“Go through your phone book, call people and ask them to drive you to the airport. The ones who will drive you are your true friends. The rest aren't bad people; they're just acquaintances.” – Jay Leno
I wonder how many people in my phone book would give me a ride to the airport. I may never know since I have a hard time asking for a ride to the airport. Maybe it’s because I grew up in the Baby Boomer era where I was taught to be responsible for myself, work for everything I wanted, not to expect anything to be handed to me, and that “asking” was a sign of weakness. A small portion of my inability to “ask” could also be attributed to being a “guy-thing.”
Whatever the reason, I am a long-standing member of A.A. (asking anonymous). I usually don’t ask for anything - help, advice, money, (okay) directions, (okay again) a date, etc. After so many years of doing everything and depending solely upon me, it is so hard for me to ask for something or rely on someone else. It’s not that I don’t need anything, because I do, but I have a tough time bringing myself to ask for it.
Some people are “blessed” with the ability. They can ask for anything - money, food, shirt off your back, help in the church’s children’s department, driving the church van, a main dish at a potluck, etc. We all know someone like that, someone who has that “ability.” It must be a spiritual gift!
Ok, maybe it’s not a “spiritual” gift, but it can be a spiritual matter. An inability to “ask” (and seek the Lord’s direction), can be a symptom of the inability to humble yourself, and the inability to humble yourself is a sign of “pride.”
Uzziah was sixteen years old when he became “King Uzziah of Judah.” He reigned in Jerusalem for fifty-two years, the second longest reign of any king in the history of Judah or Israel. According to the Bible, “He did what was pleasing in the Lord’s sight, just as his father, Amaziah, had done. Uzziah sought God during the days of Zechariah, who instructed him in the fear of God. And as long as the king sought the Lord, God gave him success” (2 Chronicles 26:4-5).
"But when he had become powerful, he also became proud, which led to his downfall" (2 Chronicles 26:16).
“Pride leads to every other vice. It is the complete anti-God state of mind.” - CS Lewis
It’s too bad Uzziah didn’t follow what King Asa had said 100 years earlier.
“Whenever you seek him, you will find him. But if you abandon him, he will abandon you” (2 Chronicles 15:2).
It may have kept King Uzziah from being strickened with leprosy and living his waning days in isolation until his death.
Humble yourself before Him, seek His will, and ask.
“Since the first day you began to pray for understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your request has been heard in heaven” (Daniel 10:12).
That night God appeared to Solomon and said to him, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you” (2 Chronicles 1:7).
He will listen to your prayers.
God said to Solomon, “Since this is your heart’s desire and you have not asked for wealth, riches or honor, nor for the death of your enemies, and since you have not asked for a long life but for wisdom and knowledge to govern my people over who I have made you king, therefore wisdom and knowledge will be given you . . . and . . . wealth, riches and honor” (2 Chronicles 1:11-12).
“I have come in answer to your prayer” (Daniel 10:12b).
Don’t let pride stand in your way.
“Ask the Lord your God for a sign, whether in the deepest depths or in the highest heights.” “But Ahaz said, ‘I will not ask; I will not put the Lord to the test’….Then Isaiah said, Hear now, you house of David! Is it not enough to try the patience of men? Will you try the patience of my God also?” (Isaiah 7:13).
“This is what the Lord says: …They did not ask, ‘Where is the Lord who brought us safely out of Egypt and led us through the barren wilderness...?’ The priests did not ask, ‘Where is the Lord?’ The judges ignored me, the rulers turned against me, and the prophets spoke in the name of Baal, washing their time on non-sense’” (Jeremiah 2:5, 6, 8).
“Don’t be like them, because your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask Him!” (Matthew 6:8).
Agur, son of Jakeh states in an oracle, “O God, I beg two favors from you before I die. First, help me never to tell a lie. Second, give me neither poverty nor riches! Give me just enough to satisfy my needs” (Proverbs 30:7-8).
"The widow who is really in need and left all alone puts her hope in God and continues night and day to pray and to ask God for help" (1 Timothy 5:5).
"If you need wisdom—if you want to know what God wants you to do—ask him, and he will gladly tell you. He will not resent your asking" (James 1:5).
"The truth is, you can go directly to the Father and ask him, and He will grant your request because you use my name. You haven’t done this before. Ask, using my name, and you will receive, and you will have abundant joy" (John 16:23-24).
Be confident in your prayers.
"But when you ask him, be sure that you really expect him to answer, for a doubtful mind is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind" (James 1:6).
"If our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from him anything we ask, because we obey his commands and do what pleases him" (1 John 3:21-22).
Jesus loves us and wants the absolute best for us. All He asks is that we go to Him, as a child goes to his or her father, acknowledging Him in times of need and in times of success, as all things come from the Father.
Uzziah became too proud and thought that even he was above the commands of the Lord. He began to believe that he was responsible for all of the success he had and forgot that the power and acclaim that he enjoyed were from the Lord.
Whether it’s a simple request, an unbelievable blessing or an obstacle seemingly insurmountable you’re facing in your life, the Lord awaits to hear from you. If Jesus was here in the flesh, he would be waiting to drive you to the airport.
"You do not have, because you do not ask God" (James 4:2).
Cliff Young is a contributing writer to "Sandlot Stories" (ARose Books). An architect and former youth worker, he now works with Christian musicians and consults for a number of Christian ministries. Got feedback? Send your comments and questions to [email protected].