“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: for every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.” (Matthew 7:7-8)
Have you ever been discouraged because you asked God for something but you didn’t get it? Maybe someone kept telling you to continue praying for it (contend for it) and you would get it in God’s timing? Ever ask someone why God isn’t answering your prayers? Same answer, keep praying, it’s all in God’s timing.
I’ve heard the above taught for so long, but could not accept it in my spirit. It sounds good, what’s the problem? God will answer in His time, that’s a fact, but in His way. Sometimes when God doesn’t answer, the answer is “no”, sometimes it’s “wait”. Those are God's answers! We can’t force God’s hand to do anything, no matter how much we beg and plea. And I am eternally grateful that God cannot be manipulated!
But here’s the key, Jesus said we are to pray “Thy will be done.” If I’m praying for something that is not God’s will, why would He grant it or bless it? The problem is that if I continue to ask for it instead of entering into God’s will, He just may let me go my way and experience the consequences of my desire!
To make matters worse, so many times I’ve witnessed this, someone will pursue their desire until they finally get it and now they are giving God all the credit for getting what they wanted, when God had nothing to do with it! Then when the consequence occurs, God is the One they are mad at! They actually blame God for giving them what they asked for! Again, God isn’t the one who is blessing any desire that is in opposition to His word.
God established through Moses that He was giving the Israelites statutes and ordinances for their protection. Whenever they stepped outside of those boundaries, they were operating in the world’s system, which was sin, and they placed themselves outside of God’s protection. We see many times in scripture how battles were won when God lead them, but if they decided to go into battle without consulting God, they lost. What a testimony to us of the importance of asking for His will and being obedient to His answer!
I remember reading scripture years ago and thinking how dumb the Israelites were to not obey God, after all, because of their disobedience the adult generation didn’t even get to enter in to the Promised Land. With that thought in mind, why is it ok for you, or me, to insist God give us our desire when it doesn’t line up with His word or His plan for our lives? Are we acting any differently than the Israelites were? The sad answer is that we are not.
The first word in verse 7 is “Ask”. Ask means to pray and supplicate. What are you asking for? Are you asking for God’s will or your will? If you really don’t know if what you are asking is God’s will, what is the proper thing to ask? Simply, “God, is what I’m asking in Your will?”
How do we hear God’s response? I will tell you how God communicates in my own life. As I’m in the Word He will begin to lead me to scriptures that give me the answer. Not one, two or even three! It’s usually pages of scriptures! I journal and I could show you the extent God goes to so I understand in full understanding the situation I am in. I often am doing several Bible studies at the same time, and every single one of them will have scriptures that apply 100% to my situation! At this place, I get a 100% peace in my spirit, whether or not it was the answer I was looking for. But I have peace because I know God’s heart and His desire for me. Other times He speaks to me as I worship Him or I am quietly sitting and waiting for Him to speak. The key, obviously, is that when we spend time in His presence, He will begin to share His heart for our lives.
At this point, some may want to ask others for their opinion as to what they think they've heard. If you have a spiritual mentor or are close to your pastor, asking for prayer over the issue is fine, but be careful who you are asking. God knows His plans for you, this is not an opportunity to gather a consensus.
So there is a decision to make, do I step out in faith trusting God in His response and living in peace, or do I pursue my plan? James 4:17 states, “Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do, and does not do it, to him it is sin.” I love how God gives us the extra “push” to make the right decision! Now if I choose my own will instead of God’s, not only am I going to need to repent for my sin, I’m also going to have to deal with the consequences because I am out of His will!
Psalm 139:23-24 states, “Search me, O God, and know my heart, try me and know my anxious thoughts; and see if there be any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way.” God really makes it very simple for us, but we try to complicate everything! So our next “ask” is to ask God to change our heart to align with His.
Now that I have decided to try it God’s way, how do I know it will work out the way He wants? Proverbs 19:21 tells me, "Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but the counsel of the Lord, it will stand.” Praise the Lord!
If you are sincere and wait on the Lord during this time, it will be one of the richest, most blessed times you will have with the Lord. Your eyes will be open to see Jesus’ heart of love for you. This is your time of discovery of who Jesus really is and who you really are to Him. You will be amazed at the depth of relationship you will begin to experience. See, something I learned a long time ago was, I can hear something from someone else and think “that’s good”, but when my eyes and ears are open and I “discover” the truth through the Holy Spirit, I now own it. It’s part of me if I choose to walk in it. It will transform me if I allow it. Romans 12:2 states, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”