I am sure you must have heard the popular joke about a man that is always praying saying “give me, give me, give me because my name is Jimmy”. I have heard many preachers use this joke when condemning what many believers do, making God an ATM machine, only and always asking God for what they need alone.
And the truth is that it is a totally wrong approach to prayer, going to God alone when you need something, only to ask what you need.
Where is the place of worship and praising God, adoration on who He is, thanksgivings for what he has done in the past? Where is the place of praying for others, praying for the expansion of His will and gospel on earth?
But I have also learned of other people who have gone to the other extreme saying we shouldn’t ask God for what we want, but we should ask him only for what He wants for us, i.e. His will.
Let us attempt to see what the Bible day on this subject.
What does the bible say about Asking God for what we need?
“For the idolaters eagerly seek all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you.” — Matthew 6:32-33
One major passage used to support the claim that we are not to ask for what we need, first because God knows already and secondly because we are not to seek after our needs but the kingdom of God instead.
But I believe this is a misinterpretation of the above text.
The major message here was against worry and anxiety that comes with the thought of our needs and the unknown future.
“This is why I tell you: Don’t worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Isn’t life more than food and the body more than clothing? — Matt 6:25
But this doesn’t negate trusting the God that can feed the sparrows and cloth the lilies to meet our needs.
Look at the birds of the sky: They don’t sow or reap or gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you worth more than they? Can any of you add a single cubit to his height by worrying? And why do you worry about clothes?…So don’t worry, saying, ‘What will we eat? ’ or ‘What will we drink? ’ or ‘What will we wear? ’” — Matthew 6:27-31
This text further shows that God cares about our needs. If He cares about birds and plants that are in no way valuable like man, how much more man?God cares about our needs. If He cares about birds and plants that are in no way as valuable as us, how much more man? Click To Tweet
We see a similar text that informs us that God knows what we need before we ask.
“For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him. In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name…give us this day our daily bread…” — Matthew 6:8-9, 11
But note from the above text that the fact that God knows what we need should not deter us from asking. It should give us the confidence to ask knowing He (God) is listening and He will answer.
Jesus in the above text was talking about people who uses many words and mindless babbles because they think that is what will make God hear them. But He instead taught how they should pray (not what they should say when praying, we mix both up).
Pray with the confidence you are talking to your father “My father”. Pray with gratitude and worship. Seek his will above yours and make your request known to Him.The fact that God knows what we need should not deter us from asking. It should give us the confidence to ask knowing He (God) is listening and He will answer. Click To Tweet
“If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!” — Matthew 7:11
Here Jesus painted the kindness and liberality of God to answer their prayers and giving them what they ask for by comparing God to earthly fathers. Earthly fathers even though being evil won’t give snakes to their children who ask for fish, how much more God.
There is nothing wrong in asking God for good things. He is a father better than human fathers. He gives good things to those who ask Him! So it’s not wrong to ask.There is nothing wrong in asking God for good things. He is a father better than human fathers. He gives good things to those who ask Him! So it’s not wrong to ask. Click To Tweet
““And in that day you will ask Me nothing. Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you. Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.” — John 16:23-24
It is not a sin to ask God for what you need. There is nothing wrong in asking God for what you need. God wants to answer your prayer. He wants your joy full by answering your prayer, so He said you should ask.God wants to answer your prayer. He wants your joy full by answering your prayer, so He said you should ask. Click To Tweet
James already taught that things ask for self-gratification won’t be granted by God.
You ask and don’t receive because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your evil desires. – James 4:3
I understand that when we tell people to ask God for what they need, some think they can just ask for anything, ask that some dies and such ridiculous requests. and truth to them, that might be what they want. But we need to understand that God honours His word, so requests which are only according to will as seen in the word of God are answered.
Now this is the confidence we have before Him: Whenever we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears whatever we ask, we know that we have what we have asked Him for. – 1 John 5:14-15
I know you won’t see a bible verse saying that it’s God’s will for you to have money to pay your house rent or school fees to attend college, but we know that God is the giver of good things James 1:17 and if ‘He did not even spare His own Son but offered Him up for us all; how will He not also with Him grant us everything?’ – Rom 8:32.
So, we can discern His will from his word, from His character and from the numerous examples in the Bible.I know you won't see a bible verse saying that it's God's will for you to have money to pay your house rent or school fees to attend college, but we know that God is the giver of good things. Click To Tweet
I’ll conclude with this popular bible verse;
“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. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who searches finds, and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. – Matt 7:7-8
So, Ask away! Your heavenly Father is listening and He is willing and able to answer.
Recommended read on this subject;
This article on DesiringGod by John Piper will help greatly also; You Can Never Ask Too Much