Wednesday, December 22, 2010

why we don't ask God for things - and why we should

I was talking with a friend recently about how reluctant she is to ask God for things. Me, I'm a terrible nagger, and nothing is too trivial for me to pray about, from the common cold to parking spots. But I often forget to ask for things that really matter, from big things like the growth of God's kingdom to little things like daily help with my anxieties and ungodliness.

So why don't we ask God for things? Here are some possibilities.

  • Our requests seem too trivial to bother him with.
  • We're protecting ourselves from disappointment and doubt.
  • We feel like we're being discontented, selfish or greedy.
  • We assume our prayers can't affect his sovereign plan.
  • We think we can handle it ourselves.
  • We assume he is unwilling or unable to help.

So why ask God for things - even trivial things, even things we're uncertain he wants us to have? Here are some reasons.

  • God encourages us to ask (Eph 6:18).
  • When we ask, we're treating God as a Father who loves to meet our needs (Matt 7:11).
  • Asking is a step towards relationship, not a step away from it.
  • It's better to ask and deal with our disappointment and doubt if he says "no" then never to ask anything at all - at least we're dealing with God, not ignoring him!
  • Asking is an expression of dependence: when we ask, we're relying on God rather than ourselves.
  • If we don't ask, we won't receive (Lk 11:9-10).
  • Our prayers are part of Gods' sovereign plan, even if we can't understand how (Jn 5:14-15, Jam 5:16).
  • God wants us to pour out our need and our hearts to him (as the Psalms show).
  • Asking is the solution to anxiety (Phil 4:6).
  • God promises to listen attentively to our prayers (Ps 34:15).
  • Our faith, joy and thanksgiving increase when we see God answer our prayers (1 Thess 5:16-18).

As we grow, our prayers will grow too; but God wants us to come as we are, trusting he will hear us, like children to their father.

Why do you think we don't ask God for things? Why does it matter?

image is from stock.xchng


Rebecca said...

It's nearly Christmas and I know you'll be taking a break from blogging for a while. I wanted to let you know that I've been following your blog for the last few months and, as a "younger woman" I have been greatly encouraged by your words of wisdom. There is also much to gain from looking through your archives!

So, thank you for sharing your thoughts here on your blog.
I pray you have a truly blessed Christmas with your family and friends, and I look forward to when you resume blogging next year some time.

juliette said...

Having recently spent 4 days with our son in a children's intensive care ward, parents there seem much ready to pray than in the general population, and the staff there seemed quite ready to attribute things to God too. Don't know that this answers any of your questions, but I'm still praying for many of the families that we crossed paths with there a month ago (not to mention my own son's progress).