we wanted.
So then how do we start requesting of the Lord? We need to state our requests specifically and clearly, just like in the speech act of request. Writing our requests down is an effective way of being detailed in our requests, and at the same time, it lets us visualize what we truly want from God. We also need to claim God’s promises through His Word and use those declarations as affirmations that our requests will be granted. Pick out your favorite promises, read them and pray them over and over. Prayer knows no limits. God can see what is truly in our hearts. So, don’t be afraid to leave yourself vulnerable in front of God, for He knows what is best for us and He hears our prayers.
What makes the Lord so kind is that He actually wants to hear our requests. We can see this over and over in His Word. Jesus himself says to his disciples, 5 Then Jesus said to them, “Suppose you have a friend. You go to him at midnight and say, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread. 6 A friend of mine on a journey has come to stay with me. I have no food to give him.’ 7 And suppose the one inside answers, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is already locked. My children and I are in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.’ 8 I tell you, that person will not get up. And he won’t give you bread just because he is your friend. But because you keep bothering him, he will surely get up. He will give you as much as you need.
9 “So here is what I say to you. Ask, and it will be given to you. Search, and you will find. Knock, and the door will be opened to you. 10 Everyone who asks will receive. The one who searches will find. And the door will be opened to the one who knocks.
11 “Fathers, suppose your son asks for a fish. Which of you will give him a snake instead? 12 Or suppose he asks for an egg. Which of you will give him a scorpion? 13 Even though you are evil, you know how to give good gifts to your children. How much more will your Father who is in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11:5-13)
God actually wants us to not be ashamed to ask. And, as if that’s not enough, He invites us to keep asking. He wants us to be persistent and know that it’s okay to ask. Sometimes, we may never get until we ask. I know of Christians who hate asking God, because it makes them feel selfish and they think that when God wants to give them something, He will at all cost. But the Bible begs to differ. We wonder why other people have a lot, while we do not; we wonder if God loves them more. Maybe, it’s simply this:
2 You want something, but you don’t have it. So you kill. You want what others have, but you can’t get what you want. So you argue and fight. You don’t have what you want, because you don’t ask God. 3 When you do ask for something, you don’t receive it. That’s because you ask for the wrong reason. You want to spend your money on your sinful pleasures. (James 4:2-3)
So, it’s good to come before God, not just with our requests, but with our hearts pure and ready to submit to whatever the Father may want to give us. Nonetheless, how can you expect an answer if you don’t ask?
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