Ye Ask Not

By David J. Stewart

James 4:2, “...yet ye have not, because ye ask not..”

       One of the plainest and most obvious; yet woefully overlooked statements in the Scriptures is found in James 4:2, “...Ye ask not.”

The Bible is very plain... We don't receive from God simply because we don't ask.

What a frightening thought. This Bible verse emphasizes the utter importance of prayer. God is not playing games. We must ask to receive! One can't help but wonder how many blessings are forfeited each and every day because of a lack of prayer.

James 4:6 says, “...God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.” The proud are those who fail to pray. They think they can make it alone without God. If you don't pray, then God will resist you, and you won't receive. It's that simple. Whether God answers or not doesn't matter, our part is “TO ASK.” Many people don't pray because they don't get the answers they expect—when, where, and how they expect them. Let God be God.

Philippians 4:6-7, “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” God desires for us to come to Him in prayer, making our requests known unto Him. The Bible tells us to have an attitude of thanksgiving when we approach God in prayer. This is important, because gratitude comes from a humble heart. Remember, “...God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.”

Hebrews 4:16 teaches for blood-washed, born-again, believers to come “boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” “Boldly” because Christ shed His blood for our sins, granting us the privilege and right to approach God's throne of grace. Praise God for the literal precious blood of Jesus that gives all born-again believers unrestricted access to God's throne of grace 24/7, 365 days per year. Amen and amen!

Prayer is in itself an act of humility, being humble before God, which is why He wants us to pray in the first place. God already knows what we have need of, even before we ASK Him according to Matthew 6:7-8, “But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, BEFORE YE ASK HIM.” So why does God want us to ASK if He already knows what we need? It is because “...God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.” If we're too busy and proud to ASK, then God will resist us. Those believers who are truly humble, having a thankful spirit, will take out time to bring their burdens, griefs, fears, concerns, needs, problems, and desires to God in prayer. Notice in Matthew 6:7 that God discourages lengthy prayers. He just wants us TO ASK.

God the Father sent His only begotten Son into the world to seek and to save that which was lost (Luke 19:10). Romans 8:32, “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” Romans 8:32 teaches that the same awesome God Who gave up His only begotten Son to pay for our sins, will eagerly and freely give us all things. But all these things only come in accordance with God's will, in God's time, place, and manner.

Most people immediately think of materialistic possessions; but the Bible plainly states in Luke 12:15, “And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.” The things that matter most to God are the things that matter the least to most people, including carnally-minded believers (Philippians 2:21). The Bible clearly teaches that the testing of our faith pleases God (James 1:3). God wants us to struggle, suffer, and go through tribulation, so that we may learn, grow, and be used to glorify His name in this earthly life. The worse we have it down here, the more God can use us to accomplish His work. This is exactly what the Apostle Paul taught in 2nd Corinthians 12:9, “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” God is abundantly willing to give us all things; but the things that God wants mostly for us at this time is “my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

Most people ask amiss, desiring possessions and the good times here on earth; but God does not answer. God wants us to suffer and struggle that our faith may be built up. Unshakable faith comes from having our faith shaken. Hebrews 11:6 teaches that God cannot be pleased without faith. Faith is of paramount importance to God. There is no greater faith in the universe than trusting the Words of God (Matthew 8:8,10).

James 4:8-9 tells us to draw nigh unto God by turning our laughter and merry-making into sorrow and affliction of soul. The world is going to Hell. Demonic influences are everywhere. God is grieved much today over sin as He was prior to the flood of Noah's day, when every imagination of man's heart was continually wicked. Genesis 6:6, “And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.” It grieved God at His heart. This is why James 4:8-9 tells us to have sorrow if we want to draw near unto God. Amos 3:3 teaches that two must be AGREED if they are to walk together. God is grieved today over SIN CITY U.S.A., massive evil corruption, and the lost souls of mankind. If you want to be close to God, then you need to grieve with God.

Jesus foretold in Matthew 24:37-38 that in the Last Days humanity would once again return to their wickedness as in Noah's time. 2nd Timothy 3:1-5 is happening today. The world is filled with phony religious people. Although Jesus said “the love of many shall wax cold” during the Tribulation Period, we already see this wickedness occurring in society today because of iniquity everywhere. I believe we are living in the End Times. We are headed for a One World Government. Now is the time to draw near unto God, for He is grieved and has few friends these days.

The hymnist of the song, What A Friend We Have In Jesus, wrote:

What a Friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer!
O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.

This is certainly Biblical, as we learn in Philippians 4:6-7, “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Our part is simply TO ASK. Whether or not God answers, or we feel that God answers, is irrelevant. The Bible teaches in Philippians 4:6-7 for us to pray, placing matters into God's hands, and then having peace in those matters since we have cast them upon the Lord to handle (1st Peter 5:7). We ought to pray about everything; but especially those areas which we have no control over, and thus are helpless to change anything. If we do not ASK, then the Bible plainly warns that we will NOT RECEIVE. If we ask amiss, then we will not receive. The important thing is to take everything to God in prayer, and remember, Matthew 6:7-8 teaches that the length of our prayer is NOT what matters to God. What matters to God is that we simply ASK as James 4:2 teaches.

