When you just need to ask

“Don’t bargain with God. Be direct. Ask for what you need. This isn’t a cat-and-mouse, hide-and-seek game we’re in” (Matthew 7:7).

Wilbur and Lucy enjoy a little squirrel gazing together above, but one of our daughters has a pet cat who is very friendly with her pet mouse, an unusual relationship. I don’t think the way they relate to each other is what Matthew is talking about in this verse.

He’s saying instead of playing games, hesitating, and avoiding, we need to go directly before God with our requests.

It’s interesting how often we will do everything in our own strength to solve a problem and suffer the consequences of doing so before we stop and ask God to help us.

Of course, our asking should be filtered through the line in the Lord’s prayer, “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10). What the author Jan Karon calls “the prayer that never fails,” which her character, Father Tim, often refers to. And of course, we need to check our motivations for what we’re asking. Is a thirty-foot yacht really in keeping with what the Lord has for us? Could be, but the answer to our request depends on His purpose--not our desire alone, but our need.

Paul wrote to the Hebrews, “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” When we approach the Lord, we go as His children. We go with confidence before the Lord knowing He hears our prayers.

And when the Lord replies, we need to receive the answer and not resort again to our own devices if God’s response doesn’t look like what we imagined.

So, if you’re realizing you haven’t asked concerning a situation you’re in, now would be a good time. Who knows what the Lord may do?