It happened that while Jesus was praying in a certain place, after He had finished, one of His disciples said to Him, "Lord, teach us to pray just as John also taught his disciples." And He said to them, "When you pray, say:
`Father, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come.
Give us each day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins,
For we ourselves also forgive everyone who is indebted to us.
And lead us not into temptation.' "
Then He said to them, "Suppose one of you has a friend, and goes to him at midnight and says to him, `Friend, lend me three loaves; for a friend of mine has come to me from a journey, and I have nothing to set before him'; and from inside he answers and says, `Do not bother me; the door has already been shut and my children and I are in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything.' I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will get up and give him as much as he needs.
So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and he who seeks, finds; and to him who knocks, it will be opened. Now suppose one of you fathers is asked by his son for a fish; he will not give him a snake instead of a fish, will he? Or if he is asked for an egg, he will not give him a scorpion, will he? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?"
From "My Utmost for His Highest": There is nothing more difficult than to ask. We will long and desire and crave and suffer, but not until we are at the extreme limit will we ask. A sense of unreality makes us ask. Have you ever asked out of the depths of moral poverty? "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God...but be sure that you do lack wisdom. You cannot bring yourself up against Reality when you like. The next best thing to do if you are not spiritually real, is to ask God for the Holy Spirit on the word of Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit is the One who makes real in you all that Jesus did for you. "For every one that asketh receiveth." This does not mean you will not get if you do not ask, but until you get to the point of asking you won't receive from God. To receive means you have come into the relationship of a child of God, and now you perceive with intelligent and moral appreciation and spiritual understanding that these things come from God. "If any of you lack wisdom . . ." If you realize you are lacking, it is because you have come in contact with spiritual reality; do not put your reasonable blinkers on again. People say - Preach us the simple gospel: don't tell us we have to be holy, because that produces a sense of abject poverty, and it is not nice to feel abjectly poor. "Ask" means beg. Some people are poor enough to be interested in their poverty, and some of us are like that spiritually. We will never receive if we ask with an end in view; if we ask, not out of our poverty but out of our lust. A pauper does not ask from any other reason than the abject panging condition of his poverty, he is not ashamed to beg. - Blessed are the paupers inspirit."
Do you know how to ask? I'll admit, I have not known how to ask for anything until today. Maybe I figured that God knew the desires of my heart, so why would I have to state it plainly? But for some reason, I've always been afraid to ask. For anything. From anyone. I don't know where this comes from, really. A lack of assertiveness? A fear of having someone have to go out of their way for me? A fear of being in debt to someone? I honestly don't know. When people ask me for something, I'm there. But when I need something? Whew! I'd rather suffer through long hours of torture and exhaustion than have to ask someone for their help.
Somehow, today, this scripture was timely. I had three things that I really needed to speak to God. One: Help with the management of this household. Sometimes the laundry of four children and a husband seems like 12 children and a husband. More than the ability to "to just get it done," I needed a desire to get it done and a reason to get it done. Two: Finances. I am living by faith alone on this one, and God is always faithful. Every time we're down to our last dollars, a check mysteriously appears in our mailbox. Although this is wonderful and God is sooo good, I cannot have my husband working two jobs much longer. He has a heart condition. I need God to provide a way for money to come in without my husband completely sacrificing himself for this family. Do I appreciate it? Of course. Do I think it is fair? Absolutely not. I don't want to lose my husband to a heart attack because he spent his life providing for us.
Finally, the Theatre. We need a place. A tract of land, an old barn. I said it. I told God, we need someone to call up and say "Here". All of the ways in which we thought it would happen are now deadends. So I begged God: "Make the phone ring. Show me what newspapers to put ads in. Show me how to contact the Amish to build a barn. Do something."
I asked. It was the hardest thing I've ever done. My spirit took over and spoke in a language I had not heard. I was too busy crying to pay attention to what my tongue was doing. But I asked.
Your Father loves you and would be willing to give anything for you if you just ask.
I haven't had any cups of "instant-answered prayer" - YET. I will keep you informed if and when God comes through.
But again, I asked. May you be able to come to that place where you can put yourself before God, open up your mouth and ask.
You will be changed.