Let's just be honest, most believers don't pray because God won't give them WHAT THEY WANT. James 4:3, “Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.” The Bible commands us to cast our cares upon the Lord, assuring us that Christ DOES CARE for us (1st Peter 5:7). Most people wrongly associate their finances, health, relationships, et cetera, with whether or not they think God loves them. This is the errant thinking of a crooked and perverse generation (Acts 2:40).

We are commanded to pray about everything in our life. The Bible gives us the wonderful assurance that God is watching over us, protecting us from ourselves...

Romans 8:25-27, “But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it. Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.”

As you just read, “for we know not what we should pray for as we ought.” Thankfully, God's Holy Spirit intercedes on our behalf. We may pray amiss, but the Holy Spirit will help us out and intercede on our behalf before God the Father. The word “intercession” here is the Greek word huperentugchano and means “to intercede in behalf of.”

This Scripture passage is teaching that God understands that we are flesh and dust, as Psalm 103:14 teaches and; thus, the Holy Spirit helps our weakness in prayer. But if a believer refuses to pray at all because they are backslidden, then the Holy Spirit needs to chastise them (Hebrews 12:6-8). If we don't ASK God for anything, then we aren't even trying to please God, evidencing a complete lack of humility. Prayer is NOT an option, it is a command (1st Thessalonians 5:17).

God will resist a prayerless believer until they get right with God, humbling them self as 2nd Chronicles 7:14 teaches and then they begin to PRAY. Don't miss that in 2nd Chronicles 7:14, being HUMBLE comes before PRAYER. This is because sinfully proud people don't ASK God for anything. God resists the proud, and the proud are those who don't pray. YE ASK NOT!

Prayer is such an awesome deal from God. The Lord says that we are to pray, and not to pray lengthy religious prayers nor repetitious words as the heathen do. God just wants us to ASK, to show our humility and gratitude. But God goes a step further and says, if you pray and mess up, or don't know what you're doing, I'll help you pray. God couldn't be any more terwonderful (how's that for a new word?). God simply wants us to pray, TO ASK. But if we ask amiss, then the Holy Spirit will step in to intercede and speak on our behalf to the Father, explaining what we really need.

The word “infirmities” in Romans 8:26 is the Greek word astheneia and means “feebleness (of body or mind).” We are just humans, formed from the dirt of the earth, and there's no possible way that we could know what to pray for as we ought. When people ask me to pray for them, I ask for God's will to be done, because I've learned that God's ways and God's thoughts are far above mine (Isaiah 55:8-9). What most people mean when they ask for prayer is that they want good things to happen to them; but bad things nearly always benefit people far more than good things. Prosperity has destroyed more people than adversity ever did.

So if you ask me to pray for you, I'll pray for God's will to be done; fully knowing that God will likely send problems, troubles, and heartaches into your life to humble you. That is the only way you will ever grow in the Lord. Remember what Paul said in 2nd Corinthians 12:9 about his troubles and infirmities... that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” The average person cannot even begin to fathom what Paul is talking about, because they don't walk with God.

I challenge you, and myself as well, to ASK OF GOD. James 4:2 says, “...Ye ask not.” If we don't ASK, then we won't receive. The correct Biblical attitude to have concerning prayer is to PRAY WITHOUT CEASING as 1st Thessalonians 5:17 teaches, and then rest assure in our mind and have peace in our heart, knowing that we have cast our burdens upon the Lord (1st Peter 5:7; Philippians 4:6-7). We ought to communicate with God throughout the day, walking with God as our Father, touching bases with Him on everything. The Christian life is NOT a religious life; it is a personal relationship between an individual person and Jesus Christ. Do you know Him? Have you been born anew of the Spirit of God?

God works in mysterious ways; that is, mysterious to us, because we cannot see beyond the hands of time. It is easy to see God at work when we view over thousands of years of history past, but we need to trust God step-by-step today. Our part is to ASK. That's all God requires of us. He even promises to help us out if we don't ask as we ought. That's a wonderful God to do that. Think about how awesome God is, interceding on our behalf when we don't know what to pray. Just pray, and let God sort everything out.

If we ASK, then we have done as God commanded, and the Holy Spirit will help our infirmities and intercede for us if we're off target in our prayers. The important thing is for us to ASK and pray daily to God about everything, redeeming the time, knowing that this earthly life will soon be over.

Again, one of the plainest and most obvious; yet woefully overlooked statements in the Scriptures is found in James 4:2, “...Ye ask not.” The Bible is very plain... We don't receive from God simply because we don't ask.

James 4:2, “...yet ye have not, because ye ask not..”

EXPLORING PRAYER WITH JACK HYLES


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