Ask, and it will be given to you
Ask, and it will be given to you – Stay silent and it won’t be coming
It is some type of law of the universe that we live in that Jesus illuminates here in this verse. Asking is an essential ingredient in the abundant life. God has somehow made asking, seeking, and knocking required components of a great life. Some of us have a fatalistic point of view at times and believe that what will happen will happen, but Jesus here says that way of thinking is faulty. You can change the way your life unfolds. You can live a different life. You can have different relationships. You can be exposed to new opportunities. But only if you ask! God has chosen to make some level of our existence dependent upon our own asking, persistence, and determination.
In this context Jesus is clearly stating that asking God will result in change and answers to prayer. This is a general principle and works across our lives. Asking is a powerful technique for all of life. Do not miss this. It is not just God that we must ask. We need to ask our spouse. We need to ask our family members. We need to ask our boss. We need to ask our employees. We need to ask ourselves. We need to ask our friends. This is like a magic wand in that asking brings about things that weren’t going to happen without it.
ask: This is the Greek word aiteo, which means ask, beg, desire, call for. We are generally uncomfortable with this form of asking. We want the asking of a powerful person who can demand that another person do something we want. This is not that kind of ask. This requires a humble, gentle, and flexible approach to someone who can say NO. Asking in the right way, respecting the other person’s ability to say no or change the answer in some way is a very humbling experience. But it is an essential part of successful living.
I can remember teaching this idea to my oldest daughter. “You must be willing to ask when you have no leverage, except for a desire that things would be different.” She began using this powerful technique with amazing results. She was able to square away three major relational problems at school just by asking the more powerful person to act differently towards her. The power of a humble ask is enormous.
Think this through: The ability to ask is an essential ingredient in effective leadership. Leadership is causing others to act consistently with your expectations. How do people begin to hear about your expectations except by your asking for them to be done? How do people begin to follow your leadership except by your asking that your expectations be done? Too often we want to wait until we have the power to compel people to do what we want. But even then they can resist us and resent our leadership. Asking is a better way. Break down your desired future into numerous component parts and begin asking for the component parts to be done. Before you know it, your vision of the future may be taking shape right before your eyes.
Think through how you want a situation to be different or what you would like the future to look like so that it would be significantly more righteous and then ask God and the people who could bring about that change. This is what William Wilberforce did over a period of 30 years on the issue of slavery. He just kept asking until people realized that slavery was an abominable wickedness even though it made them a lot of money.
One must realize that asking in prayer is important but that asking others is also a part of the solution and the change that you are seeking. The person who lives the successful life gets used to asking for the change that they believe is righteously necessary.
I would be remiss if I did not spend some time talking about prayer as this verse has as its primary directive, asking God. In some way and through some means, God answers prayer and changes the condition of our lives because we ask. Life is not fatalistically determined ahead of time to the point that God cannot respond to our prayer. God is clearly sovereign and can answer prayer or not answer prayer as He decides. But He has stated that He does answer prayer and delights to receive our prayer. We must conclude that prayer allows God to bless us in ways that He would not bless us if we did not pray. Asking God can actually change a situation that would have taken place. I do not know how that works, but it does work that way.
My wife and I on many occasions have committed future situations to God in prayer. We have detailed out what we thought should happen for the most righteous outcome and God has granted our request again and again. These things would not have happened the way they did if we had not prayed. Prayer is not just psychological therapy, changing nothing but making us different and better. Prayer actually changes the world in which I live when my prayers line up with changes God is willing to make. It is worth it to spend time praying about the future because you can impact the outcome. Spend time praying about what is coming up today in your life and what you believe that it needs to be like so that you can live out a righteous life before God. Pray about this week, asking God to do the things that will allow you to live a righteous life. Pray specifically that people will be stopped from doing evil. Pray that people will be surrounded by encouragers and, therefore, carry through with the good they are in the position to perform.
Asking is powerful! In whatever relationship and direction you swing this weapon, it has impact when used properly.
It won’t come on its own.
* This material is copyrighted © by Gil Stieglitz who retains all rights to the material. The verses quoted are taken from the NASB Bible 1995 edition.