You do not have because you do not ask.
– James 4:2
The big box stood conspicuously in the airport.
Shaped like a large present but sporting a huge monitor, it displayed a cheery message inviting airline travelers to the screen to swipe their tickets there. People like me who are naturally suspicious would have walked by, never knowing what one airline at Canada’s Hamilton International Airport had in mind for its passengers.
People stopped by individually and as families, swiping their tickets and delighting at the Santa figure that appeared on the screen. He played the jolly elf, calling them by name and asking what they wanted for Christmas. Some went large, asking for a new phone, camera, or big-screen t.v. One man shrugged and said he needed new socks and underwear.
As soon as the passengers boarded their plane, airline employees went feverishly to work with the passengers’ wish list. They bought the gifts, wrapped them, and delivered them to the destination airport.
A beautiful surprise awaited the arrival of the passengers, who disembarked without incident and made their way to the luggage carousel to claim their baggage.
Then the fun began. Instead of suitcases coming down the conveyor belt, a stream of wrapped and tagged gifts piled at the feet of the passengers.
In confused wonder they sorted through them and found that each had a gift. A boy shouted, “No way!” as he opened his smart phone; a woman cried when she unwrapped her camera; a young pregnant couple rejoiced over their big-screen t.v.
The man who had asked for socks and underwear grinned sheepishly at his gift. I couldn’t help but wonder if he secretly wished he had asked for more. Maybe that’s all he really needed. Or maybe he didn’t think what he needed mattered to anyone else. Perhaps he didn’t believe Santa was going to deliver. Probably no one thought their wishes were going to be filled in such a glorious way.
It made me wonder why I don’t ask for more from God. I’m not talking about asking God for more stuff. He’s not Santa. The Bible warns against greed.
You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives.
– James 4:3
If I really believe that my prayers are communication with God, though, why do I often think so small? Why are so many of my requests the socks-and-underwear variety? Am I afraid to pray bold prayers for fear of being disappointed? Am I jaded because past prayers were not granted in the way I hoped? Is it disbelief or disinterest or mistrust?
In the last couple of weeks, a couple of barely breathed prayers of mine have been gloriously answered. It makes me wonder what I’ve been missing in my communication with God.
Bold prayers give God a chance to reveal Himself in His majesty and power.
I don’t want to miss anything on this journey of faith. There is still so much more of God’s riches to discover. He longs to grant us provision and strength and wisdom and healing. He doesn’t always give these in the way we expect or hope, but He always gives the best gifts.
What are we missing? Maybe we should find out.
Call on me in prayer and I will answer you. I will show you great and mysterious things which you still do not know about.
– Jeremiah 33:3 (NET Bible)