Jesus made some amazing promises for those who put their trust in Him. Do you believe His promise to give you what you ask for?
- Matthew 7:7-8 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.
Seems pretty straightforward – ‘Ask, and it will be given to you…’ However, I am very confident all believers have asked Jesus for something they haven’t gotten. So why is that? Was Jesus wrong? Was Jesus lying? Or worse yet, did Jesus not know what He was talking about?
If you have asked Jesus for something and not received it, perhaps you just haven’t received it yet! God does things according to His schedule, not yours (or anyone else’s).
- Ecclesiastes 3:1 To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven:
Another possibility is that you have asked for the wrong thing(s)! What Jesus said in Matthew 7:7-8 is absolutely true. But, as with every verse in the Bible, scripture must be interpreted and applied with consideration of all other scripture. In other words, you can’t just pluck a scripture out of the Bible and apply it any way you want to.
Just a couple verses later, Jesus said:
- Matthew 7:11 If you then, being 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!
Jesus promised that God will give ‘good things’ to those who ask Him. I believe that God’s view of good things is often quite a bit different from ours. Imagine a young child asking their father if they can eat ice cream for every meal, stay up way past bedtime every night, or to play with a loaded handgun. The child may say please, beg, and cry to get what they want. But no matter how persistent a child is in asking, the father has the perspective and experience to understand what is good for the child. A child sometimes doesn’t understand what is good for them.
Our Heavenly Father is all knowing; He is infinitely wiser, smarter, more loving and more experienced than His children are. So, in general, when we ask for something that is not good for us, He is not going to give it to us. Certainly there are exceptions. He will sometimes allow or bring things into our lives that are very difficult. He does this to discipline and teach us (see Hebrews 12:5-6 and James 1:2-4). But in the long run, these things are for our good.
So if God is ready, willing and able to give us good things when we ask Him for them, how do we know what to ask for? Here are some verses to consider.
Asking for ‘Good Things’
- 1 John 5:14-15 Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.
- Good things are in accordance with God’s will. But God’s will is a very complex subject. God desires some things. He allows other things. And sometimes, God makes things happen. And although we can’t fully grasp all this means, we can’t use our current lack of complete understanding as an excuse not to seek out, trust in, and pray for His will. He has given us His Word. He has given believers in Jesus Christ His Holy Spirit. He has given us the privilege of prayer. He has given us other Christians to provide wise counsel on such matters.
- James 4:3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.
- Good things don’t align with our selfish, covetous, self-centered desires.
- John 14:13-14 And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.
- Praying in the name of Jesus is not a magic formula that automatically results in you getting what you want. Praying in the name of Jesus means you pray in the power and authority of His holy name. It means you submit to His Lordship and ask that things be done according to His righteous desires and plans. It means you turn your requests over to Christ and trust that His way is perfect.
Here are a few Biblical examples of good things people asked Jesus for. Let them serve as an example for you to:
Ask Jesus to -
Help Your Unbelief
- Mark 9:24 Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”
- Doubting that God can do what you ask or that He will do the right thing is a great way to make your prayers ineffective (see Matthew 21:22 and James 1:5-8). Ask Jesus to help you believe.
Increase Your Faith
- Luke 17:5 And the apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith.”
- Your faith in God can be measured in quality and quantity. Quality is about your level of confidence that God can do all He said and promised. Quantity is about how often you genuinely apply your faith in God to the obstacles, needs and problems you and others face in life. Ask Jesus to increase the quality and quantity of your faith.
Tell You Who He Is
- John 18:33 Then Pilate entered the Praetorium again, called Jesus, and said to Him, “Are You the King of the Jews?”
- Many people have asked Jesus who He is; some in person, some in prayer. The Bible records three basic responses from Jesus when He was asked if He is the Messiah/Savior/Son of God/etc.: 1. No answer (see Matthew 21:23-27); 2. An affirmative answer in the form of a parable, Old Testament scripture reference or a statement about the testimony of His good works (see Matthew 11:1-6); and 3. A clear and direct affirmative answer (see Luke 22:70). Humbly and sincerely ask Jesus to show you who He is.
Show You the Way
- John 14:5 Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?”
- Jesus is the way to the Father, the way to truth, the way to eternal life. Isn’t that worth asking Him about?
Heal You/Heal Others
- Mark 10:51 So Jesus answered and said to him, “What do you want Me to do for you?” The blind man said to Him, “Rabboni, that I may receive my sight.”
- Matthew 8:5-7 Now when Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, pleading with Him, 6 saying, “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, dreadfully tormented.” 7 And Jesus said to him, “I will come and heal him.”
- Jesus has healed countless people. Only He knows if being healed is a good thing for you or the one(s) you are praying for. Don’t make assumptions. Don’t try to figure it out yourself. Ask, see what He does, then you will know.
Give You Guidance/Direction
- Matthew 19:16 Now behold, one came and said to Him, “Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?”
- Luke 3:10 So the people asked him, saying, “What shall we do then?”
- Luke 3:12 Then tax collectors also came to be baptized, and said to him, “Teacher, what shall we do?”
- Luke 3:14 Likewise the soldiers asked him, saying, “And what shall we do?” So he said to them, “Do not intimidate anyone or accuse falsely, and be content with your wages.”
- If you truly want to know what Jesus expects of you, He truly wants to tell you. Ask Him.
Bottom line, we should seek God diligently, pray for what we believe are good things, and then trust Him to do what is in our long-term (eternal) best interest. If you have asked Jesus for something that you believe is a good thing and you haven’t received it yet, be patient; perhaps it is coming soon. If you never receive it, He has something better in store for you.
- Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
- James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.
Eternal Father, You are love, You know what we need and when we need it. I pray Father that You will give Your children the faith and patience to wait for and accept the good things You provide, and to understand that when You don’t provide something requested in prayer, that from an eternal perspective, it was not a good thing. Help us to trust completely in You! I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.