If You Could Ask God for Anything
If you could ask God for whatever you wanted, what would you ask for? When asked such a question, the first thing that enters our minds reveals our priorities. I love the Kenneth Wuest Expanded Translation of John 15:7:
“If you maintain living communion with Me, and My Words at home in you, I command you to ask, at once, something for yourself, whatever your heart desires, and it will becomes yours.”
John 15:7 – “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask what you will, and it shall be done for you.”
Matthew 6:33 – “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”
Below are a few scriptural examples of when this type of request actually took place. As we look at these examples, it gives us not only an idea of where our motives and priorities are, but where they should be.
Pray for Understanding and Wisdom (1 Kings 3:3-5 and 3:9-13)
Solomon had just become king. He walked in the statutes of his father David, went to Gibeon, and there offered a thousand burnt offerings. After offering sacrifices, God appeared to him in a dream and said, “Ask! What shall I give you” (1 Kings 3:5)? God will never say this to you until there has first been a sacrifice. Sacrifice preceded God saying this to Solomon.
Solomon’s response to the Lord was, “Give to Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people, that I may discern between good and evil” (1 Kings 3:9). Solomon understood the greatness of the task that was before him. He did not ask for riches, glory or honor. This pleased the Lord because of his request, his priorities and motive.
God responded to him, “Because you have asked this thing, and have not asked long life for yourself, nor have you asked for riches, nor the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern justice, behold, I have done according to your words; see, I have given you a wise and understanding heart, so that there has not been anyone like you before you, nor shall any like you arise after you. And I have also given you what you have not asked: both riches and honor, so that there shall not be anyone like you among the kings all your days” (1 Kings 3:11-13).
God encourages us to ask and seek for the same. “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and it shall be given him” (James 1:5). This wisdom has been provided us in the sacrifice of Christ. “But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption” (1 Corinthians 1:30).
Solomon admonishes us to seek after wisdom more than silver and gold. “For wisdom is more profitable than silver, and her wages are better than gold” (Proverbs 3:14). “Incline your ear to wisdom, And apply your heart to understanding; Yes, if you cry out for discernment, And lift up your voice for understanding, If you seek her as silver, And search for her as for hidden treasures; Then you will understand the fear of the Lord, And find the knowledge of God” (Proverbs 2:2-5). “How much better to get wisdom than gold, to get insight rather than silver” (Proverbs 16:16).
What are our motives? Jesus made it clear that if we seek the right thing everything else we need will be given to us (Matthew 6:33). Our priorities and motives are everything. “You lust and do not have. You are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures” (James 4:2-3).
I’m not saying we should torture ourselves over our motives. Ask the Holy Spirit to give you proper motives, reveal where your priorities may be amiss, then change them. Move forward seeking first His Kingdom and righteousness (Matthew 6:33).
Ask for a Double Portion of God’s Anointing (2 Kings 2:9)
2 Kings 2:9-10 – “Elijah said to Elisha, Ask! What may I do for you, before I am taken away from you? Elisha said, Please let a double portion of your spirit be upon me. So he said, You have asked a hard thing. Nevertheless, if you see me when I am taken from you, it shall be so for you; but if not, it shall not be so.”
Context is always imperative to a proper understanding and exegesis of scripture. There are a few things that preempted Elijah saying this to Elisha:
- He was a worker. When Elijah found Elisha, he was “plowing with twelve yoke of oxen before him” (1 Kings 19:19). He was a hard worker. Plowing with twelve pair of oxen could not have been an easy job. Jesus always chose workers. The disciples were busy working when Jesus called them (Mark 1:16-20). They put all they had into what they were doing.
Though Levi was dishonest, he was still a hard worker. Paul said he labored more abundantly than all the rest (1 Corinthians 15:8-10). Hebrews 6:11-12 says, “And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end: That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.” Romans 12:11 – “Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord.”
- He was a servant. Before Elijah called Elisha to follow him as his disciple, Elisha was plowing. Jesus said, “It shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave — just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:26-28).
Elisha was a servant first before he received his double portion. It was said of Joshua that he was, “Moses’ servant” (Joshua 1:1). Jesus said, “If you have not been faithful in what is another man’s, who will give you what is your own” (Luke 16:12)? Paul wrote concerning Jesus, “Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant” (Philippians 2:6-7).
Disciples are always servants first. Elisha was plowing behind twelve pair of oxen when Elijah called him. Then “he arose and followed Elijah, and became his servant” (1 Kings 19:21).
- He gave up all. “Elisha turned back from him, and took a yoke of oxen and slaughtered them and boiled their flesh, using the oxen’s equipment, and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he arose and followed Elijah, and became his servant” (1 Kings 19:21).
