Prayer is our lifeline to God. We are expected to live a lifestyle of prayer, which means more than just a ritual before dinner or a quickie before we fall asleep. Our lives can be a prayer, when our prayers become our life.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 – 16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
God desires us to pray. We may ask “If God knows everything, then He knows my needs before I have them, so if he is just going to provide them anyway, why should I even bother to ask Him”? Our prayers are an exercise of faith, and God knows that if we do not exercise, we will get weak and fall away from Him in complacency. It is in our best interest that God waits until we ask of Him.
Lets look at what the Scriptures have to say about it.
John 16:24 – Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.
Matthew 7:7 – “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”
Jeremiah 33:3 – ‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.’
Ephesians 3:20 – Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,
1 John 3: 21-22 – Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God 22 and receive from him anything we ask, because we keep his commands and do what pleases him.
Philippians 4:6 – do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
So to summarize these things, and to reference James, we do not have because we do not ask of God. But God is not a genie in a bottle granting whatever wishes we have. He is faithful to keep these promises, but we have a part to play too.
1 John 5: 14-15 – This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.
Our part to play in this deal is that we align our heart with Gods. If we have a heart like Gods, it will be His pleasure to give us the desires of our heart. God loves us, and wants to give us good things. But not everything we want is good for us.
Think about it this way. If I have a kid who is addicted to drugs, and my kid asks me for money, I may not give my kid the money even though I love the kid, because I know that to give him the desire may be to do him harm. If that same kid is sober and has a good work ethic and is a responsible financial manager, but has a need he can not meet, and I can meet it financially, then I would be pleased to bring him the provision out of love.
So it is with our Heavenly Father.
If your heart is not aligned with Gods, then that is the first place to start in your prayer life. If your prayer life is struggling, then you can pray for it to get better. God is waiting on the edge of His seat for you to just ask Him, and these things are the Will of God, so take Him up on it.
James 1:5 – If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.
When God makes a promise like James 1:5, we should take Him up on it. He will never give you a check that will bounce, so lets affirm our faith by cashing in on these promises!
God wants you to ask. He really does. But there are some conditions He gives in order to answer your requests. In John chapters 14-16 we find a number of these conditions.
We need to remember that these are Jesus’ last hours with the disciples; and He wants them to understand how prayer really works. Over and over He emphasizes the need to ask, but His answers will be based on three conditions.
First, in John 14:13, Jesus says your request must glorify God,
“And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.”
Second, in John 15:7, He says your request must be consistent and in harmony with His Word,
“If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.”
And finally, in John 16:23-24, Jesus sets the condition that your request bring you joy,
“And in that day you will ask Me nothing. Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you. Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.”
Over and over, Jesus commands you to ask. But when you ask, make sure your request will glorify God, that it is consistent with His Word, and that it will bring you joy.
“God, teach us how to pray, and how to remain in prayer with you casually and lovingly all day, and to come to you in reverence alone and focused on only you. Speak to us Lord, and draw us closer to you by any means, especially through your Word and our time in your presence. Teach us to lift up your name as Holy when we worship you in spirit, and to lift up your name with our lives while we walk with you through the darkness of this world. And we ask you these things so that you might be glorified by our lives, and say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, the name above all names. Amen .”