Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete. John 16:24
Our Men’s Bible study for this week is entitled, “You Do Not Have Because You Do Not Ask.” Our study has a story about a wife (Joyce) who wanted a piano but her husband (Scott) didn’t think they could afford a piano because they were trying to save money for a down payment for a house. The couple would often argue about the piano. One day, Scott was reading and meditating on James 4:2 which says, “You do not have because you do not ask.” Scott decided to ask the Lord for the piano. To shorten the story a little, over the next couple of months $850 of extra money came to them from various unexpected sources. Then, Scott saw an advertisement for a piano for $850 (which was a very good price) by an Air Force family who was moving and didn’t want to take the piano with them. Scott recognized that God answered his prayer by giving them a piano.
So often we make our plans but don’t do our praying. So often we argue about things we should be praying about. God is a good Father and He invites us to come to Him in faith and dependence. Now, John 16:24 (above) is not a blank check from God. 1 John 5:14-15 tells us that when we ask according to His will, He hears us. James 4:3 warns us about asking with wrong motives. We certainly want to pray with right motives and trust the Lord to do what is best for us. I think back about all the things that I have spent more time worrying about than praying about. Isn’t it foolish to worry when our Father in Heaven invites us to come to Him in prayer?
As I have been studying Daniel 6 this week, I have been challenged by Daniel’s faithfulness to prayer. I’ll talk a little more about prayer on Sunday but Daniel was wholeheartedly committed to prayer. David Jeremiah noted that, “Daniel would rather spend time with the lions than miss his time with the Lord” (Agents of Babylon, 102). As we see God’s hand of favor upon Daniel’s life, it is likely that Daniel’s time with the Lord was the secret to his character, his courage, and his usefulness.
We would be well served to establish a daily time for prayer and guard that time each day. Daniel prayed at three specific times each day. We should at least get in a habit (discipline) of praying at a particular time each day (mornings work best for me). Things will come up and there will be times where we miss, or have to shorten, our prayer times. That’s ok, just start back the next day. One of the things that we have been learning in our men’s group is the benefit of praying after taking some time meditating upon a Scripture. It is very helpful to pray that Scripture back to the Lord asking Him to help us obey His Word.
We know that prayer was a top priority for Jesus. He regularly got alone with His Father. In John 5:19, Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of His own accord, but only what He sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise.” Wow! We need to spend time with our Father if we want to know His heart and His will. I suspect that Daniel would testify that his prayer life was the key ingredient in regards to his wisdom and leadership.
Both Jesus and Daniel clearly show us the importance of prayer in our lives. We are invited to come, to ask, and to be filled with joy when our Father answers our prayers. I can’t recall the number of times that this simple question (Why haven’t I prayed about this?) has dawned upon me. How foolish not to make prayer a first action when issues of life come up. Are there some areas of your life right now where you should be bringing to the Lord in prayer? Let us heed the Lord’s words in Matt. 6:6, “But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”