Asking God for Help

Do you believe that if you ask God for help, he’ll answer you? Even more do you believe he’ll actually do something to help you? If he does, will you be able to recognize it?

I suppose a good part of that depends on what you ask:

And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him. – 1 John 5:14 – ESV

Now I’ve struggled for a long time about what to ask for. There are people like Joel Osteen who, as far as I can understand, believe you should ask God for a bigger house or more money. That doesn’t seem right to me, as I read the Bible to say that I shouldn’t really care that much about those things:

Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. – Matthew 6:31-33 – ESV

As C.S. Lewis said in Mere Christianity, “Do not think I’m going faster than I really am.” I’m not against being wealthy any more than I’m against being well fed or having a roof over my head. It is the pursuit of wealth or food or possessions above all else (or maybe to great extremes) that seems to me to be the problem. In any case, I suspect Jesus said all that business about the camel and the needle for a reason…

But that’s not the point of this post. The point is that I believe I can show you something that God will always grant you, though I’m not sure how it may be manifested in your case. For me, it has worked like this:

Ever since I started down the path toward becoming a Christian, I’ve been asking God for help. I’ve not been sure exactly what to say to him but in general I have just asked him to help me get closer to him, and to show me the truth. And at least for the past few years, I’ve been clear that I’m willing to subjugate my will to his. As I look back I marvel at what he has done: for the past 10 years I’ve had a succession of people always there offering to study with me. Methodists, Baptists, Presbyterians, Catholics, Church of Christ people, and people who just considered themselves “spiritual”. At every single step of my journey I had multiple people there helping me, and they always seemed to be the right ones at that time. I didn’t always (and sometimes still don’t) agree with everything they were saying, and sometimes they (very properly) made me a bit uncomfortable as they pushed me to examine my sometimes mistaken or inconsistent or irrational beliefs.

I don’t know how you feel about that kind of thing, but the only conclusion I can reach is that God has been sending me these people. There have been too many of them, over too long of a time, for any other explanation.

So what does this all mean? Look back at 1 John 5:14 and pray for things that are “according to his will”.


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