Why Don’t We?

You do not havebecause you do not ask. James 4:2

A daughter of promise should live praying about everything.   There are many reasons though that I don’t. Here are a few.

1.) I’m shy to trust God for what He’s already promised. While traveling several years ago, I had dinner with a family who had recently adopted a ten-year-old boy from Russia. They were telling me some of his story. He had lived his entire life in an orphanage. Food was never plentiful and so he learned to live hungry. Though there was a refrigerator in the orphanage’s kitchen, it was padlocked.

When this family brought him home, they explained to him that he need never be hungry. They showed him the refrigerator in the kitchen and told him that he could go to it whenever he wanted something to eat. For the first few years, he never took them up on it. Why? He wasn’t yet sure of their love and couldn’t fathom good news. What keeps me from praying boldly? I’m unsure of God’s love. Insecure children rarely ask for much.

2.) I go to people first, give them all the details, and make prayer a generalized after-thought. When something bad happens, it’s easy to text a friend, call a spouse, even put bad news on Facebook. Out of habit, I learn to rely on friends for guidance, comfort, and validation. My father asks me to come to Him first, just like a child does when he’s hurt. He runs to Daddy and recounts the event that led to his tears. I might argue that God already knows but it’s not He who benefits when I communicate at length, it’s me. I need to say things. I need to ask. By asking, I’m affirming my trust in Him and getting to know my own heart as I speak at length.

3.) I believe that God is sovereign and is going to do whatever He wants anyway so prayer is not necessary. Prayer is cooperative. God hears my prayers. He changes His mind on matters because of my steadfast prayer. He withholds judgment from those who might otherwise experience harsh consequences because I, like Daniel, like Moses, plead their case, ask God to forgive them and stay His hand. Prayers change the course of history and God is sovereign. They are not mutually exclusive.

God is my King. He is my judge. But first and foremost, He is my Father. He delights to see me coming. The more I need Him, the more He likes it. Joni Eareckson Tada said, “Jesus is strong but He’s also approachable. He is able to carry our load but He’ll never make us feel embarrassed or defeated for asking.”

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