Ask and You Will Receive
If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!
The story is told of a time when a great Scottish preacher prayed in the morning service for rain. As he went to church in the afternoon his little daughter said, "Here is the umbrella, Papa." The seasoned church leader looked quizzically and asked, "What do we need it for?" His daughter replied, "You prayed for rain this morning. Don't you expect God to send it?" Duly rebuked the great preacher took the umbrella, and while they were coming home later in the day they were glad to take shelter under it as they found themselves caught in a downpour.
This story reminds us that prayer must always be more than a matter of speech; it must be an act of faith. Prayer ought to be words spoken or thoughts directed to God in confident expectation that God will hear and answer us. The Lord Jesus taught us to pray with the great expectations believing that God will give us what we ask, and supply what we seek (Matt. 7:7-12). Prayer is not a game of hide and seek where we seek and God hides. We don't have to bargain with God. We can be direct and ask Him for what we need. This is what children do with their earthly fathers, and we ought to do the same with our heavenly Father who is good, and gives what is good (Matt. 7:9-10). God loves to answer prayer. If we will call upon God about the right things in the context of right living He will answer us (Jer. 33:3; Isa. 58:9).
God loves answering prayer so much that sometimes He answers our prayers before we have even said them. Through the prophet Isaiah God tells us that there are occasions when before we call He will answer (Isa. 65:24). Out of his wonderful grace He anticipates, and provides for our every need. He can do that since He knows what we need even before we speak our two cents worth (Matt. 6:8). Not only does God answer our prayer before we speak, but while we speak (Isa. 65:24). The promise through Isaiah to God's people is that while we are still speaking God is often already acting. Prayer is never a waste of time, and on occasions God wastes no time in answering us. In Acts, we see God answering prayer immediately in the release of Peter from prison while the church was still praying (Acts 12:1-17). Let us not be behind the door in asking God to answer us on the day that we call (Psalm 138:3; 102:2). Finally, God often answers our prayers after we speak. In the case of Hanna God answered her prayer for a son later (1 Sam. 1:19, 27). In such a case faith must be exercised not only in the asking but in the waiting. Remember in the light of God's remembrance of Hanna that God's delays are not God's denials!
Ask and you will receive, sometimes before, even during, but most times after!