Monday: The Foundation of Biblical Prayer – Ask God

Read Matthew 7:7. Before we can receive anything from God, we have to ask for it. Why is our asking so important, if God knows everything anyhow?

Biblical Prayer

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Asking reveals our desire and expresses our trust in God. Through prayer we approach Him, from whom we seek support and help. When we ask God, we also publicly give Him permission to become active in our behalf. God wants to be asked. He desires that we bring to Him our prayer requests. If we do not ask Him, we will not receive the gifts He has promised. Jesus said: “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened” (Luke 11:9-10, NKJV).

Read Mark 11:24; 1 John 5:14-15; and Psalm 66:18. Why is no prayer request too big for God? Why is it good to know that God is generous and loves to give out of His abundance? What is the prerequisite for God to fulfill our prayers?

We truly can ask God for anything. No request is too small or unimportant for Him. No request is so big that God cannot handle it. He is omnipotent. By faith we may claim every promise in the Bible and receive the promised gift from His hands according to His will (2 Cor. 1:20).

Yet there are some conditions to be met in order to receive what we are asking. If we are not willing to submit fully to God, and if our requests reflect only our selfish and sinful desires, God will not answer our prayers (see Isa. 59:1-2). An important condition for the fulfillment of our prayers is our willingness to follow God’s will and to be obedient. “All His [God’s] gifts are promised on condition of obedience.” – Ellen G. White, Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 145. Knowing that God is generous, we can come boldly to Him. “The Lord is not glorified by the tame supplications which show that nothing is expected. He desires every one who believes, to approach the throne of grace with earnestness and assurance.” – Ellen G. White, Signs of the Times, Aug. 7, 1901.



Monday: The Foundation of Biblical Prayer – Ask God — 21 Comments

  1. Why is it that God cannot answer our prayers verbally? Or at least in our head? We have to see the answers in the future events that unfold instead.

    • Kelvin, I do believe God answers us "in our head" when we give Him the opportunity. He has provided abundant guidance through Scripture and even through church teachings and experience. He has given us the capacity to draw principles from these teachings to guide us today. He wants us to exercise our powers of reason and discernment so that we may grow strong in faith. He has promised to give us wisdom when we need it. (James 1:5)

      Sometimes we may not hear the answers because we have not given Him the opportunity to speak to us through His Word. There are other benefits to spending time studying the Scriptures:

      The mind will enlarge if it is employed in tracing out the relation of the subjects of the Bible, comparing scripture with scripture and spiritual things with spiritual.
      There is nothing more calculated to strengthen the intellect than the study of the Scriptures. No other book is so potent to elevate the thoughts, to give vigor to the faculties, as the broad, ennobling truths of the Bible. If God’s word were studied as it should be, men would have a breadth of mind, a nobility of character, and a stability of purpose rarely seen in these times. (Steps to Christ, p. 90 )

  2. While I do acknowledge the He speaks to my heart, I agree with Kelvin that at times I really wish I could hear his direct voice saying yea or nay, or giving a direct response or guidance. Then again, God knows best because the times when he did that in the Bible were the instances when he made some great demands on the Patriarchs and Prophets, and while am growing am fearful of what He may say; because then we would have no excuse for not obeying...

    • Satan loves nothing more than to misrepresent Christ, if God spoke audibly would that not give Satan an even bigger advantage to misrepresent Christ's speaking? Satan already uses that tool too often? Test the spirits by the word! When Christ walked the earth the living word was harder to misrepresent!!

      • God does speak to us all. We ought to listen carefully and we will hear Him speaking to us all through the many experiences in our day to day living.

    • Vee, I think we've all wished to have audible answers to our requests at times. 🙂

      You make a good point in that God spoke audibly to the patriarchs on special occasions, like when He made some great demand on them. I believe God still works that way. Although I don't remember any incidents in which God spoke to me so that I could hear with my physical ears, there have been time when He spoke to me clearly enough that it might as well have been an audible voice. Not sure that would make a difference, because we still have to "test the spirits," (1 John 4:1) as Sharon Foster points out.

      I believe the bottom line is that God does not want us to be robots controlled by voice commands. He wants to develop a personal relationship with us, so that we know intuitively what He wants us to do. We will obey Him by following our own impulses, because these impulses have been purified by the Spirit. Through the Holy Spirit we may all have such a close relationship with Him.

  3. Sometimes the answer comes right away! And sometimes it doesn't seem to come!

    Being a father helped me to understand that I cannot give everything that my daughter thinks is good for her, she is a kid, learning about life. In my experience, a lot of things that may look good to my daughter really is not!

    Our relationship with God is similar. He knows the end from the begining. Thus, we can continue to ask, but we have to have confidence that He will answer what is best for us. But sometimes, although God has already answered, we do not see it because we are expecting something different!

  4. I have often times prove that when we trust in God He answers our prayers by doing more than we ask or think He would do. It gives joy to see how our loving heavenly Father cares for our ever need.There is no limit to His goodness.

  5. The principles of praying was taught by Jesus. In matthew 6: 9-13 it tells that we must first acknowledge the supreme being, "Our father..." it is also evident in many of his other prayer sessions (e.g. John 17:1; Mark 14:36), then on to the point of asking for his (God's) will be done. When this foundation was set, he then proceeded to ask for his wish(es)/desire(s) to be done. We see similar trends in all of Jesus's prayer while on earth (Matthew 6: 9-13; Mark 14:36;John 17) just to name a few.Constant prayer was apart of his daily life both for himself and for others (Hebrews 5:7). The problem with our prayer life is that we are sometimes so scared to ask for God's will to be done because we are fearful of the outcome not being favourable with our desire. Jesus himself in his human nature portrayed this trait (Luke 22:42), however, he recognized that his desire was not necessary the will of God, hence he continued not my will but your will be done. We too need to overcome such fear by believing God knows what is best and will never give us what is not good for us (Matthew 7:11). Another aspect of this foundation of prayer is recognizing that by asking for things, a heart of gratitude will be stimulated. When we ask and God answers, it will prompted us to say thanks even moreso if the request is " very dear to/ has burden our hearts" . Jesus also demonstrated this principle (John 11:47). I am thanking God for the power of prayer.

