Tag Archives: ask

Three Levels of Prayer

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You’ve probably heard that God answers our prayers with “Yes,”  “No,” or “Wait.” But did you know that your very first prayer of forgiveness establishes a relationship with the King of the Universe Himself? Continuing prayer, or simply talking with God, maintains that relationship with Him.

When we ask according to our needs (not wants), God answers according to His plan and purpose for our lives and His will and perfect timing in any given situation.

“Yes” answers come immediately. That means that whatever we’ve asked for fits within God’s plan and timing for us. “No” and “Wait” answers require some seeking and knocking on our part.

Jesus told His disciples, “So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened,” (Luke 11:9-10).

Did you notice that God’s commands to ask, seek, and knock are all followed by His promises?

It will be given to you when you ask.
You will find when you seek, and
The door will be opened to you when you knock.

In other words, if you do what He tells you to do, He’ll come through for you. That’s a promise.

Ask, seek, and knock represent three different levels of prayer, all of which arise out of a need.

ASK prayers are verbal requests that will be met immediately with a “Yes.” All you have to do is ask. For instance when we ask for one of God’s attributes like wisdom, we will have access to His wisdom immediately.

That’s what James 1:5-8 says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God…and it will be given to you.”

James goes on to say, “But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because…that person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord.”

You see prayer is a two-way street. When we ask, God answers based on our trust in Him. We prove our trust by putting His shared wisdom into action.

Here’s an example: As I was multi-tasking in the kitchen, my back was turned to the wok of oil heating on the stove behind me. When I felt heat on my back, I turned around to discover the oil on fire with flames leaping three feet high and toasting the cabinet above the stove.

While a gazillion solutions for putting out the fire raced through my mind, in rapid succession I said, “What do I do? What do I do? What do I do?”

Quick as a flash, the answer came to me, “Stick it in the oven!

I grabbed a hot pad, wrapped it around the handle, flung open the oven door, stuck the fiery wok in and shut the door. No fuss. No mess. It was a solution I’d never thought about before. But I asked, trusted, received and acted on God’s wise answer and lived to tell about it.

God sits on ready to supply all our needs. So ask believing, and you will receive.

(The next blog will be about the next level of prayer: SEEK. Stay tuned.)

Ask, Wait, and Watch

Ephesians immeasurably more

Out of all of God’s commands, “ask,” “wait,” and “watch” are the three easiest for me to obey.

I’ve experienced, many times, the blessings and benefits of the One who has the most creative imagination, the ability to sustain all things, and Sovereign power over all that He created. Add His goodness and His desire to give us the desires of our hearts and you might understand how easy it is for me to ask for what I want; wait for His perfect timing; and watch in anticipation of what He’s going to do.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning said, “God’s gifts put man’s dreams to shame.” You’ve probably experienced the truth of that statement in your own life. I have, too.

Recently I had a friend help me open the kitchen window and remove the screen so I could shoot better photos of all the activity in my front garden. My dream was simply to get a clear shot of the flock of rose breasted grosbeaks munching sunflower seeds at my ground feeder. They only come through here each spring so we needed to hurry.

By the time the screen was off, the birds had continued their migration to wherever they go. Little did I know that my disappointment would soon turn to joy.

My new camera with its long zoom lens sat ready for action on the counter by the window when Mama Fox posed on the other side of the street.

Foxes 113

Not knowing what she would do, I followed one of the first rules of outdoor photography: Get the shot! You may not have another chance.

Fox sightings are a regular occurrence around here, but my neighbors had reported seeing a litter of fox pups rolling and romping together in their back yards. I’d seen the mother fox watch us as I walked Jethro several times a day, but I’d not seen the pups. So, in my most pitiful and petulant pre-schooler’s voice, I pouted, “Lord, I want to see the fox pups play!”

Little did I know that God had already ordered immeasurably more for me than I’d asked or imagined.

