When Casey and I were dating in college, I surprised him with tickets to see David Copperfield at the Cal Poly Performing Arts Center. He always loved magic tricks as a boy, so I thought it would be a fun date night together. The show was really fun, even though my brain was just moving a million miles an hour trying to figure out how he was doing everything. The trick that I just couldn’t get over, and still can’t to this day, was when he was standing on the empty stage, then threw up a silver, billowing curtain for about .5 seconds, pulled it down, and there was a full-on ’57 Chevy sitting on the stage. Mind-blowing. Now, obviously I know that this was an illusion, that really it had been there all along somehow, but I didn’t have the eyes to see it. The magician had kept the workings hidden from me until he was ready to show me the final result with a big voilà!
Ever have a ’57 Chevy moment? Like, a time where you have NO idea how God is going to pull through. A time when you need Him DESPERATELY? A time when you need a big fat Chevrolet to appear on your life’s stage out of the blue? Are you asking God in your desperation, and do you expect Him to pull through? Or do you just get on your knees and ask, pretty, pretty please? Our prayers need not be fingers-crossed beggings and pleadings for maaaaaybe a little bit of help. The veil has been torn (2 Cor 3:13) and we can approach His throne with boldness in our asking! “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Heb 4:16). We approach with boldness.
James 5:16 says, “the prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” Before we even begin to ask, we need to know that if we are one of His righteous, our prayers are powerful. They are weapons against the enemy, and they affect change. They have the power to demolish strongholds (2 Cor 10:4), they bring peace that surpasses understanding (Phil 4:6), and they can bring healing (James 5:15). When you pray, the God who made the moon and the sun and the billions upon trillions of stars in the heavenlies is listening to you. “For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer” (1 Peter 3:12).
We approach with boldness. Our prayers are powerful.
God wants us to ask Him.
ASK HIM: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. “Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”” (Matt 7:7-11).
ASK HIM: “I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it” (John 14:13-14).
ASK HIM: “You do not have, because you do not ask God” (James 4:2).
There are so many passages I could list about ASKING God in prayer. He wants us to ask Him for everything. All kinds of things. He asks us to bother Him. He wants us relying on Him. So if we’re asking so much, how come we aren’t getting what we ask for? Look at the next verse.
“When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God” (James 4:3-4).
Whomp whoooooomp. There goes 99% of what we ask for. Maybe that’s why 99% of the time it seems like the answer is no.
We have not because we ask not, but when we ask we don’t get what we want because we ask with the wrong heart. We are to be praying in Jesus Name. His stamp of approval over our words to the Father. Our motives are to be kingdom motives, not selfish motives. We are to ask for the purpose of God’s glory, not for our own comfort. There’s no magic formula to follow. The key to affirmative prayer is pressing into Him, that our spirit would be in like mind with the Holy Spirit, and that we would pray in agreement with Him, in the name of Jesus, to God’s glory. When we are in Him, when that “flame’s a burnin’,” our motives change from selfish ones to kingdom ones. Otherwise, the apostles would have been bajillionaires. That’s not what they asked for. They asked for His will to be done. For His glory. Even if that meant being eaten by lions.
We approach with boldness. Our prayers are powerful. God wants us to ask Him.
Do not doubt.
“If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does” (James 1:5-8).
If we approach the throne with boldness, knowing that God hears us and is faithful to answer, and we pray in Jesus name with His kingdom purpose central to our asking, for God’s ultimate glory and not our own comfort, and we believe Him and do not doubt, we will receive what we ask for.
You were asking for a Pinto. PLEASE God, give me a Pinto! I neeeeeeeeed a Pinto! I WAAAANT THAT PINTO! But you didn’t get that Pinto. And you won’t get that Pinto. You know why? God has a ’57 Chevy waiting in the wings. And quickly, the veil is pulled back for the audience to see the shiny red ’57 Chevy sitting right there on the stage that had been waiting for them all along.
That Chevy may not look like $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$.
It may look like poverty.
But what you’re seeking, dear friend, that longing in your heart, is not for more of thi$. It’s for more of Tha†. He’s it. The one behind the curtain so excited to reveal Himself to you. It’s Him. He is the answer to all of our prayers. He is the center of the asking and the object of our receiving. All for His glory. Now go, ask with some oomph for God to be glorified in you today. He’s faithful to do it.
**It’s been two weeks! How are you doing on your daily reading plan!? If not so good, Catch Up!