Jesus wanted the Samaritan woman to ask. He also wants us to ask, so much so that he tells us that whatever we ask in his name we will receive. The caveat, of course, is in his name, which takes us back to the beginning of the verse. Asking in his name comes from knowing the One to whom the name belongs. We are more prone to ask when we realize the One we’re asking not only has the power, but also the heart to answer. Confidence in his character becomes the basis for all our requests.
Paul Miller, in his excellent book A Praying Life, describes prayer as a “moment of incarnation—God with us involved in the details of our lives.” We will never realize how interested he is in all those details if we don’t ask him about them. When we ask we not only see his interest, we see him. We see Immanuel…
So don’t be discouraged by your needs. Perhaps they are intended to lead you to that divine place of entreaty. One writer comments that we “need our needs” because of the drive they give us toward prayer. And don’t give in to the mentality of “drive-thru” prayer where you place your order and immediately pick it up at the next window. If you’ve asked and not yet gotten an answer, ask again…and again…and again. Remember the persistent widow? Jesus hailed her as an example of how we should pray.
I think it’s interesting that Christmas carries with it such a strong element of asking. Right now, thousands of people are inquiring of loved ones, “What do you want this year?” “What’s on your list?” I hate the commercialization of the season as much as anyone, but maybe there’s a message hidden in the endless sales fliers and early bird specials.
I want to encourage you to ask. Ask God. And as Paul Miller urges… Ask boldly. Ask boldly but surrender completely. That’s advice I’m taking to heart this Christmas. I hope you will too.