Maybe it’s just the cooler and grayer day, but it seems both Closet Kitty and Abby need a little more of my attention today. I am typing, without the benefit of seeing what I write on the screen because the cat decided the only way to get more of me right now was to come between the computer and me. I remember having lunch with a friend of mine years ago, and her son taking her face in his hands, saying, “Mama, please look at me when I’m talking to you.” He said it so innocently. What I thought was especially wise about it was he knew what he needed and how to ask. Children (and animals) seem to instinctively know they need more love, more hugs, and more undivided attention and will ask in one way or another. (You don’t want the other. It comes in the form of poor behavior.)
It would be helpful if adults were as adept at asking for what they need. We are told “Ask and it shall be given. Seek and ye shall find. Knock and the door shall be opened.”—to a God who knows our needs before we even ask. So, why would we need to ask? And why don’t we ask?
I think there are reasons we don’t ask that might hinder our prayers and our relationships in life. One reason we don’t ask is that we either feel self sufficient or feel like we should be self sufficient. We might be too embarrassed to look so needy or frankly, be needy at all. It just isn’t that attractive. John Piper says that Christians are trying to look too slick these days. “The more professional we long to be, the more spiritual death we will leave in our wake. For there is no professional childlikeness (Matt. 18:3); there is no professional tenderheartedness (Eph. 4:32); there is no professional panting after God (Ps. 42:1).But our first business is to pant after God in prayer. Our business is to weep over our sin (James 4:9). Is there professional weeping? Our business is to strain forward to the holiness of Christ and the prize of the upward call of God (Phil. 3:14); to pummel our bodies and subdue them lest we be cast away (1 Cor. 9:27); to deny ourselves and take up the blood-spattered cross daily (Luke 9:23). How do you carry a cross professionally? We have been crucified with Christ; yet now we live by faith in the one who loved us and gave Himself for us (Gal. 2:20).” (http://www.desiringgod.org/ , May 14, 2007) It isn’t always pretty—that’s for certain. However, our pride could be what keeps us from receiving a blessing. Another reason we don’t ask is we feel afraid, thinking it is too much to ask or frivolous. God says not a sparrow falls without his notice and the very hairs on our head are numbered. Do you think He would find our requests trivial? Because He is a God who pays attention to the minutest detail, I think He must like it when we are diligent and thorough in our requests to Him.
Back to the original question: Why are we told to ask when He knows our needs before we ask? Psalm 37 says, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” I think the answer lies in the first part of that Scripture. If we are truly delighting in Him, trusting in Him, committing our way to Him, and waiting on Him, He will give us the desires of our hearts. This is not a formula to simply be lavished with gifts from the great Giver in the sky, but a way of life that aligns our hearts with Him to know Him, to be in relationship fully engaged with Him. If we are not getting the desires of our heart, perhaps our hearts are not in line with His Will. When our hearts are set on Him, He makes our desires rightfully aligned. We ask according to His Will. We ask with all faith, knowing He is 100% faithful to His Word, and He will answer. And it must please Him so, that we know the Source of all goodness and blessing so personally. He is faithful even when we are not. If we didn’t ask, we wouldn’t expect an answer or even recognize the gift was from Him. He does know our needs, our hearts’ desires. He takes our sweet face in His Hands, and looks lovingly into our eyes and says, “I hear you, my child, and you can rest knowing your Father God is seeing you through.” Come as little children. Ask. Seek. Knock. Go ahead. He’s waiting for you.