If somewhere in heaven God kept a record of my asking, it would fill volumes that could stuff entire rooms and then spill out!
There would be faithless prayers for quick help, favor in some situation, general prayers for others that I was only somewhat concerned about…. It would be an overwhelmingly ugly indictment of my laziness as a Christian! I am working at changing that record.
I've read the verse above many times and assumed I understood it, and even worse, thought I practiced it! But I learned otherwise. Just because there is a lot of asking, it does not mean that there's much receiving going on.
Help me, Lord, to be more aware of the power and truth of your word. Forgive me for all the times that I have taken it lightly!
As an artist, I've often asked God for resources, ideas and ability. Almost immediately, I become forgetful about having asked at all!
If I saw no change in my ability, I used to assume the following:
None of the above is true!
Jesus spoke plainly and did not mention any disclaimers to His promise to us. If we asked, it would be given to us - art supplies, inspiration and ideas were surely included, since there is no mention that they were not!
The reason we don’t get what we have asked for, is because we’ve disconnected the asking from the seeking and the knocking.
Seeking, after asking, implies an expectancy, a confidence that our answer is somewhere there - in our horizon, just waiting to be found. I press into it, eager and expectant - soon it will be mine. Where is it? Perhaps here? No? Then perhaps there. Let me see….. That is seeking - eager searching, certain of not being disappointed.
Finally, there is one principle that I wish I'd learned early enough - a truth that took me years to grasp.
After asking, as I am seeking, invariably I come up against an obstacle. Something stands solidly between me and that which I am seeking for.
Overwhelmed, I'd once sadly
• Wonder why I came this far, only to face this
• Assume that what is before me is impenetrable and then
• Turn away disappointed
This is when the answer is very close! This is the time to stand my ground. You can too! Expect that what you've asked for, what you've eagerly sought for is within reach. Refuse to allow anything to come between you and that answer.
This is the time to KNOCK. Bang away, fully expecting that your obstacle will transform into a door! This is the portal to your answer. It is not a time to be weak-kneed and wimpy. It is the final stretch, so pound at that door boldly, it will give way before you!
I can testify to countless times when I've reminded myself of these truths and the Lord has been faithful to answer. As I work, I pray a lot - prayers that Christian artists, dependent on God, must whisper all over the world.
"Help me, please. Without you, I can do nothing. Show me the way forward. Make my work count. May it be pleasing to you and to others…."
If I am to put the promise to work, then as I am praying, I ought to be eagerly expecting to see His assistance in ideas that come to me, skill that is beyond my ordinary ability... When I get stuck, instead of backing away, disappointed, that is the time to praise God that His word is true. He knows how the finished work should look. He knows all my faults and can help me improve every day.
He can, and will, do the same for you, if you too knock on that door of resistance until it gives way before your faith.
Then you too will, as I often have, marvel at what your hands have wrought with His help - not because it is the world’s most exquisite work of art (it certainly is not) - but because you know how awful it would have been without His help!!!
So go on and ask, seek and knock, then share what He gives you with the world!
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