Lately God has been reminding me of the power of prayer and boldness to believe He can move. To believe that He hears me. To believe that He wants good things for me. To fight for what He is cultivating. To ask.
Growing up with so many different philosophies circulating the church about prayer and what is okay to ask God and what’s not okay to ask God, I’ve often felt conflicted in the past when talking to God about things that I want.
I used to feel uncomfortable asking God for something.
I was afraid to ask.
I felt that asking God for something was too much for Him to handle, or indicative of Him not being enough, or an immature habit. I didn’t want any of those things to be true of me. So I would refrain from asking. I would convince myself that I was okay with whatever He did and that I didn’t need to ask Him for anything more than what He had already given me.
But I’ve been learning just how shallow that theology is. It’s not biblical. It’s not true.
John 16:24 say this, “Until now you have asked for nothing in My name. Ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be complete” (emphasis mine).
What an encouragement.
God wants us to ask.
God wants us to talk to Him just like we do in any relationship and that involves asking Him things. He wants us to ask Him for things. God wants us to partner with Him in demonstrating our acknowledgement of Him as the giver and us as the receiver. It’s an important element of our relationship with Him. Humbling ourselves to ask even when we fear that it may not be answered the way we expect.
I really believe God wants to blow our minds by how boldly He will answer if we would be bold enough to ask.
I love the woman in the gospels who boldly approaches Jesus, just hoping to touch his robe. She knows that if she can touch even the hem of His robe then she will be healed. Boldness. Audacity. Faith. And she is healed. Jesus moves. Jesus responds. Jesus heals.
I used to assume that praying for things that I wanted was bad. That wanting things offended God and made me a useless lover.
But nothing could be further from the truth!
God does want to bless us!
He’s showing me that it actually brings Him pleasure to bless us! It makes Him happy.
God has started showing me this in many ways the past year.
When I was at home for Christmas break, I was watching a special on the E! channel for Jason Kennedy and Lauren Scruggs’ wedding. I know, I know…the E! channel. The same channel that graced us with the Kardashians. It caught my attention. And as I watched this wedding, many pastors I know of that are influential were there including Matt Chandler. He was the one performing the wedding ceremony ironically. As the ceremony continued I was getting a little upset watching it. Feeling suspicious. Feeling discouraged. Was all of this really real or just for TV? But I couldn’t turn the channel. I kept watching.
Then the moment came for the groom to kiss the bride. And I’ll never forget what Matt Chandler said to the groom as he initiated the moment: “It brings me great pleasure, Jason, to say you may now kiss your bride.”
“It brings me…great pleasure.”
I had never heard anything like that before.
I had never thought about the moment of someone else’s ecstatic joy bringing the one in charge of that moment such overwhelming pleasure.
His words have forever changed the way that I see God’s heart for me in wanting to give me good things…not because He relents and finally give us what we want…but that He actually experiences enormous pleasure in blessing us…in seeing our joy.
There’s something special about witnessing others’ joy.
I experienced this while at another wedding a few weeks ago with a friend. Because of the groom’s Mexican heritage there was a lot of dancing. I love dancing. And this was the first time in a while that I had got to dance and have fun and experience such a cheerful celebration. I enjoyed it so much. But what really touched my heart was towards the end of the night when I sat down and just watched.
As I watched everybody dancing, smiles radiated like delicate flowers and shimmering lights. Eyes lit up like sparkling stars in the sky. A synesthesia of laughter and joy at the same time.
I couldn’t help but be mesmerized by the happiness of all the people I saw dancing.
I saw a simplistic delight.
An effortless bliss.
A contagious joy.
It touched my heart so much.
And it permeates my mind as an ever-increasing reminder that God feels the exact same way about us when we experience joy.
Psalm 149:4 says,
“For the Lord takes pleasure in His people;
He beautifies the afflicted with salvation.”
Zephaniah 3:17 says,
“Yahweh your God is among you,
a warrior who saves.
He will rejoice over you with gladness.
He will bring you quietness with His love.
He will delight in you with shouts of joy.”
God looks down from Heaven with love and tenderness in His eyes… taking pleasure in our pleasure…experiencing delight in our delight…finding joy in our joy.
Our God created us after all, not because He needed us or anything we could give Him, but because He wanted to create a people to love and relate with. So we have the capacity to bring God pleasure with our lives through the joy He gives to us. How beautiful.