  6. "Before we can receive anything from God, we have to ask for it." (SSQ Monday)

    Don't we need to qualify “anything”? God sends the rain on the just and the unjust, as well as the sunlight. Many blessings from God we have never asked for. What Jesus is saying is to encourage us to have faith in God's promises, coming boldly(in faith) before the Throne of God who is ever ready to hear our prayers. If every needed blessing was dependent upon our asking, we would fail of many blessings. I doubt that Joseph was praying to be sent to Egypt in order to save his family from starvation a few years later. If God had answered Joseph's request to return home safely from his brother's evil intent, there would have been no nation of Israel. Even Egypt would have perished. God blessed though no one was praying for that particular blessing. Yet we are encouraged to ask for specific blessings, according to God's will.

    "What is the prerequisite for God to fulfill our prayers?" (SSQ Monday)

    The prerequisite for our praying could be found in Eph 5:17, along with Ps 66:18 and other passages of scripture where God has clearly defined the conditions for His great promises. One cannot read God's Word without getting a clear understanding of these conditions which He has made plain. He WANTS to protect, prosper, heal all who will allow Him by seeking to know and obey His will, which is always in our best interest. Remember Joseph.

  7. I was praying to God once to change something negative that was happening in my life and before I said the final word I heard "Everything has to pass" I was shocked in awe and amazed all at the same time for that had never happened before. Still praying but with a different approach.

  8. Good day i have a question,from the lesson on Mon it is said those who are obedient are the ones God will listen their prayers Isaiah 59:1-2 alludes to that.So does it mean sinners prayers are not entertained and answered by God since sinning is against the will of God.Romans 3:23 says we have all sinned.How are our prayers entertained then since we sin almost daily

    • Good question Denver! Psalms 66:18 says if we cherish iniquity in our hearts God will not hear us. Yes we all sin, but there is a difference in my understanding between someone who makes mistakes and sins, and someone who intentionally cherishes sin, not asking forgiveness or for freedom from the sin. Psalms 51:17 says a broken and contrite heart the Lord will not despise. So I believe if we are truly sorry for our sin and ask forgiveness He will hear and forgive.

  9. Iniquity means “premeditated choice, continuing without repentance.” Isa. 59:1,2 states that our sins and our iniquities separate us from God, or prevents God from doing for us what He wants to do. Sinning is not a practice we do daily. 1 John 21,2 says My little-children, I am writing these things to you in order that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an advocate with the Father: Jesus Christ the Righteous. We cannot expect the Lord to answer us while we are practicing the very things we are praying to Him about. We must make an effort to stop doing those things. Then when we slip by the way, Jesus will advocate for us.

    • I liked your answer Delreta. I used to think the same way Denver mentioned until I understood the difference between sin and iniquity. I used to say how could God not hear me when I prayed if I sinned. As a sinner am I not supposed to cry out to God.But when I understood the difference it all made sense.

  10. Thank you for all your replies. I am glad that so many of you share your experiences about a very private matter of your life.

    Prayer life can be difficult at times because the reply is not instantaneous or prompt. We are always left wondering how things will work out. It can be a yes, no or later. Nobody can be sure. Some say, "then what's the point of praying?"

    Praying enables us to know God's will for us. Events usually pass without us recognising that when we pray, we see God in motion in our lives.

  11. There was a period in my life when God did speak audibly and His presence was tangible. It was a terrible trying period when there was no support familial or otherwise and my heart was determined despite circumstance to serve Him. I could feel myself breaking but God wouldn't allow me to be completely crushed. He stayed with me letting me know He was there.

    Thats not the way things have worked always. There is a balance of trust and faith in God that doesn't come naturally for me.

    Those whom I should've been able to trust have not been trustworthy. I have wrongly interpreted God to be like them at times. The Holy Spirit is constantly redirecting my trust from my attempts at 'right doing', and circumstance to God Himself. He is my hope of righteousness and the source from which all my needs are cared for. I know because of His word and gracious acts towards me daily.

    It's hard not to hear Him sometimes because He has spoken to me audibly before, but He's teaching me at the same time, my trust in Him has to be based on something other than my senses.

    I love God for being such a good Father to teach me to trust Him despite my errors and helping me overcome weaknesses one by one. I thank Him for His patient lessons on trusting Him and His Word.

  12. God wants us to pray. Christ exhorted His disciples to pray. Persistent intercessory prayer is good for us. It is a clear sign of our dependence on God and our commitment to finding His will. In Luke 18:1 we learn the lesson of persistence. Such prayer requires faith in God Almighty. Continuous prayer demonstrates faith and belief in the promises of God, embracing them with persistence even though the answer is not immediately forthcoming (Heb. 11:13, 39). Persistent and searching prayer helps develop our relationship with the Lord. We learn to know that God answers prayer in His way, in his own time and for His wise purposes. Luke 11:9 exhkrts us: “And I say to you, ask, and it shall be given to you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you. This is to say, we must keep on praying, searching for God’s will and purpose. Those who persist in prayer receive answers from God Almighty. (verse 10). James 1:17 assures us that the Father is the giver of “every good gift and every perfect gift.” God knows our needs (Matt. 6:32) and He always supplies “all your need according to His riches in glory by Jesus Christ.” (Phil. 4:19).


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