Elisha gave up all he had to be Elijah’s disciple. He sacrificed all he had and burnt all bridges to his past. There was no turning back. He slaughtered the oxen, burnt the equipment and therefore there was nothing at all left to go back to. He was committed to the Lord’s service from that day forward. There was no turning back.
Jesus’ disciples did no less. James and John left their fishing business, including the hired servants, and followed Jesus (Mark 1:20). They stood to inherit a very lucrative business. Jesus was being followed by a large crowd of people. He gave them three requirements of discipleship, without which He said, they could not be His disciple.
- You must make Jesus first in your life. He said, “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple” (Luke 14:26). He was not literally telling them to hate anyone, but that He must be first in their lives – above and beyond all others.
- You must take up your cross. “Whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple” (Luke 14:27). The cross was a sign of death. Jesus was saying we must die to ourself, all our personal ambitions, and put Him first.
- You must forsake all (possessions). “Whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple” (Luke 14:33). When we become His disciple, all we have becomes His. We are merely stewards of those things He gives us. All we have belongs to Jesus.
Elisha sacrificed all he had when he began to follow Elijah (1 Kings 19:19-21). When we forsake all and follow Jesus, the return we receive is so much more than what we leave behind.
Jesus said, “Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or farms, for My sake and for the gospel’s sake, but that he will receive a hundred times as much now in the present age, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and farms, along with persecutions; and in the age to come, eternal life” (Mark 10:29-30).
- He followed with resolve. Elijah told Elisha that he was going on a long, difficult journey to Bethel, Jericho and Jordon. Each time Elisha responds by saying, “As the Lord lives, and as your soul lives, I will not leave you!” (2 Kings 2:2, 4 and 6). He was determined not to leave his side no matter how difficult the journey.
Are we that committed? Do we have such a resolve to not leave our mentor’s side even when things are difficult? What about when our pastor is facing criticism and division, will we stay at his side? Elijah was committed, no matter how difficult the journey.
Elijah told him, “If you see me when I am taken from you, it shall be so for you; but if not, it shall not be so” (2 Kings 2:10). Shortly thereafter, Elijah was taken away in a whirlwind. His mantle fell on Elisha, and he received a double portion of Elijah’s anointing. Elisha performed twice the miracles as that of Elijah.
Build the House of God (Nehemiah 2:1-5)
Nehemiah appeared before King Artaxerxes with a sad countenance which was very dangerous. He could have been put to death for being before the King in such a manner. The king asked, “Why is your face sad, since you are not sick? This is nothing but sorrow of heart” (Nehemiah 2:2).
So Nehemiah “became dreadfully afraid, and said to the king, May the king live forever! Why should my face not be sad, when the city, the place of my fathers’ tombs, lies waste, and its gates are burned with fire? Then the king said to me, What do you request?” So Nehemiah requested, “If it pleases the king, and if your servant has found favor in your sight, I ask that you send me to Judah, to the city of my fathers’ tombs, that I may rebuild it” (Nehemiah 2:3-5).
He could have been executed for appearing before the king in such a way. Yet, he was sad despite his fear, and made a bold request from the King. Are we saddened when we see the house of God in desolation? Is our request before God that His house be built/rebuilt no matter what the cost, even if it means sacrificing our comfort, time and labor?
Is it our desire, above all else, to see God’s house prospering. Nehemiah had to leave the comfort of the King’s palace, challenge God’s people to work, organize and even go to battle to see the House of God rebuilt and restored.
Let’s seek the face of God, get behind our pastor, and pay any price necessary to see God’s house flourishing to the glory of God. Let it be said of us, as it was said of the early church, “These men who have turned the world upside down have come here also” (Acts 17:6).
The Lives of God’s People (Esther 4-7)
Ahasuerus, ruler of the Persian empire, held a party and ordered queen Vashti to appear before the guests, which she refused to do. As a result, Ahasuerus removed her as queen. He then began to search for a new wife. Eventually, Esther, an orphan raised by her cousin Mordecai, becomes the king’s new wife.
Shortly afterwards, Mordecai discovers a plot to assassinate King Ahasuerus. The conspirators are hanged and Mordecai’s service to the king is recorded. Mordecai, who sits at the palace gates, refuses to bow down to Haman, an official of the King. Having found out that Mordecai is Jewish, Haman plans to kill not just Mordecai, but all the Jews in the empire.
He obtains Ahasuerus’ permission to execute this plan. Esther intercedes before the king, and he ultimately allows the Jews to defend themselves. They are delivered, and Haman is hanged on the very gallows he prepared for Mordecai (Esther 7:10).
