Now we get to the most exciting part of this study. The A.S.K. Principal is the centerpiece of this labor of love so I’ll jump right into it. I have a lot of scripture to share with you and may have to break this first session about the first step – Ask – down two or three posts because I know this will get rather lengthy.
The first scripture is an obvious one. It is our main text. Now to Matthew Chapter 7:7-11.
7 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:
8 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
9 Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone?10 Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?
11 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?
We are going to center on the Ask portion of this for this post – seek and knock will be covered later. Jesus says ask and you shall receive. It doesn’t get much clearer than that. Remember this word Ask in the Greek is a word that meas keep on asking until you receive and that would be a literal translation of this verse. Some of the preaching that’s out there today says if you don’t receive what you want after the first asking you don’t have enough faith. Personally, I believe that it takes more faith to ask again and again and again because it shows that we trust God to come through for us. Often He wants to teach us patience through our request. He tries our faith (James 1:3) to bring patience out in our lives.
Then Jesus gives a few example of people who ask for something good and questions us whether we would give them something bad in return. He says if we, being evil, (I think it’s interesting that He calls us evil) give good gifts to our children, how much more should God give good things when we ask. He is just waiting for our requests, and we can know whatever He gives us is good, even if it doesn’t seem so at the time.
The second scripture is from John 15:7.
7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.
This is in the middle of the discourse about the vine and the branches. It is very important that you understand this principle but I do not have the time or the space to go into that on this post. If you are not familiar with it, please read John 15. The key word here is abide. This word means to stay with or wait with. If we abide in Him then we will ask and it will be done. He equates abiding to a branch that is connected to the Vine and receiving its vital life giving resources from that vine. If our lives are connected to Jesus in such a way then this verse applies. if we are connected to Jesus in such a way we will not be asking for frivolous things just for the sake of asking because we think He’s some kind of a grand Gift Giver. We will be asking for the vital, life giving resources that can make us better disciples and bring Him glory.
Now I take you to John 14:12 -14.
12 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.
13 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
14 If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.
In this portion of scripture Jesus not only says that if we ask in His name He will do what we ask. He adds that if we believe on Him we will do greater things than He has done. This is quite a phenomenal statement considering He healed all the sick, raised the dead, opened blind eyes, freed the captives and many other things. The important part of this verse is that we ask in His name. His name is the Word. He is the Word made flesh that dwelt among us. When we ask in His name we ask according to His Word.
The other thing that He says is that He will do it so the Father may be glorified, not so that we may be glorified. If we are asking because we will receive some kind of glory, I do not see this prayer being answered.
That takes us to the next portion of scripture and James 4:2-3
2 Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not.
3 Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.
James is telling us that our desires are not being obtained even though we fight and quarrel. We cannot obtain because we don’t ask and when we do ask, we ask amiss – to consume on our own lust. To me this throws the prayer of the prosperity group right out the window. I also have a problem with the Prayer of Jabez which many people enjoyed a few years ago. I saw this prayer as one that was a prayer to consume things on their own lust. This is not the correct way to ask because the Father is not glorified when we are prideful in the things we obtain. Asking with a humble spirit is a key to answer prayer (we will cover this more soon)
Now we go to James 1:5-8
5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
6 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.
7 For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.
8 A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.
James talks about asking God for wisdom and says it will be given us when we don’t waver. He equates wavering to a ship being tossed in the sea (think of the movie The Perfect Storm). If you have been on such a ship you know it’s not fun. The double-minded man will receive nothing from the Lord because he is unstable. We must not be double-minded when we ask. If we want the answer from God we must have all the faith in the world that God will answer. No matter how long it takes, we must pray through. God will bring us the wisdom we need in His due time.
Our next scripture comes from 1st John 3:22
22 And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight
We asked and we received because we keep his commandments and do those things that are pleasing in his sight. This is the scripture a lot of people like to just pass over, thinking that He will just answer our request because we asked, like He owed it to us or something. God is not some big Santa Claus in the sky. He is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, the creator of all things. He answer when He decides to answer and how He decides to answer. We should come expecting, but know that it is only His grace that He provides things through our prayers. He tells us very plainly here that keeping His commands and doing things present in His sight are prerequisites to answered prayer.
