Why we should keep on asking
“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. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!” – Matthew 7:7-11, ESV
In spring 2010, when I had been agonizing for nine months over whether to give my life to Christ, my mentor, Raines, and another friend told me I needed to stop pouring over Christian apologetics, aka evidence for the Bible and the resurrection of Jesus. It was good information, but it was no longer helping me reach a decision.
I was mentally exhausted, so I agreed and stopped all the analyzing. But I didn’t have the faith to trust in Jesus.
So I started asking Him to give me that faith.
Raines had mentioned that in the original Greek language of Matthew’s gospel, the terms “ask,” “seek” and “knock” in the passage above mean “keep asking,” “keep seeking” and “keep knocking.” In other words, don’t give up if God doesn’t answer immediately.
So for a few weeks, I asked God, “Please give me a surrendered heart. Please give me the faith to trust in Christ.”
And He did. During a visit to my hometown, I met with Raines and a couple of men from my old church, and I told them I was “asking God to do it” since I couldn’t gin up faith on my own. One of the men asked, “So do you think you could make a decision for Christ now?” And I found that I finally could.
I’d asked (kept on asking), and God had given me the faith I needed.
I would do well to remember this.
Almost daily, I pray, “Please help me do what You want me to do today.” That’s a good prayer. But how often do I ask Him to provide beyond what I can do? To give me the faith I don’t possess, resources I cannot find, or answers I can’t figure out? It’s like I want Him to help me do it by myself. That’s an oxymoron (John 15:5).
I ask Him to help me do His will with MCL. But I don’t always ask Him simply to give us the revenue, people and ideas we need to fulfill our mission of pointing people to Christ and making their lives better. Why wouldn’t I ask for that? It’s not as if I (and Marilyn Tinnin before me) have kept this magazine going without God.
Similarly, I might ask him to help me love my boyfriend well, but I haven’t always asked Him to give us His direction. James 1:5 says God gives wisdom to all who ask Him in faith. Why wouldn’t I trust Him to do that? James later says, “Ye have not because ye ask not” (4:2b).
God promises to meet our every need (Philippians 4:19) and to give us gifts that are good (by His definition). So we need to admit our needs.
I’d go so far as to say we ought to pray for things we want, even if we don’t know He wants us to have them. In 1 Samuel 1, Hannah begs God for a child after years of infertility. Yet there’s no indication that she knows God wants her to conceive.
Hannah’s prayer includes a vow do dedicate her prospective son to God (v. 11). If she’d asked for a son so she could mold him into her own image or lord him over her rivals, things might not have gone her way. But she asks in full submission, and God says yes (v. 20).
This doesn’t always happen. Sometimes what God gives us does not line up with what we think we want. But God never condemns us for making a request. And if He hasn’t answered yet — keep asking.
Must-reads in this issue:
● Our cover story on Dr. Meredith and Joel Travelstead
● Courtney Ingle’s column on a mother’s calling (page 10)
● Our Q&A with author and Jackson native Susan Cushman, whose new book “Pilgrim Interrupted” comes out June 7