I've been thinking a lot lately. I want something really specific and I am just not sure if its ok to pray about it. I don't want to put limits on God's plans for me. At the same time, I want to talk to God about my desires. I want him to know how I feel. Praying about my feelings makes me feel better. I want to tell him just how I feel about the whole situation. I pray regularly. I have an internal dialogue with God going on almost all the time. Admittedly, sometimes its not the nicest things. There are times when I'm complaining, nagging God, trying to get my way, so don't think I'm above average in the holiness area... I struggle too. But I'm pretty much always talking to God these days. That was something that I used to reallllly struggle with. Now, I'm presented with a new dilemma. What exactly do you ask God for? How specific is ok?
Do I ask God to bless me? Is it ok to ask for good health? Should I pray that my head feels better when I have a headache? I just don't know how specific its supposed to be. Is it even alright to ask God to bless me? I'd feel selfish and guilty to even think such things. Of course, I had to investigate this. Honestly, its been driving me crazy. If I want something can I just ask for it? Well, here's what I came up with... Scripture about asking God for things.
Matthew 7:7 – 8 (ESV)
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.
Matthew 7:11 (ESV)
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 21:22 (ESV)
And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.
John 14:13 (ESV)
Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
John 15:16 (ESV)
You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.
John 16:23 (ESV)
In that day you will ask nothing of me. Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you.
So, you may be asking … “where’s the catch?” What do I have to do to make all this happen? Well scripture answers THAT too...
Matthew 6:33 (ESV)
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
God tells us to SEEK HIM FIRST … and then, He will meet all of our needs. This is true with all of our asking. We first need to align ourselves with God’s Will and then he will meet all of our needs. So if you're prayers aren't getting answered, then this MIGHT have something to do with it. We have a God who loves us more than anything we can imagine – which means he wants what is best for us. We have a God who knows everything, sees everything, and who is able to do anything because He is all powerful … it only makes sense that I would want the things He wants me to have because those things will be what is best for me. So … yes, we can – AND SHOULD – ask God to bless us. We should seek to be in line with His will and pray as He leads us to pray.
However, you and I both know that we do not always get everything we ask for. Why not?
One reason is that sometimes we do not put God first in our lives. Jesus told us to "seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you" (Matthew 6:33). We must put God first in our lives if we expect Him to answer our prayers.
Another reason our prayers aren't always answered is that we sometimes ask out of selfishness. In James 4:3 we read: "You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures." Before we ask God for anything, we should ask ourselves what we are going to do with the things God gives us. Will we share with others? Will we acknowledge God's blessing in our lives? Will we praise him for what he blessed us with?
Finally, sometimes we put God first, and we ask intending to share with others, but we still do not receive what we want. Why? Because God knows what is best for us. Paul had a serious medical condition. He asked God three times to fix his problem, but God never did (2 Corinthians 12:7-9). God said it was best for Paul not to be healed. God knew what was best, even though Paul may not have understood it at the time. So, I'm not limiting God when I pray for specifics. He understands that we don't always know what best for ourselves. We just have to understand that HE always does.
So if you want something from God, put Him first in your life, put others' needs before your own, and keep asking Him. If it is best for you, then God will give you what you desire. He knows what he's doing... and not only does he not mind, he WANTS you to ask!