What Are You Asking God For?


Here’s What Are You Asking God For?

What are you asking God for? 

It’s a simple question, but one that has been on my mind recently. Over the last year, I’ve written frequently about prayer – not because I’m a great pray-er, but because I’m not. My prayers are often quick and all-too perfunctory. 

I love reading the Bible, but I put prayer at the end of my devotions, often rushing through it because I’m out of time. Reading the Bible seems so tangible, with immediate and specific benefits, while prayer feels more theoretical. Particularly when I’m not in the middle of great suffering. In suffering, I connect with God most deeply. When I’m desperate, prayer is like breathing, something I do without even thinking. Prayer is the only way to survive. 

When I don’t feel desperate, prayer is much more of an effort. 

Right now I’m feeling desperate about a Bible study that I am writing for Lifeway on suffering. I feel completely out of my depth and totally inadequate. I keep begging the Lord to write this study for me because He knows what people really need in suffering. And if it’s just my words and wisdom, not born of the Spirit, it’s not going to help anyone. 

One thing I want to convey is how deeply loved by God we are, because many of us don’t feel beloved when we’re struggling. Being loved is hard concept to grasp when our dreams lie shattered around us, and the God whom we thought loved us, has let them shatter. So I was praying in the car on the way to a gathering, and I impulsively asked God to have someone in the group share about being beloved. Something that might help me communicate belovedness in this new Bible Study.

In full disclosure, I rarely ask God for something that specific. And I forgot about it when I got to the meeting until the speaker read an excerpt from a poem by Jan Richardson entitled “Beloved is where we begin.” The title said it all.

Hearing that poem was more than I’d even hoped for. It begins: 

If you would enter

into the wilderness,

do not begin

without a blessing.


Do not leave

without hearing

who you are:


named by the One

who has traveled this path

before you.


Do not go

without letting it echo

in your ears,

and if you find

it is hard

to let it into your heart,

do not despair.


That is what this journey is for.

I sat there, amazed, at God’s timely and perfect answer. This above all else was what I wanted Christians who are suffering to grasp – that they are beloved.

On the way home, I realized how rarely I pray for specific things. My hurried prayers for people that I deeply love are often big and general. How could I even know when God was answering when I ask Him to “be with” someone,” to “bless them” or “give them a good day”?!

I asked the Lord, once again (I have done this numerous times in my life) to teach me how to pray and to help me follow through. Several Scriptures came to mind including James 4:2b “You do not have, because you do not ask.” The James verse is within the context of warning us not to be worldly, not to focus on our passions, but to ask God for what we need and submit ourselves and our desires to Him. Jesus tells us “Ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find; knock and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.” (Matt 7:7-8). 

Those verses hit deep – they weren’t just words. I’m being more specific, knowing God will only give me what is best. I’m praying bolder prayers. I’m trusting that God is listening to my every word and that what I say matters. Here are a few things that have happened this week:

I prayed specifically for an opportunity to share my faith with a friend who is struggling. Days later, she called and asked for advice, and I was able to talk about the Lord and even pray with her on the phone. I’ve known her for years and never had that opening. Once again, the words “You do not have because you do not ask” echoed through my mind as I hung up the phone.

My younger daughter moved out recently, and I was feeling bad that I couldn’t physically help her. On top of that, I’m not a decorator and can’t envision how spaces should look, so I knew I couldn’t assist much with that either. I asked God to provide what she needed. Then Maria, an out-of-town friend who stages houses for a living, unexpectedly called and asked if she could stay for a few days. She was here for the move and took care of everything in a way that surpassed anything I could have imagined.

I was reading Psalm 34 and noticed how David talks about seeking, asking and crying out to God. He says, “I sought the Lord and he answered me” (4) and “those who seek the Lord lack no good thing” (10) and “when the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears them” (17).

Now I don’t say those things to imply that everything that we ask for, God will give us. Most of us who have been through great suffering have asked, even begged, God for things that we didn’t receive. And then there are the ungodly requests that he has denied, requests that feed my ego rather than my soul. 

Did my fear of unanswered prayers, my fear of unwanted “no’s,” keep me from turning to God with specific prayers?

I am increasingly aware of the many good things that I hadn’t thought to ask God for. Now, the more I’ve been asking, the more I’ve seen God answer. We do not have because we do not ask.

What are you asking God for? 

Maybe your deepest longings haven’t materialized so you’ve given up on praying. Or maybe your prayers have become so general, that you can’t even see when God is answering them. Perhaps you’re just too afraid to hope anymore, because hope seems to just bring disappointment. 

If that’s you, don’t stop praying. Keep hoping. Keep asking. Keep calling out to God. Pray bold specific prayers and look around to see how God is answering. You may not get what you asked for, but you can trust that God will give you everything you need. Those who seek the Lord lack no good thing (Psalm 34:10), for our Shepherd ensures that we have no want or lack (Psalm 23:1).

Prayer does make a difference. God is listening. He is responding to our requests. 

We do not have because we do not ask. So what are you asking God for


source : https://www.vaneetha.com/journal/what-are-you-asking-god-for

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