“Mooom I’m hungry. I want another hot dog.”
“Moooom. I want another hot dog,” she whined.
I sat hoping she’d remember what we’ve practiced.
Her head tilted in curiosity as she stared back at me. Feeling the need to clarify she repeated herself, “I’m hungry.”
* * *
My kids are learning that announcing their desires is not the same as asking for what they desire. As we keep practicing I hope they learn that sharing their feelings will get my attention but will not promote a solution as fast as the power of their petition.
But why? Why is that important to me? Shouldn’t I read their minds and meet their request before they realize it?
Sure. And I do.
But if I always did that what would that teach them?
I returned to the passage I read that morning:
“Be anxious for nothing but in everything by prayer and SUPPLICATION…”
SUPPLICATION: to ask earnestly and humbly.
Our Heavenly Father asks us to ask Him. As we observe Philippians 4:6 in its context, we see that the act of asking is part of the remedy for anxiety. He wants to move us from our whiny anxious hungers into an assertive humble posture that can receive and be satisfied. We shift into that receptive posture by pausing our sense of need long enough to articulate exactly what it is we need or want.
He asks us to ask because He wants us to be truly full.
I think parents can relate. Our desire to meet our kids desires is so deep that it goes beyond their immediate sense of need or want. Our hope for our little loved ones is not only that their hearts and bellies are full but that they learn the path to fullness. We recognize a full life has learned the art of confident humble communication, so we train our kiddos to build up their assertive muscles. We teach them to ask.
* * *
I cleared my throat, “Charis, love?” I paused, nodded my head, and reached my eyebrows high enough to remind her what we’ve learned.
Her eyes brightened, “Oh! Um...Mom,” she asked, her voice and posture lifting to meet the height of my eyebrows, “can you make me another hot dog?”
“There it is,” I applauded. “I can do that for you. Good job finding your powerful voice. Way to ask!”
As I prepared the food, I smiled at the thought of God’s enthusiasm when I come to Him with a powerful question. Then I wondered, how many times have I anxiously whined in my need without actually articulating a request to my Heavenly Father? I want more than the attention of God, I want His enthusiastic response, so "Lord help me pray with supplication":
Instead of, “I'm sooo tired.” I can petition Him humbly, “Lord, You never grow tired. Will you come now and express who You are in me? Please bring Your power to every place where I feel fatigue.”
Instead of “Oh man, I don't have time to go to the store today.” I can ask Him earnestly, “Lord I need Your provision. Please fill this day with our daily bread.”
Instead of “Ugh, this project is too hard!” I can come to Him with my request, “I’ve reached my limit, I need Your help to finish what I started. Will you please grant me a creative idea, new resources, and fresh motivation?”
After we ask, I know He smiles. I can almost hear His applause over us now as we respond to this reminder with a stream of supplications. Can you hear it too?
* * *
“...Jesus asked him, what do you want Me to do for you?...”
"You do not have because you do not ask God..."
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!"