If you were sitting on death row and found out that the governor of the state was coming to see you, in order to grant you one request, what would you ask for? Most of us would ask for a pardon.
If you found out that you really could be granted three wishes if you would state what they are, what would you ask for? Would you ask for the lottery or some other self-serving desire? What about world peace, curing of the sick, feeding of the poor, or a great revival?
Your wishes really can be granted, but the Scriptures teach us that we have to share (with others) our petitions and that our wants cannot be for purely self-gain. Love thy neighbor as thyself, as Christ instructed.
The Apostle James stated that the reason we do not have the things we want is because we ask for things that are not pleasing to God, things that only fulfill our own wishes and wants, rather than things that would be good for us, good for our fellowman, and glorify God.
“Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.” (James 4:2-3, KJV). He said this because people were looking to please themselves, rather than putting God first in their hearts and seeking to please Him.
Jesus gave us the two great Commandments: Love God, and love your neighbor. If we truly love God first and foremost with all of our heart, and we truly do love our fellowman in a selfless manner; then we can fully expect to be filled to the overflowing with Jesus’ promises.
In His sermon on the mount, Jesus said, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?” (Matt 7:7-11).
God is our Father, and if we treat Him like our father — with the respect and love that He deserves — and if we act like His children, being of pure heart with actions that bring forth our Christian heritage, then we can ask and receive.
Let us remember that Jesus prefaced this promise with the warning that we should not cast our pearls before the swine. He wanted us to understand that if we are behaving as if we are children of the devil (having a resentful, selfish, envious and evil heart), we cannot expect the Holy Father to bless us as His children. He will not bless ungodliness. Only when we turn away from evil, repent and seek His forgiveness, will He forgive, reconcile and bless our requests.
When we live for Jesus, remain steadfast in our faith in Him and are obedient to His Word, we want for good things and He is ready to grant our pardons, our wishes, our requests. If you have not, have you asked? If you have asked and not received, is your heart in the right place? Will the God who created you not lavish you with His love if you draw near to Him?