Now I’m not trying to say that God does not answer the prayers of the destitute and the lonely. Psalm 102:17 says he regards the prayers of the destitute. He wants to answer their prayers. Psalm 51:17 tells us that the Lord loves a broken spirit and a contrite heart. He will hear the prayers of people in that condition whether they are saved or sinners.
Now let’s go to 1st John 5:14-15.
14 And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:
15 And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.
Do you have this confidence, that if you ask according to His will he hears you? Are you confident of that? I am! His will is the written word of God and our prayers need to be in line with scripture to secure an answer. If we are confident that he hears, that means we know that he hears us. Whatsoever we ask, we will have. This is because God honors His word. Psalm 138:2 says “ I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.” That is high regard!
Now let’s go to Matthew 21:22
22 And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.
Jesus says us that all things that we ask in prayer, if we believe, we will receive. Many people take this verse and use it solely to say that they will get what they want. But we have to take the whole body of scripture together to find out what the Ask really means. We cannot carelessly pray for anything on the face of the earth and expect it to be done, regardless of how we lives our lives. Prayer just doesn’t work that way.
Next is Matthew 18:19
19 Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.
This is another verse that is used a lot by the prosperity believing in group. If we agree as touching anything that we will ask it will be done. I do believe there is a lot of power in two or more getting together and praying for needs. After all, God said One can put a thousand to flight and two can put ten thousand when He is engaged in the battle (Deut 32:30) . We still have to be in line with the rest of the scriptures that talk about Asking . We can’t just take this verse and stand on it alone and think that no matter what we ask, God will do it.
Now to John 15:16 (just a few more)
16 Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.
Jesus talks about those who are chosen and ordained. They will ask so He may give it to them. Notice that before He makes that statement, He says they would go and bring forth fruit that remains. I could go on for a long time about fruitfulness, but for now let’s just say fruitfulness means bringing souls to Christ. I believe the prayers of the those people that have been saved by grace through faith are powerful. We should have a ministry of intercessory prayer, which is one of the most powerful ministries we can have. It is fruit-bearing prayer. When we pray for somebody else it becomes very powerful. God honors our intercession. (We will be discussing this more as we go on)
John 16:23-27 is our next destination.
23 And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you.
24 Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.
25 These things have I spoken unto you in proverbs: but the time cometh, when I shall no more speak unto you in proverbs, but I shall shew you plainly of the Father.
26 At that day ye shall ask in my name: and I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you:
27 For the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God.
Jesus says we should ask the Father in his name which is different then the other scriptures where we are told to ask in His name, or according to His Word. Up to this point . the Jews prayed to the Father and not to Jesus. Jesus is changing the way people pray. Later on in this portion of scripture He does again says to ask the Father in His name. We go directly to the Father but we petition Him in Jesus name. So there are two ways that we are supposed pray. We can pray to Jesus according to His Word or His will, or we can pray to the Father and pray in Jesus name. Either one is just as effective.
The last portion of scripture is Ephesians 3:20-21.
20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,
21 Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.
This is a powerful portion of Scripture and I would like you to make sure that you understand it. It tells us that God is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we Ask or think. We do not know exactly how God will answer our prayer. But whatever He does and however He answers, we can know that it’s exceedingly abundantly above what We ask . It is much better for us in the long run no matter what the answer is. He has put his Holy Spirit within us to guide us into His plan when we submit by being patient and waiting for the answer to come. God is Sovereign and He will answer our prayers when and how He wants to. Then He has put the power within us to utilize that answer to bring Him glory. All have control over is the Ask and our attitude toward the response He gives us. Let us always give Him glory when He answers prayer, no matter how He answers. Proverbs 3:6 says “In all they ways acknowledge Him”
I know that this has been a much linger post than I usually write, but these are the scriptures that I’ve chosen to talk about Ask. Thank you for bearing with me. There are dozens, if not hundreds more we could go to. In the next post we will show examples of people that asked and received. We will also talk about a few people that Jesus talked about and how they brought their petitions. Stay tuned