Many things in life only come to people who ask. According to the Bible, asking is a good thing.
Most people are familiar with Jesus' words, “Ask and you will receive … ” (Matthew 7:7). When you think about this verse it's important not to speed past the first word, ASK. It's actually a command that also teaches us a life principle. Jesus taught us that “receiving is linked to requesting.“
Lots of things are withheld from us, in all arenas of life, because we don't ask, or don't really know how to ask. There are right and wrong ways to ask, good and bad ways to ask, better and best ways to ask. There are some things we can “be” and “do” that make our asking more fruitful.
There's a great story in Genesis 23 that describes a time when Abraham asked some folks for something. His wife Sarah had died and he wanted to bury her in an honorable tomb. He needed the right place to lay her body to rest, but the place he wanted was owned by someone who didn't seem particularly interested in selling it. But Abraham asked. He made a request. And he received what he requested.
When you have time, read the passage and notice the way Abraham asked. There are some great lessons in the chapter about the right way to make a request for something.
From this story, here are 4 lessons about fruitful asking:
- Ask respectfully. Abraham was very respectful and honoring in the way he made his request. His respectful attitude in asking was genuine and sincere, not manipulative.
- Ask specifically. Abraham asked with clarity and specificity. He had thought about what he wanted and needed as a proper burial place for Sarah, and he asked accordingly.
- Ask selflessly. Abraham's ask was really about honoring Sarah, not satisfying some ambition for himself. The best asks happen when our requests are motivated by something other than selfish ambition. When our requests come from a desire to honor God and serve others, they're a lot more effective. Ask selflessly, not selfishly.
- Be prepared to pay the price that's required. Abraham wasn't making a “I want something for nothing” request. He knew that the land and tomb he wanted for his wife's gravesite would cost him something, He was ready to pay the price. Many people want something for nothing. They're only looking for what they can get out of a situation, not what they can give. Many great requests are denied because the asker isn't willing to pay the price required. Abraham anted up. He paid the price, and he did so gladly.
The right kind of asking is key to receiving. To be fruitful when making requests, follow Abraham's example!