Did you know that God asks questions? And did you know that every now and then he will ask a question of you? This is the third instalment of a series on God’s frequently asked questions. You can find the first here and the second here.
“What do you want me to do for you?”
This is the question Jesus asks of a blind man who had been calling on him for help with such persistence that he was impossible to ignore. (Matt 10) He also asks this of Solomon at the start of Solomon’s reign. (2 Chron 1) It seems to be one of his frequently asked questions and one he will often ask you and me.
Over the years I have heard many sermons (and preached some of them) encouraging us not to make prayer the mere sharing of a grocery list. Nowadays I see about the same number of memes on social media espousing a similar sentiment. Inasmuch as this encourages a focus on relationship and filling our conversations with God with words of love and praise and adoration, I think this a good thing. However, if it discourages you to ask of him, we are getting into space where we are contradicting his word. We are often encouraged to ask. Very often! Here are a couple of examples.
Only ask, and I will give you the nations as your inheritance, the whole earth as your possession. (Psa 2:8 NLT)
So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him. (Mat 7:11 NLT)
“I also tell you this: If two of you agree here on earth concerning anything you ask, my Father in heaven will do it for you. (Mat 18:19 NLT)
Yes, ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it! (Joh 14:14 NLT)
But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted! (Joh 15:7 NLT)
You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name. (Joh 15:16 NLT)
You haven’t done this before. Ask, using my name, and you will receive, and you will have abundant joy. (Joh 16:24 NLT)
Are you encouraged to ask yet? There are many more such scriptures and I challenge you to make a study. God wants you to ask and he says it so often it is impossible to read the Bible without it being abundantly clear. Allow me to make a couple of statements on the topic.
What prayer is not.
- Prayer is not a vending machine.
- Prayer is not a way to order God around.
- Prayer is not a genie in a bottle and three wishes.
What prayer is.
- Prayer is my response to his repeated invitation to ask.
- Prayer is me acknowledging my insufficiency and his all-sufficiency.
- Prayer is the only natural, reasonable response to his loving father-heart and generosity.
In his letter contained in the New Testament, James gives a lot of advice about prayer. It is a good letter to study but I’m hoping that one statement he makes will never be true of you and me. He says that we don’t have what we want because we don’t ask God for it.
I have found that the longer people serve God, the less they pray for themselves. Is this true of you? He makes the invitation so often and so strongly; it would be impolite not to respond.
I pray that you and I will pray more this week. 😊 Merely respond to the question he is asking you!
“What do you want me to do for you?”
(Your comments will be welcomed and treasured, even if you disagree. Quite possibly you can add something of value. Please be bold and free to do so.
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This series will be concluded in my next post. As a result, I will have shared four of God’s frequently asked questions. Please share with me if you have any other that you treasure.)