Jesus said, “Ask and it will be given to you” (Matthew 7:7).
At first look, this looks quite simple; isn’t it? But is it really that simple? If God gave you a chance to ask him something what would you ask? Are you prepared for such a chance?
King Solomon got such a chance. God appeared to him and said, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you” (2 Chronicles 1:7). God, before answering his request, listed out a few things he had not asked for, namely wealth, riches or honour, the death of his enemies, and not even long life! God was pleased that instead of all that is listed above, Solomon had asked for wisdom to govern God’s people.
So if you are confronted with a choice to ask God for something today, what will you ask for? An answer from your side requires real thinking. One thing is for sure, you will not dare to ask God anything that does not suit his character. In simple terms, you cannot and will not dare to ask God to get an unholy desire to be done.
Therefore the command “Ask” naturally excludes everything that is not in tune with God’s character. This is the true meaning of what Jesus meant when he said, “I will do whatever you ask in my name” (John 14:13).
Again, we find Jesus often asking people who sought healing from him, “What do you want me to do for you?” (see for example Mark 10:51). Here Jesus is asking Blind Bartimaeus what his request was. It was obvious to everyone that he was crying out to Jesus to get his sight restored.
Then why did Jesus ask this question to this blind man. See, he possibly might have asked for a large amount of money so that he need not go on begging. Likewise, God gives us a chance to ask so that it might be clear to us what we are asking God for. Here the blind man asked in faith for his sight to be restored. He said, “Rabbi, I want to see.”
Just check the list of things you have been asking God. Do the requests reflect your real need? Or are you asking for lesser things? God is someone “who is able to do immeasurably more than we ask or imagine” (Ephesians 3:20). Do we honour God by asking for the right things?
Jesus in his Sermon on the Mount also emphasized another aspect of asking in prayer. He advised us not to keep on babbling like unbelievers who think that they will be heard because of their many words. Jesus was pointing to the fact that your heavenly Father knows what you need before you ask him (see Matthew 6:7, 8).
So asking in prayer rests on your relationship with your heavenly Father. He knows what you need already. Therefore you can boldly approach the throne of grace to ask. Why? Because, we have a Father who already knows what we need!
That is why Paul advises us not to be anxious about anything. Instead he tells us to present our requests to God with thanksgiving (Philippians 4:6). Before the answer is given, the peace of God which is beyond all human thought and understanding will come and cover you. He further says that God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus (especially true when you give generously to God) (Philippians 4:19).
To sum up,
When you ask God, ask in tune with God’s character.
When you ask God, ask for your real need.
When you ask God, ask with the sure knowledge that he knows your need already.
Perhaps, you can add one more thought. Be specific when you ask. Solomon asked for wisdom to govern. Blind Bartimaeus asked that he wanted to see. When you are confident that you are asking with pure motives (see James 4:3), you can be bold and specific in prayer.