If you don’t ask

One of the wonders of the internet revolution is that we need no longer be left with questions.

When I was a girl, if you had a question, you had to find an adult who might know the answer, go and get the encyclopaedia (which in a book was relatively limited!), wait until the library opened and see what you could find there – or just keep on wondering.  Now Google is my friend (Other search engines are available!).  We have instant information at our fingertips.  When we ask, we can have an instant answer to our question.

But perhaps that takes out some of the effort of asking and seeking out the answer.  And internet searches cannot help us with those questions that only a person can answer, questions of desire and will.

This weeks readings are very interesting questions of God’s heart and mind – and how we ask him for what we want.

Abraham becomes party to God’s plans for Sodom and Gomorrah.  God has heard of their wickedness, and is going to check it out.  If their actions are as wicked as God has heard, then he is going to destroy them.  Serious stuff!  Abraham is concerned by this, and intervenes on behalf of the innocent people he assumes are there, those who have been doing the right thing.  Surely God won’t destroy them for the sake of the wicked.

Abraham bargains hard on behalf of the people, such is his concern for the good and righteous people of Sodom and Gomorrah.  He will not let it drop with God, and manages to get a promise from God that if only ten right living people are found there, God will not bring destruction.

I wonder how I would have reacted in that situation?  Would I have been relieved that at last God was going to do something about those wicked people, and stood by and applauded, assuming it served them right?  Or would I have had the strength of Abraham to think of then people, and plead for the safety and salvation?

How keen are we to plead to God on behalf of others.  Not just mention it briefly to God in passing, but to plead with him for them?  To take seriously the plight of others, however they behave, and show God how serious we are?  Abraham was not going to let it go.  God had to know how serious his request was.

Jesus points to this same issue in Luke 11.  The disciples have seen Jesus praying, and want him to teach them what to do.  Perhaps they had seen that his prayer life was so much more than theirs.

Jesus gives them an outline for prayer that involves honouring God, looking for the kingdom, praying for need, asking forgiveness for sins and protection from temptation.  He then goes on to principles of prayer.  He tells them a strange story of a friend begging for food at midnight.

The point is that this man is a worst case scenario – a friend who won’t open the door to you even if it is midnight!  But eventually he does because of the man’s persistence.  If even this poor example of a  friend will do that, how much more eager will God be to grant our petitions.

Human fathers know how to treat their children – how much more so will our heavenly father.  The only question I suppose is are we willing to ask?

Do we show God the intention of our prayer?  Are we concerned enough to bring situations to God over and over – not because he is stubborn or needs persuading – but to show our seriousness in praying.  Do we care enough to plead with God for the world and situations in it?

Prayer is serious business.  We are not just putting nice words together, but asking God to do something.  We need to show God how serious we are.

And if you don’t ask…

…you don’t get

~ by pamjw on July 20, 2010.

One Response to “If you don’t ask”

  1. A most helpful and apt message Pam. John Wesley was known to spend two hours every day in prayer.
    Had not thought about the pleading aspect.
    This is a tremendously valued service you are undertaking
    and I trust it may continue to be a blessing and inspiration to many.



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