In 2008, our family received the most devastating life-changing news. My dad was diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease). I distinctly remember my dad's words on the phone to me that day: It's fatal. I have 3-5 years to live.
In the early days following the diagnosis. my dad sensed that God was going to intervene. He was to do his part and God would do his. I remember him telling me the story of Hezekiah. He told me that Hezekiah was on his death bed, he cried out to God and God extended his life. He felt like God would do the same for him. These were promises we were clinging to with hope.
There were lots of things I asked God for in that season. Of course, I asked Him to fully physically heal my dad along with so many other prayer warriors. I remember the day a family friend said to me, God will heal your dad. It's just a matter of on which side of heaven. Many petitions were made. Some were answered. Some were not.
On August 17, 2009 God's answer was yes, but not on the side of heaven we'd hoped. I suppose God didn't say no. He said, not here.
I tell you this because I know we don't just get to name it and claim it when it comes to prayer. We don't insert our requests into a vending machine only for the answer to pop out instantly. Trust me, I know. Been there. God called my dad home when it seemed like there was so much of his earthly life left for reasons I will never understand.
Even though my most desperate prayer was not answered in the way I had hoped, Jesus still tells me to ask Him. In the years following, without realizing, I had been asking God without much expectation. I was giving him the out, never wanting to assume the answer is yes.
Then during Go Fish, He says, stop telling and ask me.
It is so simple. So simple that we forget to do it.
Maybe, just maybe, you are sitting there afraid to ask God because you are afraid the answer will be no.
You'd rather not ask than risk what feels like being hung out to dry. He said no before. What's to stop Him from saying no again? He is God afterall. He can answer however He wants with whatever He deems best.
I still don't understand how that was best, but I'm not God. But I know with absolutely certainty that He is faithful, He loves me, I can trust Him and His plans for me are for good. Some days are hard to believe that this particular earthly dadless plan is good, but I know it's the truth because God's Word says His plans are not to harm me.
If He says no, it is not that He has hung me out to dry. It's because He is God and I am not. If He chooses to say no, so be it. Now I see in part. Then I will see fully. But let any no not be for my lack of faith or my unwillingness to ask Him.
To you I say, ask Him anyway.
Maybe you're not asking God because you're afraid of being a burden to Him.
He couldn't possibly care about these details of your life. This is an easy one. Not true. Not true. NOT true. Not even a little. If the shoe doesn't fit, do NOT wear it.
1 Peter 5:7 "Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you." Because He cares for you. Did you take that personally? Please do. Because He cares for you. No request, conversation or plea, big or small, is a burdent the perfect Someone who cares for you.
Maybe you're not asking God because you feel like it's up to you.
You got yourself into this mess so it's your job to get yourself out. It somehow doesn't feel right asking for help cleaning up a mess that we've made. Can I ask God to provide, when I made poor choices with what He gave me? Can I ask God for forgiveness for the same thing yet again? Can I ask Him for a way out when I haven't been taking it?
I have yet to find anywhere in scripture where the invitation to come, to offload our burdens, to cast our anxieties, to present our requests to God, or to ask Him has any qualifier attached to it. We are told to approach the throne with boldness to find mercy and grace to help us in our time of need. If your version says "if and only if, you had absolutely nothing to do with creating it" let me know.
On the flip side, maybe you don't think there's anything to clean up. After all, if it ain't broken, don't fix it. You think I've got this all under control, why would I ask for help? To you I say, ask Him. He can find something broken to fix. It's our human condition.
Maybe you're not asking God simply because you're forgotten to.
Afterall, it's so simple. Ask. Seek. Knock. To you I say, me too. I'm forgetful. Today is a great day to remember. Ask. Seek. Knock.
And lastly, maybe you're not asking God because you don't know what to ask Him for.
My dad and I shared some special times over the Word together in the days of his illness. One of those times he shared with me James 5:16. "The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective." He said to me, "Steph, you need to ask what it means to be a righteous person. Because then your prayers will be powerful and effective."
What are we supposed to ask Him for? What do powerful and effective prayers look like?
Come back on Monday and we will talk about it. Who doesn't want to have powerful and effective prayers? I can't wait. This is where it gets good.
In the meantime, I'd love to hear from you! Tell me in the comments your biggest barrier to asking God.