I think because I believe in God's sovereignty and believe that His GOOD will will be done, I struggle with prayer. I know that God will do what is best for us and I want what He wants anyway. I have no problem praying for someone else and asking God to do something in his or her life. None at all. And I love praying for other people. I have a hard time praying for myself.
It's certainly not because I don't think I need it. :) It is hard to ask God for something, when in the end I just want what He wants for us. So I start to ask God if He could move or do something in a particular situation and I end up with nothing to say except for, "I know your works are kind and that your plan for me is good. So, Lord may your will be done with me. We want what you want for our family." I never, ever want to receive anything outside of God's good will or to ask Him anything that might be out of it. It's crazy living up in this head of mine. haha.
God has been showing me through other people in my life that He does want us to ASK Him for His blessings. It doesn't mean we will always get them. And it doesn't mean He won't change what we are asking for until it aligns with His heart, but He does want His children to come before His throne and ASK.
“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. Whatever you ASK in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ASK me anything in my name, I will do it," John 14: 12-14. I do believe Jesus, is referring to asking for Him to act on our behalf when doing works to honor Him. Works that He would do if He were here. But ultimately He is asking us to ASK. And He will answer so that God will be glorified.
"You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ASK the Father in my name, he may give it to you. These things I command you, so that you will love one another," John 15: 16-17. I believe in my finite understanding that Jesus is telling us to ask for His blessings to bear fruit and His power to love one another. He is telling us to ASK.
"So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you. In that day you will ask nothing of me. Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ASK of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. Until now you have asked nothing in my name. ASK, and you will receive, that your joy may be full," John 16: 22-24. Jesus is talking about when He goes away to be at the right hand of God. He says He wants us to ASK so that our joy may be full. How kind of our God? Ask so that I can give you power to do my works, power to love one another, and further so that your joy may be full!
He loves when we ask because it is a joy for Him to answer. If we don't ask for it, would we lose sight of just how big of a blessing His answer is? I think I often do. When I ask God to do something specifically and He answers, I want to pick up the phone and tell everyone. It is hard to miss when He answers if you asked for something specific. We become so unaware of His blessings when they are just there and we didn't ask for them.
I have also been noting all over the scriptures how much God notes our prayers being HEARD. "In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah, of the division of Abijah. And he had a wife from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. And they were both righteous before God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and statutes of the Lord. But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and both were advanced in years," and angel appeared to Zechariah while he was on duty serving as a priest and, "...the angel said to him, 'Do not be afraid, Zecheriah, for YOUR PRAYER HAS BEEN HEARD, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John," Luke 1:5-7, 13. God to Rachel, who was also barren, "Then God remembered Rachel, and God LISTENED to her and opened her womb. She conceived and bore a son (Joseph)..." Genesis 30:22. "And Isaac PRAYED to the Lord for his wife, because she was barren. And the Lord granted his prayer, and Rebekah his wife conceived," Genesis 25:21. And also with Abraham, "Then Abraham PRAYED to God, and God healed Abimelech, and also healed his wife and female slaves so that they bore children. For the Lord had closed all the wombs of the house of Abimelech because of Sarah, Abraham's wife," Genesis 20: 17-18. God hears our prayers and loves both the prayers of His sons and daughters.
Then Rachel said, “God has judged me, and has also heard my voice and given me a son.” Therefore she called his name Dan.
And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob.
Then the LORD said, “I have surely seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters. I know their sufferings,
Then we cried to the Lord, the God of our fathers, and the Lord heard our voice and saw our affliction, our toil, and our oppression. And the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, with great deeds of terror, with signs and wonders.
Need I say more? I am loving this study of God hearing our prayers. I could have listed 70 more verses, but I know you wouldn't read them all ;). He wants to hear from us. Brad and I have grown weary in our prayers, because we again want what God wants and we know that God knows our hearts' desires. We feel like broken records sometimes. :) I am encouraged tonight to pray specifically and to ASK...then I am going to trust that He HEARS me. The answers might not come on our timing or look like we expected, but we will know if He does answer if we pray and ASK Him for specific blessings.