God gave us free will as our birthright. In fact, our will is the only thing we own; everything else belongs to God.
It’s important that we understand that.
It’s even more important to understand that God respects our free will. That means, he won’t override it.
Then how do we get God to intervene when we need his help?
Prayer gives permission to God to intervene in our lives.
When we pray, we hit the override button on our free will.
God knows what we need, but we need to ask him in order for him to be able to override our free will.
So ask him!
Jesus says we don’t have because we don’t ask. We need to ask God – that is, to make an inward and/or outward statement FROM THE HEART – if we want him to intervene. If we don’t do that, even though God knows we need something, he’s not going to intervene because he respects our free will.
I’ve written before about prayer simply being a conversation with God. But prayer, sadly, is something most people only do on occasion or for special purposes, whereas Paul tells us we need to “pray without ceasing”, that is, to pray ALL THE TIME.
We need to ask God for help and advice through prayer all the time, not just on special occasions or before we fall asleep at night. We need to keep a running conversation with God all the time.
“You have not because you ask not.”
God’s people are strong-willed, even though to the world they might look otherwise. Unfortunately, strong-willed people tend also to be very independent and to think they can do everything for themselves, leaving God out of the picture. But even as strong as Jesus was (and he was by far the strongest person who ever lived), he still kept a running conversation with God, meaning that he prayed for God’s help and guidance all the time.
We need to do the same.
All the time.
Because tests and temptations come at us non-stop. We may not see them as such, but they are. So we need to give God permission to intervene in every aspect of our lives, not just the “spiritual” parts. We need to ask his help and guidance when we choose our meals and our clothing, when we’re doing business deals, when we’re dealing with difficult people, when we’re going shopping – whatever choices we make in the run of a day, we need to get God’s help and guidance. We can even ask him to get the dog next door to stop barking. God will do that, if you ask him. Or if for some reason he chooses not to stop the dog from barking, he’ll at least make it so the barking doesn’t disturb you anymore. But he won’t do that if you don’t ask him.
This is what Jesus meant when he says “YOU HAVE NOT BECAUSE YOU ASK NOT.”
We need to ask. We need to keep the conversation with God running all day long, like Jesus did. God should be the first one we greet when we wake up in the morning, and the last one we say good-night to before we fall asleep. During the day, we should know he’s with us like a faithful companion and always ready to intervene at our word. But you have to ask. Yes, God knows everything, but you still need to ask. You need to give God permission, because he will not override your free will without your explicit permission.
If you do nothing else today, open a conversation with God and keep it going until the day you die. Know that God is with you at all times through his Spirit and he wants to guide and help you in everything you do. Give him permission for each thing you want help with, and remember to thank him. Thank Jesus, too, because he’s also with you in Spirit. We’re all one family in God’s Spirit. Jesus promised us we would be, and so we are.
If we have not it’s because we ask not.
So let’s ask!