Luke 22:42 | James 4:2

Will you please read this whole post, discuss the group questions, and do the challenge?

There’s a funny thing about the English language and asking someone to do something: you typically start with the words “will you.” So, literally, you are saying, “Do you have the will to?” or “Do you want to?” You tell them what you want them to do, and ask them if they want it too.

Isn’t this also how we ask God? We know that God has the power to do anything he wants. But does he want to?

Look at how Jesus asked his Father to remove the really painful section from his plan to save the world:

“Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.”

(Luke 22:42 NLT)

Wow! Even after his prayer, Jesus had to suffer–big time. If our Heavenly Father says no to Jesus’ requests, don’t be surprised if he says no to yours as well.

But don’t let that stop you from asking. Certainly your parents don’t say yes to all your requests, either. And not because they don’t love you–quite the opposite, in fact.

God wants to hear your requests. And for some unknown reason–maybe he likes your attention–he seems okay with you hounding him about things.

The only problem with knowing all this…is that now you have no excuse for not praying. In fact, the word ‘pray’ means to implore, entreat, or request. If there is something you need or even want real badly, don’t get upset. Ask God for it.

You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them. Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it. And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure.

(James 4:2 NLT)

Could it be that you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it? Or does that seem too easy? On the other hand, are you only wanting what will give you pleasure?

Seriously, God wants to give you good things. And he wants you to ask for those things. Over time, through asking and praying and receiving, God can teach you to want what he wants.

So go ahead–ask God for what you want. Then keep asking, keep receiving, and keep growing.

Questions for Group Discussion

  • Do you ever feel ashamed to ask God for something? Why, or why not? How do you think God feels about that shame?
  • Is it wrong to ask God for something selfish or trivial? Why, or why not? Is God offended by requests like these?
  • Do you ‘clean up your act’ when dealing with God in prayer or otherwise? Why? Can God handle your uglier side? Does he love just the presentable parts of you?

Challenge: Ask for What You Want

It’s easy to ask God for what you think he wants you to ask him for. But can you ask God for what you really think you want, no matter what you think he wants you to ask him for? 

Take this challenge and try removing the Prayer Filter… 

Do this: 

  • For the next week, whenever you pray, ask God for the burning desires of your heart.
  • Pray whenever you want something–anything.

Don’t do this:

  • Don’t ask for what you think you should ask for.
  • Don’t be polite in how you ask.
  • Don’t ‘beat around the bush.’ Get to the point.
  • Don’t stop everything to pray, just ask God.
  • Don’t get hung up on formalities, like saying “Amen.”

Keep doing this:

  • Treat God with humility and respect.
  • Listen for God’s response to each request.
  • Trust that God hears you, regardless of how you ask.
  • Trust that God cares about you and your wants, regardless of how he answers.
  • Thank God for loving you, caring about your wants, and for answering you.