Look at these untouched photos. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d see Mama Fox drinking out of my bird bath. That photo is posted on my facebook page. Or one of her pups on tiptoes imitating Mama Fox…

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Or a fox pup with fresh kill…

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Or action shots like these…

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That afternoon, Mama Fox brought all of her pups into my garden to play. They chased each other back and forth across the street till midnight. My street light allowed me to watch as they ganged up on a skunk and drove it out of the culvert they used as a hiding place. Too bad it didn’t provide enough light to get the shot.

Now, days later, the whole fox family continues to run and chase each other from my garden to the culvert across the street. I’ve shot hundreds of photos that I hadn’t dreamed possible. Some, once-in-a-life-time.

All I did was ask, wait, and watch as God showered me with an abundance of photo ops that far outweighed my desire to see a rose breasted grosbeak eat sunflower seeds. Instead I got to see the pups gobbling up the seeds and drinking out of a pan of water I put down for them.

Fox pups in garden 017Fox pups 039

What an awesome God we serve. He even answers pouty, petulant prayers with immeasurably more than all we could ask or imagine.

What is it that you would like to see? Ask, wait, and watch. God is able to make it happen for you.

7 Lessons from King Asa

Seek God 2

I’ve always heard that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. Last week I learned otherwise. The way to a man’s heart is really through his femoral artery.

My husband is having an ablation procedure Thursday at St. Thomas Baptist Hospital in Nashville to correct A-fib because the meds haven’t worked. I asked friends on Facebook to prayer for him. Their response was comforting.

With a grateful heart I replied, “The only thing better than having praying friends is having our God who answers them all.” The life of King Asa, who reigned in Judah for 41 years, illustrates that point and provides several lessons that still apply today.

Early on in his reign Asa did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, cutting down all the false idols and commanding Judah to seek the Lord. Because he sought the Lord, Judah enjoyed peace on every side. (Lesson # 1: Seek the Lord. Enjoy peace.)

Years later when the Cushites rose up against Judah, Asa called on the Lord; and the Lord defeated the larger and mightier Cushite army. After the victory, the Spirit of God came upon Azariah, the son of a prophet, and he reminded Asa, “The Lord is with you when you are with Him. If you seek Him, He will be found by you, but if you forsake Him, He will forsake you.” (Lesson # 2: Stay close to the Lord.)

At this point my mind wandered. I wondered if what’s going on in our country right now is a result of our forsaking the Lord. An open border with thousands of children, guns, drugs, and criminals working their way into our country; the swap of five known Al Qaeda terrorist leaders for one U.S. deserter even though we abandoned four of our best in Benghazi and one is still in a Mexican jail for a simple mistake; and now a murderous band of terrorist thugs are marching through Iraq on a head-hunting spree as they make their way to our embassy in Baghdad. (Lesson # 3: The advice Asa received still applies today. Stay close to the Lord.) But I digress.

King Asa took Azariah’s advice, sought the Lord, and there was no more war until the 35th year of Asa’s reign. Do you see how important it is to have God on your side? (Lesson # 4: Heed Godly advice.)

And yet, Asa forgot. Caught up in another war, he was again reminded, “When you relied on the Lord, He delivered them into your hand. For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him. You have done a foolish thing, and from now on you will be at war.” (Lesson #5: Half-hearted commitment is no commitment. God wants your whole heart.)

Four years later when King Asa suffered a severe health issue, a disease in his feet, “in his illness he did not seek help from the Lord, but only from the physicians.”

What! He sought God’s help for the health of his nation, but he didn’t seek God’s help for his own health? That’s what the Bible says. King Asa died two years later. That means he endured two years of severe suffering without asking the Lord for help. (Lesson # 6: ASK!)

I’m not downplaying the importance of physicians. After all, one who specializes in electrophysiology is going to do my husband’s heart procedure. It was through much prayer that God led us to this physician and got us on his schedule when our original appointment with him was not until July 29. (Lesson #7: When we seek God’s plan at any given moment for any reason, He will reveal His plan to us, strengthen us, and give us peace.)

So please, wherever you are, whatever battle you face, I hope you will seek God’s help. We did and have enjoyed His peace here and now and have great hope for whatever tomorrow brings.