What shall I ask for?

The king said to the girl, “Ask me for anything you want, and I’ll give it to you.”  And he promised her with an oath, “Whatever you ask I will give you, up to half my kingdom.” She went out and said to her mother, “What shall I ask for?”— Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to Jesus, saying, “Teacher, we want You to do for us whatever we ask.” And He said to them, “What do you want Me to do for you?” They said to Him, “Grant us that we may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on Your left, in Your glory.”  But Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you ask. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?”— And Jesus said to him, “What do you want me to do for you?” And the blind man said to him, “Rabbi, let me recover my sight.”

That night God appeared to Solomon and said to him, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.” ... “Give me wisdom and knowledge, that I may lead this people, for who is able to govern this great people of yours?” God said to Solomon, “Since this is your heart’s desire and you have not asked for wealth, possessions 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 whom I have made you king, therefore wisdom and knowledge will be given you. And I will also give you wealth, possessions and honor, such as no king who was before you ever had and none after you will have.”

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.  And if we know that he hears us–whatever we ask–we know that we have what we asked of him.—If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.  By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. —Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.

You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.—They soon forgot His works; They did not wait for His counsel,  But lusted exceedingly in the wilderness, And tested God in the desert.  And He gave them their request, But sent leanness into their soul.

Mark 6:22-24 NIV; Mark 10:35-38 NKJV; Mark 10:51 ESV; II Chron. 1:7, 10-12 NIV; I Jn. 5:14-15 NIV; Jn. 15:7-8 ESV; Jn. 16:24 ESV; James 4:2-3 ESV; Ps. 106:13-15 NKJV

God is a good King.  He invites His children to present their requests. He delights to do us good all the days of our lives. He repeats to us the question Jesus asked James & John, and the blind man.  What do you want me to do for you? 

A godless king once offered this favor to a dancing girl that pleased him.  She turned to her mother for wisdom: What shall I ask for?  And her request was a shameful one fueled by hate and passion.  It led to John the Baptist’s death.  To whom will I turn for counsel?  What shall I ask for?

I’m repeating often these days David’s words in Psalm 25, not just to commit them to memory, but to ingrain them in my heart.  This is what I want my King to do for me–

To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul.  O my God, in you I trust; let me not be put to shame; let not my enemies exult over me.  Indeed, none who wait for you shall be put to shame; they shall be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous.  Make me to know your ways, O LORD; teach me your paths.  Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long.
Ps.25:1-5 ESV

Only when He teaches me to want His ways more than my own, will my requests bring Him glory and advance His Kingdom.   This is the path of fruitfulness and overflowing joy!

–LS

For further reading see: What Can I Do For You?

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