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Why Don’t We Ask God?

Bits & Pieces (September, 2005, p 4) ran a story about a panic-stricken mother named Melissa who was driving home accompanied by her six-year old son. Her husband had just phoned to tell her the family's much-loved dog, Gertie, had slipped her leash during a walk to chase a cat! He had looked everywhere but Gertie was gone! Melissa said to him over the phone, "God only knows where she is." As she drove through their neighborhood she carefully scanned the area for the cat-chasing canine. "How will we ever find her?" she wondered out loud. "She could be anywhere by now." Suddenly she heard six-year-old Max pipe up from the backseat, "Why don't you ask God?" Mom was jerked out of her intense search mode and said, "What did you say, honey?" Max replied, "You said only God knows, so why don't you ask Him?" Melissa chuckled and said a silent prayer. When she turned the next corner, there was Gertie barking happily up a tree at a wide-eyed neighborhood cat!

I know it's just a nice little story. But wisdom is found from the mouth of Max in the question, "Why don't you ask God?" Praying is not something that gets top billing in American culture, but it ought to in the Lord's church. What Jesus says about prayer in Matthew 7:7-11 should often send us to our knees, or at least put us in a praying mode and mood - "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. Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!" Two truths are worth noting. First, we can trust God to answer our prayers. Psalm 65:2 describes God as "0 You who hear prayer." Even a good parent may at times be distracted and not hear or respond to a child's question or request, even a legitimate one. But the Bible assures us that if we ask anything according to God's will, He hears and will respond to our requests (1 John 3:22; 5:14-15). A second truth is this — like any loving, caring father, God not only hears when His children ask — He always gives good gifts. He is not an overindulgent parent nor is He a mean-spirited Father who gives harmful gifts to His children. You can trust Him to give only good things in answer to prayer. Psalm 84:11b tells us, "The Lord will give grace and glory; No good thing will He withhold From those who walk uprightly." No good parent can give a child literally anything and everything the child requests. To do so would be ruinous to the child! As the old adage says, "Give a pig and a boy everything they want, and you get a good pig and a bad boy." James 4:3 reminds us it is possible that Christians, too, "ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures." God won't say yes to that kind of prayer. We can be assured God hears when we pray, and that He will answer — sometimes yes, sometimes no, sometimes wait awhile. Do you face situations in your life where only God knows? Then why don't you ask God?

Dan Gulley
Smithville church of Christ