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Praying is Asking

February 23, 2024
Yorba Linda
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As we walk through the season of Lent, Pastor Chris Ward shares some practices to help us grow closer to Jesus and deepen our faith in a series of weekly devotionals leading up to Easter. This week, he focuses on the subject of prayer.

I find that these days there are a lot of interesting misconceptions about prayer among Christians. One of the biggest misconceptions that exists is that prayer is not about asking God for things, but it’s about trying to “listen” or “hear” from God. Now, while I do not doubt the importance of being attuned to God’s Spirit and learning to walk in Him every day (Galatians 5:16), I also want to make it clear that according to the Bible, “prayer” is not primarily about listening to God; it’s about talking to Him and asking Him for things!

Indeed, the two words that the Bible uses the most for prayer—a Hebrew word in the Old Testament and a Greek Word in the New Testament—are words that mean, at their core, “to petition.” And when Jesus talked about prayer, He talked about it fundamentally in terms of asking God for things: “Ask and it will be given to you!” Jesus said (Matthew 7:7). Other Scriptures say the same thing: “You do not have because you do not ask!” James reminds us (James 4:2; see also 1 John 5:14-15; Mark 11:24; John 15:7).

To me, this is the most amazing part of prayer: that our God invites us to actually ask Him for things and to ask Him to do things. This shows the loving care and concern that God has towards us: God knows that there are certain things that are important to us, and rather than leaving us to try and to procure those things for ourselves, God wants us to ask Him to give us those things. And like a loving Father, God listens to us and promises to give us the things that we ask for that are good for us (Matthew 7:9-11).

Is there something that you want or need in this season? A better job? More time to be with your family? A healthy check-up at the doctor? A wandering son or daughter to return to the Lord? The best thing you can do about those things is to ask God to do something about them. Don’t think that you are burdening God when you do that.  He wants us to do it. He invites us to do it. And He invented prayer so that we could have the opportunity to do it. So ask, seek and knock—and be amazed that the God of the universe is listening to you and will respond according to His gracious nature! How incredible is that?