The power of intercession. Esther not only interceded before God for the lives of her people, but also before the King. There were also others in scripture who had such an intercessory spirit.
Moses on Mount Sinai was receiving the ten commandments while Israel was at the foot of the mountain worshiping a golden calf. Moses became furious, broke the tablets, and had 3,000 put to death. Afterwards, he interceded for Israel praying, “But now, if You will, forgive their sin—and if not, please blot me out from Your book which You have written” (Exodus 32:32). He had such a burden for God’s people that he asked God to either forgive them or take his own name out of the book of life.
Paul had such a passion as well. He was so burdened for his people that he said, “I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh” (Romans 9:2-3).
He said he would rather be separated from Christ than see his kinsmen lost without Christ. God give us such a burden for the souls of mankind. We are promised, “Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance” (Psalm 2:8a).
Let’s ask the Holy Ghost to place a spirit of intercession upon us. I am asking God that He would bring together people who will cry out to God on behalf of His people in these last days like never before, particularly those who have the call of God on their lives. We have a mandate sent forth from God for intercessors in our day.
“Let the priests, the ministers of the Lord, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, Spare Thy people, O Lord, and give not Thine heritage to reproach” (Joel 2:17).
God is looking for men and women of God who will commit themselves to laying hold of God on behalf of His people (Isaiah 64:7).
Hatred in our hearts (Matthew 14:1-12)
John the Baptist had been thrown in prison by Herod because of Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip. Because he had been saying, “It is not lawful for you to have her” (Matthew 14:3-4).
“When Herod’s birthday came, there was a celebration, the daughter of Herodias danced before them and Herod was pleased. So much that he promised with an oath to give her whatever she asked. Having been prompted by her mother, she said, Give me here on a platter the head of John the Baptist.
Although he was grieved, the king commanded it to be given because of his oaths, and because of his dinner guests. He sent and had John beheaded in the prison. And his head was brought on a platter and given to the girl, and she brought it to her mother” (Matthew 14:6-11).
How often have we asked the same? If not verbalized, but in our heart. There has been a message preached or counsel given that we didn’t like, and we despised (hated) the messenger in our heart. We see this manifest often in how we respond, act, what we say and do.
We complain and criticize what has been said, preached or taught. It’s not only directed toward our pastors and ministry leaders, but often toward our brothers and sisters in Christ.
“But if you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another” (Galatians 5:15).
“Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasts great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindles! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell” (James 3:5-6).
Notice it, “Defiles the whole body” (James 3:6). If we are not careful, what is in our our heart will spew out of our mouth and death will ensue. What is in our heart, if not checked, will come out of our mouth sooner or later.
“A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks” (Luke 6:45).
We must watch what is in our heart, guard it diligently, and deal with it before it comes out of our mouth and results in destruction. Once this begins in a church, it will spread like wildfire and eventually “defiles (destroys) the whole body” (James 3:6).
Let’s watch what’s in our heart and eradicate it before it even begins coming out of our mouth. Once it springs forth out of our mouth the damage will have been done, at least in part, and if not stopped death and destruction will ensue.
“Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life” (Proverbs 4:23).
Asking Anything in Jesus’ Name
Jesus said, “Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it” (John 14:13-14). This appears to be, as it were, a blank check that has already been signed by Jesus Himself.
It seems Jesus is encouraging us to ask for anything we desire, just sign His name to it and He will grant it. It’s similar to that which God told Solomon, “Ask! What shall I give you” (1 Kings 3:5)? God gave him what He requested and beyond (Ephesians 3:20).
Four keys to praying in Jesus’ name:
- Power of attorney. If you are given power of attorney over someone’s finances, you are to use or distribute it for their purposes only. You can use it however you choose. However, there will be a day of accounting when you will give an account as to how you used what was theirs. There will be an accounting one day of how we used His name. When we pray using His name it must be used for His purposes.
- In His will (1 John 5:14-15). Praying in Jesus’ name means we are praying for His will and purposes to be implemented in the affairs of men (our affairs and life) on earth (Matthew 6:10).
- In His merit as opposed to our own (Romans 5:1-2 and Hebrews 4:16). When we come to Him, praying in His name, we are coming in His merit and not our own. We come in His righteousness, having been made worthy by His finished work on the cross for us (2 Corinthians 5:21 and Colossians 1:12).
- For His glory (John 14:13). When praying in His name we should be praying only for that which will bring Him glory. Judge what you are praying for and if it will bring God glory, then you are praying rightly. If it will not bring Him glory, then it is something you should not be praying for – “whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31).
Prayer: Lord, I ask you to check my spirit, examine me and show me my motives. I desire to seek Your will and pray in such a way so as to bring glory to Your name and support Your purposes. In Jesus name. Amen!