What is it about making requests, asking? I have been having lots of lessons about the simple art of asking lately. I can’t help but think of related Bible admonitions, and it makes me wonder what it is that makes simply asking so important. “Ask and ye shall receive”…”ye have not because ye ask not”. So many opportunities pass us by, so many favorable circumstances go unanswered by our notice, hinging upon the effort to ask.

This past weekend we made the purchase of a refrigerator. One of those long overdue and nagging necessities of replacing an old and sputtering appliance. We asked about whether there were any store specials going on …there were, 10% off. We talked, we looked, we reduced the decision to a couple choices. Then we discussed the possibility of whether we could try to make cash payment instead of credit. Called the salesman back… does the store make any concession for cash payment? why yes, indeedy… an additional 10%. The deciding factor has just weighed in.

We almost didn’t ask, presuming it probably wouldn’t make a difference.

It is important to God that we ask, but I don’t know why. I can guess why, but I don’t really know. I do know that asking connects us with our need, and with the answer to our need.

Then, today, I had another experience with getting something needed, all because I asked. I didn’t expect, but took the chance to speak up. Again I learned the lesson that sometimes speaking up and asking is necessary. I know all the reasons why we don’t ask- I’ve lived by those for years. Sets of presumptions, shame and embarrassment, false ideas of etiquette or humility, all sorts of reasons: some from fear, some from pride, and some from ignorance. Yet, all with the power to keep the negatives in power and the positives going wanting. We go without the necessary information, or the favor, or the help we need, all for lack of asking.

It is important to God that we ask, but I don’t know why. I can guess why, but I don’t really know. I do know that asking connects us with our need, and with the answer to our need. It connects us to other people, and calls upon their ability to meet with needs, which is one way we find our own meaning and humanity.

For all that that, I have to admit that I have never liked asking. It has always seemed better to be self- sufficient and the one that others depend upon, not the one who has to be dependent. But I am finding that that is sometimes a poorer way to live in more than one context.

Some of these thoughts mix in with the fact that we had a holiday centered on “Labor”. Once that was a day that recognized the working man and his labor when it required long hours and relentless days of difficult manual labor. The type that could wear down a man and cause him to be overlooked by those with privilege and prestige. We have passed by those long gone days without much of a thought in our Western society. We have replaced the honest satisfying work of doing labor with our hands with the sometimes fretfully demanding work of the intellect -not having much to show for it, but sure exchanging most of our time and effort in pursuit of it. (whatever “it” is)

Sometimes it seems we are less happy because of that, too. we don’t ask for much, but we demand plenty. We murmur and complain, usually under our breath, while surrounded by luxuries and plenty. If only we could actually enjoy them.

I think the simpleness of asking, and the gratefulness when receiving is part and parcel of a well-lived life, and understanding of the dependency we have upon one another, upon the earth, and upon God. One thing I noticed was how special I seemed when someone answered a request, it was a matter of notice that had as much importance as the thing asked for.

3 thoughts on “Ask”

  1. I, too, have never been good at asking, and have been learning how to better lately. Asking means we can’t hide — it reveals something about our identity; it reveals vulnerability, which is inherent in need. There’s always a chance that the identity won’t be respected, the need won’t be honored.

    But I think that’s part of what dying with Christ is — we take the risk of being “crucified,” in a sense. It’s the honest way to live. We know that if we “die” in Him, He will revive us (IOW, we’ll be okay 🙂 )

    But humanly speaking, as you say, unless a need (or want) is self-evident, if we don’t take the risk in asking, we pretty much guarantee that we won’t receive.

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