Imagine if you were given the opportunity to ask for anything you wanted. Spend a few moments and honestly think of what you would ask for. Try not to be overly spiritual by stating “scripturally correct” answers. Right now, if you can ask God for anything, how would you answer Him?
The Bible provides several examples where similar invitations are given. Are such opportunities available to us as modern-day believers? What are some of the keys that can be learned from Biblical history? Today we will look at some Biblical examples while providing a brief review of the background and context. In future devotionals we will develop each of these invitations in greater detail.
Then the king said to me, “What do you request?” So I prayed to the God of heaven. (Nehemiah 2:4)
Why would a heathen king make such an offer to Nehemiah? Can you imagine that happening today? Nehemiah was a man who was carrying the burden of the Lord. He was not requesting something that satisfied his flesh. Are we more concerned about God’s agenda as opposed to our own? Secondly, we see Nehemiah going to God before responding to the king’s offer. This is wisdom on his part. Lord, what would you have me ask for?
At Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream by night; and God said, “Ask! What shall I give you?”
Solomon, in his earlier years, had a genuine intimacy with God. How did he respond to this invitation from the Lord? He asked for an understanding heart so that he could properly lead and judge the multitude of people. (1 Kings 3:9) The fruit of this response was a development of unparalled wisdom and blessing in the life of this new king.
Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know. (Jeremiah 33:3)
Many of us are acquainted with this verse. Are you aware that Jeremiah was situated in a prison for a second time when this invitation was given to him? (Jeremiah 33:1) Would it surprise you to know that God was the author of his captivity? (Jeremiah 33:2) Does God really allow captivities in the lives of His people?
And I, even I, Artaxerxes the king, issue a decree to all the treasurers who are in the region beyond the River, that whatever Ezra the priest, the scribe of the Law of the God of heaven, may require of you, let it be done diligently. (Ezra 7:21)
Ezra, like Nehemiah, ministered during the Restoration era of the church. This period of church history has strong parallels to our day. Will we be able to both see and appropriate these parallels? There were reasons why these men were given such open-ended invitations to ask for whatever they needed. What can we learn from Nehemiah and Ezra?
5. The Lord’s Invitation
Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. (Matthew 7:7)
Most Christians are familiar with the above verse. What are the things we ask for? Why do we not see fulfilments of many our petitions to God?
This devotional is merely laying a foundation to help us understand the privilege and opportunity we have as sons and daughters of God. It also serves as a foundation in understanding the need and requirements of an effective prayer life. We serve a loving heavenly Father who desires to bless His people. At the same time there is considerable abuse and consequences with regard to these invitations.
In this series of devotionals, we will emphasize God’s desire for us to ask largely of Him. The Apostle Paul reminds us that God is able to do more abundantly than all we could ever ask or think. (Ephesians 3:20) We will also discover keys in how we can be positioned to call upon God with the assurance that He will answer our prayer.
Finally, our mandate as a church, is that we be the Light of Christ everywhere. This call is not just limited to our church or Singapore; it also is applied to the nations. (Psalm 2:8) The Lord is asking, “What can I do for you”? Are we asking for the nations? How will we respond?
Monday: John 15:7
If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.
Tuesday: Psalm 37:4
Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Wednesday: 1 John 3:22
And whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him.
Thursday: 2 Kings 2:9
And so it was, when they had crossed over, that Elijah said to Elisha, “Ask! What may I do for you, before I am taken away from you?” Elisha said, “Please let a double portion of your spirit be upon me.”
Friday: James 1:5
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.
Saturday: Psalm 27:4
One thing I have desired of the LORD, That will I seek: That I may dwell in the house of the LORD All the days of my life, To behold the beauty of the LORD, And to inquire in His temple.
Sunday: Philippians 4:6
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;
All scriptures are quoted from the New King James Version (NKJV).
By Pastor Timothy O’Connell