Imagine you have an appointment with God tomorrow morning. Let’s say He is going to appear before you at 5:00am and say, “Ask whatever you want and I will give it to you”. What will you ask Him?
You are probably thinking, “This is not a realistic situation and it happens only in fairy tales and books”. Well, what if I tell you that this is something that happens to us every day of our lives?! Let me explain.
Do you believe in God? Do you pray? Do you have a relationship with God?
If your answer is “Yes” to the above questions, then this situation happens to you every single day of your life. What do you do in prayer? You have a conversation with God, right? Every time you close your eyes for prayer, God is standing before you waiting to grant your desires.
Years ago I attended a teaching series on “Prayer” in our church and I understood that prayer was not a religious activity of saying a few prescribed sentences at a prescheduled time, in a predefined manner. Prayer is a time when you have a conversation with your creator. Prayer is the time when you discuss, ask and participate with God in the task of fulfilling His purpose for your life. So, every time you pray, you face a situation where you have the opportunity to ‘ask’ God for something and receive it from Him.
But what will you ask of Him?
Remember, you are not asking a friend or another human being, you are asking the most powerful person in the world. He is omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient. He is the one who created the heaven and earth. So you better ask something that is worthy of Him, and you better ask something that will please Him. But what is the prayer request that will please Him?
To get an understanding of the kind of request that will please God, we are going to look at 2 examples from the Bible. One from the old testament and one from the new testament.
Old Testament example:
God appeared to Solomon, and said to him, “Ask! What shall I give you?” – 2 Chronicles 1:7
Solomon becomes the king, and then he goes to Gibeon and offers a sacrifice to God. Later that night God appears before him. Instead of just blessing him and giving him whatever would be good for him, God gives him a choice – to ask for anything he wanted. We go on to read that Solomon asked for ‘wisdom’ and God was pretty pleased with this request and granted his wish. In fact he was so pleased that he granted him unprecedented and unequalled riches, wealth and honour along with the wisdom that he asked for.
New Testament example:
Jesus asked the blind man, “What do you want me to do for you?” – Luke 18:41
One day Jesus was traveling and a blind man cried out to him from the road. Jesus stopped and asked people to bring this blind man to him. Instead of just assuming that a blind man would only want to be ‘not blind’ anymore, Jesus gives him a choice, to ask for anything he wants. We go on to read that Jesus was obviously pleased with his request that he healed his blindness and gave him his eyesight immediately. The Bible deliberately uses the word ‘immediately’ in verse 43 to show us how pleased Jesus was with this request.
These 2 examples happened in 2 different time periods, in 2 different circumstances, to 2 very different personalities. But the common element in both circumstances are:
- God appeared before them
- Instead of just giving them something that God thought was good for them, he asked them what they wanted. He gave them the power to make a choice.
- Both of them asked for something that obviously pleased God.
Using these 2 example, we can learn some principles of what we should be asking God, on a daily basis, during our prayer time, when we stand before Him almost everyday of our life.
What to ask God when He appears in front of you
1. Ask for something significant that only God can do:
Ask for something that is significant – something that is not possible unless God can do it.
John Edmund Haggai said, “Attempt something so great that it’s doomed to failure unless God be in it.”
The blind man asked for his blindness to be healed, which is neither an everyday affair, nor a simple job to do, even by today’s advanced medical standards. It was obviously something of very high significance that was possible only with divine intervention. It was a bold request. Many times we underestimate God’s power and we refrain from making bold requests. Please remember that God is not limited by anything. I think Jesus was mighty pleased with the audacity of this man asking for his eyesight back.
So when you ask God for something be bold and audacious. Ask for something so significant that without God it would be impossible for you to have it.
2. Ask for something that is in God’s heart
God’s heart is full of love for His people. He is always a God of justice, mercy, love, peace and joy. Everything He does, He does out of love for mankind, His special creation, His own offspring. That is why He was so pleased with Solomon’s request at the center of which there was a desire to serve the people.
Solomon’s request was not just for wisdom but for wisdom to “lead the people”. He asked for wisdom for political leadership that so that he might be able to govern them justly. He could have been a despotic, cruel, selfish and greedy king. He certainly had the power and the position to do so. But in all humility and a sense of purpose, he asks for wisdom to lead God’s people to God’s plan and purposes for Israel, and for God’s glory. We see that the reign of Solomon was one of justice and peace. The people enjoyed peace and prospered greatly in his reign. It was one of the most successful monarchies in the history of mankind. God gave it to Solomon, because he asked God for wisdom with the right intention – for the sake of His people.
3. Ask for something that helps you fulfil your purpose in life
In both circumstances, the requests made by these men would release them into their full potential. I think that is an important factor that pleased God. With his eyesight, the blind man became a powerful tool in the hand of God showcasing God’s goodness to others, which probably was one of the prime purposes of his life. The Bible says that people saw what happened to him and they praised God. And I hope and imagine that this man went on to put his eyesight to good use and did what God created him to do.
Solomon, with the wisdom that he received from God, was able to build such a powerful and vast kingdom that people from all over the world came to see and hear what he had to say. (You can read about his kingdom, fame and his wealth in this Wikipedia article). This brought much glory to God. We see that the Queen of Sheba who visited Solomon saying, “Blessed be the Lord your God” (2 Chronicles 9:8) after seeing all the amazing things that Solomon was able to do with the wisdom that he asked for and received from God.
So when you ask God, let your request be something that will help you fulfil your ultimate purpose in life. Invariably, we are called to help others in some way – the purpose of God in our life is never just about ourself, our well-being and our ego. Solomon used his wisdom to build Israel as a great nation helping multitudes of people live a better life in a good kingdom. Similarly, you and me are called to use the gifts that God gives us to help others. Keep these 3 points in mind when you make a request to God in your prayer time.
Hope this helps you understand the heart of God and the power of prayer. All the best.