The Power of the Ask

You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. James 4:2b

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. Matthew 7:7-8

If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” Luke 11:13

I need you like the flower needs the rain
You know I need you, guess I’ll start it all again
You know I need you like the winter needs the spring
You know I need you, I need you.  Gerry Beckley

I have some friends at the university where I work whose primary purpose is in fundraising, a very important focus for any higher education institution in 2015. I’ve done some facilitation work with them and have heard them speak often about something they refer to as “the ask.” It is what it sounds like, of course. After learning how a potential donor can connect most meaningfully with the university, there comes a point in the relationship where a direct request for a contribution is made.

The “ask.”

It’s an important moment because it is a test of trust, commitment and need on both sides of the relationship.

I was thinking about this idea of asking recently when one of our pastors made this statement: “The word ‘ask’ may be the most important word in the Bible.”

When a wise and Godly leader makes a statement using such superlative language, it, naturally, makes me think.

Can that be true?

Is the word “ask” – or more correctly I suppose the concept of asking of God – really that important? The most important word in Scripture? Isn’t that just hyperbole to make a point?

If you’re willing to work with the idea, then I think a logical place to start is to ask (clever wordplay intended) why  asking is even necessary? Why does an omniscient God need any information from anyone? Doesn’t He know what we need before we even ask it? (As a matter of fact, yes – Matthew 6:8.)

So what’s the point? Why tell Him something He already knows?

It’s an elementary question, one most people grapple with and resolve early in their relationship with Him.

So, perhaps this is just a reminder.

Why is it so important to Him that we ask Him for things?

I think it’s because of the intimacy that represents.

When we go before God and ask, the information we are sharing with Him is not, most importantly, the facts about what we need – healing, providence, peace, a baby to sleep through the night. The point of asking is not to make a clever use of His own promises to convince Him to give us something.

I believe His emphasis on asking is because our entreaties convey one of the most powerfully intimate thoughts one can communicate to another.

“I need you.”

In fact, I would suggest that “I need you” can be an even more intimate declaration than “I love you.” No, strike that. I view “I need you” as a more intimate statement than “I love you.”

Follow me. When we tell someone we love them there’s still some control in that – as if the implication is: “I have decided to love you.” But when we declare our need for someone, we are declaring our surrender to control, admitting we are lacking – helpless – in some important way – and placing our trust and dependence on the other. There’s a vulnerability, risk, and therefore powerful trust in “I need you.”

As if to say, “I depend on you for something I can’t realize myself. I need you. Could you love me in such a way that you graciously grant my need?” Whether you are saying it to your spouse, a parent, or friend, “I need you” is powerfully intimate, even moreso when you’re saying it to God Himself.

Isn’t that great need the poignant cry of Jesus’ heart in the Garden of Gethsemane?

And the audience for the ask? Who is influenced by your act of asking? God, for sure. But your mind, your soul and the people around you benefit from your proclamation that you are desperate for God. There is a supernatural quality to such vulnerability that we may never truly understand.

So, now that you’ve read this post.



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