Devotional: ‘You Have Not Because You Ask Not’

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This week I have been trying to encourage us to pray. If you have followed these studies you know that we have been taking a brief look at the prayer life of a man called Elijah. The Bible says that Elijah was just as human as any of us, yet when he prayed something happened. What was the secret to this man’s powerful prayer life?

I.  ELIJAH’S PRAYERS WERE EFFECTIVE BECAUSE HE WAS IN THE WILL OF GOD

II. ELIJAH’S PRAYERS WERE EFFECTIVE BECAUSE HE PRAYED EARNESTLY

III. ELIJAH’S PRAYERS WERE EFFECTIVE BECAUSE HE PRAYED

Our third principle sounds pretty simple, yet it is often overlooked. Elijah’s prayers were effective simply because he prayed. Think about it for a moment. God didn’t need Elijah to pray. The God who created this universe out of nothing could have easily controlled the weather on His own; yet He chose to use the prayers of a man to get His will done.

Consider this important passage of scripture.

James 4:2 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.

What is James saying to us? Prayer is the secret to receiving God’s blessings. Consider John R. Rice’s illustration.

“You may say that the way for a farmer to grow a crop is to break his ground, sow his seed, plow out the weeds; in other words, that the way to have a crop would be diligent and intelligent work. But I have seen farmers who worked hard and intelligently, and then there was no rain, and they made no crop! … So human wisdom and human toil cannot be relied upon. No, a Christian is not to depend upon his own toil nor his own planning but to ask of god. To the farmer God’s Word says, ‘ye have not, because ye ask not.’ Asking, or in other words, prayer, is God’s way for a farmer to succeed.” [1]

In closing consider this passage of scripture on the importance of prayer:

Matthew 7:7 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: 8 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

I have often interpreted this passage in this way:

Ask – Lord, WHAT is Your will?

Seek – Lord, WHERE is Your will?

Knock – Lord, WHEN is Your will?

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[1] John R. Rice, Prayer, Asking and Receiving, (Murfeesboro: Sword of the Lord, 1942) 13.

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