In light of this, it is imperative that we allow God to receive joy by letting Him be the blesser that He wants to be. But we have to pray boldly.
Asking God with boldness and assurance that He can deliver is a gift you can give God because you are letting Him do for you what you will end up giving Him glory for.
And others will get to hear about it and they will see just how great God is by how he moved in your life.
John 14:13-14 says this: “Whatever you ask in My name, I will do it so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.”
If we ask God something in His name, in unity with Him, in line with His heart, and in tune with how His Spirit is already leading us and making itself evident to us, He will act. And if it’s in His name, the Holy Spirit will guide us.
God wants us to ask.
He takes pleasure in our asking.
And He delights in our confidence in Him.
He wants to show off His glory.
Bring God some joy today.
Ask Him for bold things.
Talk to Him.
Let Him complete what He has started in you by partnering with Him through believing that He can fulfill the longings of your heart.
Don’t be afraid to want what God has put in your heart as a longing. If you are truly seeking Him, He does want to fulfill those longings. He wants to bless you. He wouldn’t have created blessings as a part of the human experience if He wasn’t the orchestrator of it all. Trust that He is a good God and a good father who wants to bless His children.
Luke 11:11-12 says, “What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead of a fish? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion?”.
God doesn’t intend to give you anything less than best. Ephesians 3:20 says, “Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen.”
He will not give us a stone or a scorpion. He’s not trying to give you something so He can take it away and tease you with the idea of it. Pray boldly for what you want and that it would glorify His Name. And watch how He answers.
God has been showing me that I need to pray boldly and audaciously.
One of the best books I’ve read is called Sun Stand Still by Steven Furtick about radical faith. Over the past week I’ve picked it back up sensing the Lord reminding me of the importance of boldness in prayer. This book, Sun Stand Still, talks about praying audaciously like Joshua did when He asked God to make the sun stand still over Gibeon when fighting the Amorites. God had promised Joshua already that He would hand the Amorites over to Israel. But Joshua still asks the Lord in bold faith to show up and do the impossible on their behalf. And God responds. Immediately. God hears his prayer. God acts.
In Joshua 10:12-14, it describes his bold faith:
“12 On the day the Lord gave the Amorites over to the Israelites, Joshua spoke to the Lord in the presence of Israel:
“Sun, stand still over Gibeon,
and moon, over the Valley of Aijalon.”
13 And the sun stood still
and the moon stopped
until the nation took vengeance on its enemies…
14 There has been no day like it before or since, when the Lord listened to the voice of a man, because the Lord fought for Israel.”
What if we asked God to make the sun stand still in our lives?
What if we believed so audaciously and boldly that God was big enough and powerful enough to move, that we talked to Him with radical confidence in asking Him to do the improbable and the impossible? It has encouraged my heart so much.
May Joshua’s bold faith and God’s immediate response prompt us to come to God unashamed and truly confident that He can and will move on our behalf. May we ask Him. May we ask.
If we don’t ask God, we will be tempted to think what happens is coincidence.
If we don’t ask God, we will be tempted to think we made it happen on our own.
If we don’t ask God, we will elevate our own free will over His desire to orchestrate things in our lives.
Hebrews 11:6 says, “Without faith it is impossible to please God.”
And watch to see how He will move.
It’s exciting to see how God answers us when we ask Him.
I pray for you and me that we would find confidence in our God to ask for and believe in great things. I pray for boldness to believe that He will move in a mighty, supernatural way in our situations. I pray that we wouldn’t be afraid to ask God for what He has stirred in our hearts, but that we would recognize His hand in placing those desires there and ask Him in faith to fulfill it.
Whatever you are experiencing right now, bring it to the Lord and let Him have access to your deepest longings. Recognize that He is a good giver. He wants to bless you. Ask Him. I used to think it wasn’t okay to ask God for anything. But now I see that it would be a great tragedy to not let God experience joy by getting to answer my prayers. Let Him have that joy. Let Him have the chance to answer you. And He can only answer if you ask.
“Keep asking, and it will be given to you. Keep searching, and you will find. Keep knocking, and the door will be opened to you.”
Questions for Today:
- What longings within my heart am I afraid to ask God for?
- Why am I afraid?
- Do I believe that God is a good giver and a selfless giver?
- Why does God take pleasure in my pleasure?
- How can I ask for God to make the sun stand still in my life?
- What next step is God asking me to take in my relationship with Him today?
“Strong God” by Vertical Church Band ft Meredith Andrews