The Ask

I have the hardest time asking anyone for anything. Here’s a short list.

  • Would you mind lifting my suitcase into the overhead bin?
  • Could you help with the prayer booth next weekend at the fun run?
  • Do you have time to unload the groceries from the car?
  • Could you bring a casserole to the family party?
  • The schools foundation is holding its annual fundraising golf tournament, and we hoped you’d like to donate something for the auction again.
  • I’m glad you liked my book. Do you think you could post a review for me?

Awkward! Embarrassing! I start getting stomach-queasy just thinking about all of these questions I’ve asked again and again.

So, I sat myself on my virtual psychologist’s couch, asked a bunch of friends what they thought, and their insights led to some conclusions . . . although I’d be REALLY interested in your ideas.

Thought #1. I’m super insecure. I’m sure no one really likes me, and all those people will then really hate me if I ask them for one more thing one more time.

Thought #2. I’m a people pleaser. I want people to like me, and so if I just keep giving and giving without ever asking for help, maybe they’ll like me . . . someday.

Thought #3. I’m a total control freak. Secretly, I think I’m the only one who can do a job the right way, and if someone else does it, that person will mess up.

Thought #4 . . . related to #1, I’m afraid of rejection. What if she says “no”? I’ll just crawl into the hole I’m already one step into.

Thought #5 . . . related to #3. I can do it more quickly myself. I mean, what if I ask someone to put the folding chairs on the cart, and that person puts them backward, or even worse, right-wrong-wrong-right. I’ll have to rearrange them, and that will take more time.

Thought #6. Shouldn’t he/she/they just know? I mean, isn’t it obvious that chairs need to be pushed back into place after a meeting?

But what happens when we don’t ask for help? We get stressed and overwhelmed and depressed and resentful . . . and downright mad.

Moses found himself in such a situation when he was not only leading and organizing the movement of the whole nation of Israel from Egypt toward the Promised Land, but also acting as its judge for the various individual disputes.

He told God, “I cannot carry all these people by myself; the burden is too heavy for me. If this is how you are going to treat me, put me to death right now–if I have found favor in your eyes–and do not let me face my own ruin” (Num. 11:14-15).

Yup, overwhelmed and desperate.

But Moses did the right thing. He prayed, and the Lord told Moses how to delegate his responsibilities so as to lighten his burdens.

Jesus taught this, too:

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

“Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 7:7-12).

I always wondered what that last verse, the Golden Rule, had to do with prayer, but I recently realized that many of us have the ability to be each other’s answer to prayer . . . even before the request is uttered.

Many of The Ask situations I list above are simply no brainers, right? What if I just open my eyes, see the needs around me, and become the answer to someone’s need, someone’s future prayer, someone’s future The Ask . . . without that person having to utter a word.

And perhaps, as I serve others, maybe it won’t be as hard for me to ask when I truly do need help.

Just a thought today . . . as I’m looking up . . . and noticing that I need to toss some food to the birds trying to find something to eat on my snow-laden back yard.

Maybe you are an answer to someone who is too timid to ask today . . .

Jesus taught us to ask boldly. That and other insights from his prayer life are included in my newest book on prayer, which some have said is the only comprehensive book about Jesus’ prayer life.

Here is a lovely endorsement from the author of Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World, which has sold more than one million copies:

“What a beautiful and intimate look at prayer from the life of Jesus! This book will not only stir and challenge you towards a life of prayer, it will give you tools to cultivate a living, ongoing conversation with the One who loves you more than you could possibly know. “  -Joanna Weaver

Pre-order here:


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