Bible Study: Ask…and Receive
Again I say to you, that if two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by My Father who is in heaven. For where two or three have gathered together in Mynarne there I am in their midst (Matthew 18:19, 20).
I heard Matthew 18:20 quoted from an early age. But I discovered verse 19 only recently. I was reading my Bible and the words jumped out at me. How powerful this verse is-another one of God’s promises. Once again we are on the receiving end of God’s gifts to us. Al we have to do is ask. The Bible also tells us to ask for what we desire and to ask without doubting (Matt. 7:7, Matt. 21:21).
Truly I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, Be taken up and cast into the sea,"and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says is going to happen, it shall be granted him. Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask believe that you have received them and they shall be granted you. (Mark 11:23, 24).
But how does this work? What does it mean to "ask"? How do I determine what to ask for? How does God bring it about? What is my part? And, most importantly of all, once I figure out what to ask for, how do I know it will come to be?
I kept thinking about the power God bestows on us. If two of us agree on a specific matter and ask Him, then it shall be done for us by our Father in heaven. Its almost too good to believe. In order for us to agree on something, we have to communicate and talk about it. The power of the spoken word! And we know this power from reading in the Scripture how God has brought all things into being by His spoken word: "Let there be light"; and there was light (Genesis 1:3).
In order to agree on a specific mat-ter we first have to think about what we desire for ourselves or for someone else and then talk about it with others. When two of us agree on it, we speak out loud what the desire is. We can then trust it is God’s desire. For it is God who lives in us, and we have the mind of Christ (1 Cor. 2:16). So our desires will be His desires.
But all the above is conditional. We must believe who God is and obey Ilis commands. Psalm 24:4 says that it is those with "clean hands and a pure heart" who shall receive God’s blessings and His righteousness. Without a pure heart we cannot hear God’s voice. A "pure heart" means living free from sin so that we are not blocked from hearing the word of God: "The fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much" (James 5:16).
We don’t just ask for anything. Anything that we desire that is contrary to the Word of God, for example, is not the will of God. Since we have the mind of Christ, what we desire will line up with I its character and His expressed desires as stated in the Scriptures. So we must test our desires against the Bible. We may find out His will from reading Scripture or we can get quiet and see what God has to tell us. Mature Christians can learn to discern His words and know beyond a shadow of a doubt that what we ask for is His MIL It is then and only then that our requests will be heard and listened to. His promise is based on asking according to His will and not our will. Our best example is Christ at Gethsemene. He asked for that cup to be taken from Him, but at the end Ile said "Not my will, but Thine be done."
Now, how does faith fit in the equation? I have a desire and then I make sure that my desire lines up with God’s will. But even if the desire is right, if I don’t really believe that what I have asked for will come about, what good is it? Jesus said over and over to those He healed that it was their faith that made them whole. When Peter walked on the water, it was only when he started doubting that he began to sink. And when the disciples thought they were going to drown in the storm, Jesus said, "Oh, ye of little faith!" They had to believe that He was God and that He could and would calm the storm. The Bible is clear on this in Hebrews 4:2: "…the message they heard was of no value to them because those who heard it did not combine it with faith."
The best part about all of this is that we are in a union with Christ. He is the Vine and I am the branch; the sap of His will and desires flow through me. So it really is Him expressing His desires through me.
And this is the confidence, which we have before Him, that if we ask any-thing according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask we know that we have the request which we have asked from Him (John 5:14-15).
More Articles from The Intercessor, Vol 13 No 3
- Our Cutting Edge
- Editor’s Note
- Moments with Meryl
- A Look at a Book
- Faith understands that God reigns…
- About Unconditional Love…
- From Chaos to Completion
- Bible Study: Ask…and Receive
- British Easter Conference
- Zerubbabel Focus–Rebuilding the Temple: The Business of Zerubbabel, 1997
- How It Really Works
- The Race
- Questions & Answers
- Tape Talk
- Area Fellowship News
- The Real Problem: Satan’s Lie
- The Mailbox
- Words to Live By…