I recognize in me a reluctance to ask God for specifics. I am challenged to find out why I feel like that.
I have trouble asking for help, seek for a favor, for accommodation. It seems wrong to me – selfish. I don’t mind if you ask, but I have a hard time being the asker. Truthfully, I think I’m afraid to be turned down.
Asking God? I’m more confident praying for you. For me? I’m okay with the big stuff, like God bless my family, help me make wise decisions, etc. The specifics are so much harder. Those things that either happen or don’t. What if God says “no?”
My impressions from childhood include hearing “no” often. As a mom, I recall how frequently my default answer was “no.” The request required too much of my effort and attention, was too costly, or it was just easier to say “no.” I regret my self-protective penchant for “no” when it should have been a self-sacrificing “yes.”
So I project onto the Heavenly Father my own flawed perspective.
Several reasons for reluctance occur to me:
- Asking for specifics puts God on the hot seat. What if He says “no” when I was so sure He would answer? I don’t like to pray prayers that don’t get answered. I want to pray prayers God can answer. (I know “no” is an answer and am quite experienced in the trusting when I don’t understand.) I do trust God’s heart and His ways, but that doesn’t keep me from wanting to pray prayers that receive a “yes” answer. Sometimes I feel safer to not ask rather than to be disappointed or cast God in a bad light.
- Or perhaps I am convinced I am not worthy of His help. I am so disorganized. What right do I have to pray for help in the chaos I created? I am too bad. I have made too many mistakes. Why would God help me out when what I deserve is the trouble I’m in?
- Why should God bother with me? My troubles – significant to me, though insignificant in the grand scheme of things – just don’t rank up there next to world peace, global hunger, war, and the environment.
- Or maybe I am capable – I don’t need God’s help. Intelligence, ingenuity, personal charisma and strength of character will see me through. After all, ability to handle life is God-given.
So I don’t ask.
But, then I am reminded of what Jesus has to say about the asking.
Your Father knows what you need before you ask him. (Mathew 6:8)
Ask and it will be given to you… For everyone who asks receives… Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 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 good gifts to those who ask him! (Matthew 7:7 – 11)
If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer. (Matthew 21:22)
To ask or not to ask. The choice is mine. Not to ask, to go it own my own, is to my own peril, failing to grasp the nature of my heavenly Father who welcomes my asking and delights in providing for me.
Lord, fill my heart with the faith and obedience to ask of You.