Ask and Receive

James 4: 2     God’s Word Translation

You don’t have the things you want, because you don’t pray for them.

Many of us know this verse as, “You have not because you ask not.” Seeing it in the God’s Word Translation certainly sheds some light on the meaning held within the text. It is clear that James, Jesus’ brother, thinks we should ask Father for the things we want. What do you think Jesus would, himself, say? Here are some quotes from Jesus.

John 15: 7  NASB

If you remain in Me, and My words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.

GOD’S WORD Translation
If you live in me and what I say lives in you, then ask for anything you want, and it will be yours.

John 15: 16

You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you.

John 16: 23

And on that day you will not question Me about anything. Truly, truly I say to you, if you ask the Father for anything in My name, He will give it to you.

John 16: 24
Until now you have asked for nothing in My name; ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be made full.

GOD’S WORD Translation

So far you haven’t asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive so that you can be completely happy.

There is a theme here which I am sure you see. I was reading my Bible recently when these verses seemed to shout for attention. Jesus wanted to bring to my notice that he and the Father want to answer prayer. It seems they want us to ask. That wasn’t all though. He wanted me to believe and to encourage you to believe that when we ask, we receive. The message he conveyed was, ask believing that he will answer; expect that he will provide.

I was very excited but also a little overwhelmed by the message because it seemed so urgent. Consider, this is a glimpse from only one book. Run a search on the word “ask” in Matthew and see what you get. The point is that this is not an isolated statement. Jesus wants to get across to us that he has a methodology in place. He seems to be moving us into an understanding that there is an established method for working with him on our needs and wants. This is not a begging forum. Father God and Jesus have established a way for us to work together and Jesus wants to take this opportunity to train us.

In my mind’s eye, I see a business office. I can see Jesus sitting in what looks more like a conference room than an executive office. The walls are predominantly glass which likely represents openness and accessibility. It seems this “office” is set up to receive people and to facilitate open, ready access to him. People stream in, give him their requests and then leave. It looks so simple. Give him the request, believing he will take care of it. As I watch people enter and hand him their requests, they have no stress on their faces. If anything, they look like the matter no longer occupies any of their mind space.

I am overwhelmed by Jesus’ insistence that we ask him. I have felt that way towards people myself at times. You see them struggle with something for which you have a skill or a tool. You want to offer; you want to jump in and help but you know you cannot. They must come on their own for it to have value to them. So, you wait. You drop little hints or try to make yourself plainly visible hoping they will ask, but so often they don’t, so you meander off. I think Jesus and our Father want to help us way more than we let them. I think they are dropping little hints to us hoping we will ask for their help.

Ask and you shall receive, but ask in belief and faith. Ask knowing that your heavenly Father wants to help you and Be Blessed.


Luke 4: 38 – 40

And He arose and left the synagogue, and entered Simon’s home. Now Simon’s mother-in-law was suffering from a high fever; and they made request of Him on her behalf. And standing over her, He rebuked the fever, and it left her; and she immediately arose and waited on them. And while the sun was setting, all who had any sick with various diseases brought them to Him; and laying His hands on every one of them, He was healing them.

We all know about Jesus who went about doing good (Acts 10: 38). What strikes me here is that Jesus wasn’t going around looking for someone to do good to. In these few verses there are two examples of people receiving healing. In neither case, though, did Jesus seek them out.

Jesus had been in the synagogue. When he and his disciples left there, they went to Peter’s house. “They,” whoever they may be, asked Jesus to minister to Peter’s sick mother-in-law. What would Jesus have done if no one had asked him to minister to her?

In the second scenario, Jesus may have been enjoying his after dinner cup of coffee when people began showing up at Peter’s front door. Again, Jesus didn’t go out looking for someone to pray for. People asked for prayer, for ministry. I am not suggesting that we should not initiate prayer or to be purposeful about praying for people. The point of this message is to observe Jesus and learn from him. Why didn’t he offer to pray for Peter’s mother-in-law? After dinner, why didn’t he go sit in the town square and call out to people? There may be something going on here.

In Matthew, chapter nine, we read about the woman who “had been suffering from a hemorrhage for twelve years, came up behind Him and touched the fringe of His cloak,” (Matthew 9: 20). She was instantly healed. Jesus didn’t seek her out either, but she had been “saying to herself, ‘If I only touch His garment, I will get well,’” (Matthew 9: 21). The woman initiated contact with Jesus. She pressed through the crowd to touch his garment believing that she would be healed with that touch. Jesus, realizing that power had gone out from him turned around and “seeing her said, ‘Daughter, take courage; your faith has made you well.’ At once the woman was made well,” (Matthew 9: 22).

What is going on here? I think there is an important lesson for us to learn. Jesus said it in John 16: 24, “Ask and you will receive.” From his brother we learn, “You do not have because you do not ask,” (James 4: 2). I have been amazed at the reluctance people have shown to asking for prayer. If Jesus came to town, would we shake of our lethargy and actually seek prayer? People will tell me the incredible challenges they have gone through and I will think, “We have a prayer line on our website, why don’t people ask for prayer?” What is going on in our cultures that was not present during Jesus’ time? Is our attitude the result of the protestant reformation? Since we each have a direct pipeline to God, have we determined that we do not need to ask other people for prayer? Even knowing that I am a pastor, few people come to me and ask me to pray for them. Almost none ask me to lay hands on them for healing? Is this simply because we have not taught people to ask?

Well, I am teaching today! Ask! Are you sick? Do you have need of any healing for your body, mind, emotions? Ask. In the examples above, the people brought their faith for healing in their request. The woman with the hemorrhage demonstrated her faith, actually used her faith, to reach out to Jesus. Others went to Jesus seeking healing because they had faith that they would receive. He didn’t seek them out. They sought him. That was the measure of faith. Perhaps we ask not because we have no faith for healing. Perhaps we don’t ask because we are arrogant, or maybe bashful. On the one hand one might feel he can pray as well as anyone else. On the other hand, one may be too shy to ask. Here I am saying today, “Ask.” You have not because you ask not.

Be persistent. Be tenacious. Be determined to receive everything Jesus promised. It is not always easy to receive your answer. I know that but, sitting in the recliner complaining is probably not the answer either. Get in front of every preacher you know and ask them to lay hands on you and pray. Get your friends to anoint you with oil and pray. Go to our prayer line at Ivey Ministries ( Do something. God wants you whole too. Reach out to others and ask them for prayer. If you have already prayed about something and have not received the answer then get out of your comfort zone and ask someone to pray for you. Slay apathy and be a doer of the Word. Tug on Jesus’ robe and demand the promises fulfilled in your life. His answer is yes, but first, you have to ask.