Needs & Cares
Have you ever found yourself struggling to ask God for…well…anything? This week I woke up for my normal quiet time. Psalm 55 is where I had left off and there was one specific verse that captured my attention, “Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you.” (Psalm 55:22)
I know we serve and are loved by a prayer-hearing God. Prayer is an area of my life that has grown a lot over the years and yet still has much room for growth.
In Psalm 55, we see David wanting to run and escape the troubles in his life. It’s in this very dark place that he also cries out to the Lord. Check out verses 16-17: “As for me, I call to God, and the LORD saves me. Evening, morning and noon I cry out in distress, and he hears my voice.”
How beautiful is this promise and reminder? God hears your voice. God is listening to your prayers. God is with you, always. There are many things God is willing to give us (obviously not everything because He always knows what is best for His glory and our good) but we must ask for them.
I've committed to studying the Psalms for the remainder of 2020 and one of the biggest things that has been standing out to me is David's prayer life. He was so real with God. He was quick to praise God for who He is and thank God for what He has done in his life. David also teaches us the danger of delayed confession (Psalm 32) and, therefore, the importance of confession in our prayer life. Finally, David was never afraid to ask God for things whether that be help, rescue, justice, strength, perseverance, hope, victory or wisdom.
This blogpost is going to specifically address my struggle to ask God for things. I love to thank God for what He’s done and who He is. Adoration, thanksgiving, and confession are areas I embrace in prayer. Supplication, however, is where I struggle.
And so, that very morning, I felt the Holy Spirit call me to something much deeper in my quiet time. It wasn’t to read one more chapter from the Psalms but to apply this promise and put it to action.
I grabbed my journal and wrote at the top: Needs & Cares.
I sat and stared at the page for some time. God was inviting me to come, ask and share my needs with Him…even my wants. He wanted me to express the cares I have that have been consuming me. He wanted me to cast my cares on Him that I may experience His presence more intimately as He sustains me.
My journal entry began with the acknowledgment of how hard and uncomfortable it was for me to do this. I asked God to show me why this was such a struggle and to give me courage to dig deep. He showed me:
I am slow to present my requests to God because I have this twisted core belief that I must earn the results I am hoping for.
I am slow to present my requests to God because I don’t want to be disappointed if His answer is different from my hopes.
I am slow to present my requests to God because who am I to ask for anything when already I have been given so much by His grace.
Wow. So, really the reason I am struggling to present my requests humbly before God is: Pride.
Pride takes on many forms. One time I heard a pastor named Bruce Frank speak on how pride is both high esteem and low esteem. Both focus on self.
High esteem: I can earn the results I want, so I won’t ask God.
Low esteem: Who am I to ask God for anything? I am unworthy. (This may seem like humility but it’s still masked pride)
Friends, the truth is God wants us to share our hearts and needs with Him.
Philippians 4:6-7- “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”
I began to see that the key to asking boldly and sharing my needs with God comes down to my heart posture. It must be one of humility, surrender and faith.
Humility: I must acknowledge my position as servant when I share my needs with God. This doesn’t mean I have no value. On the contrary, humility is knowing who you are before God and leaves you secure in Christ. That’s why you can come boldly and humbly—with all your weaknesses…because you are His and are completely reliant on Him.
Surrender: I must be willing to surrender the outcome to God when I share my needs with God. I love to call this open-handed supplication. I can come, ask, and remain faithful, but I must be willing to joyfully release the results and outcome to the Lord of the Harvest.
Faith: I must believe that He is able. James 1:6-8 says, “But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.”
Friends, we are to approach God in faith and ask in faith. When we come and ask with doubt in our hearts, we are double-minded. This seems harsh but let’s unpack it together. David Guzik explained it this way, “If we had no faith, we would never ask at all. If we had no unbelief, we would have no doubting. To be in the middle ground between faith and unbelief is to be double-minded. The man who said to Jesus, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24) was not double-minded. He wanted to believe and declared his belief. His faith was weak, but it wasn’t tinged with a double-minded doubt.
To my friends out there who, like me, struggle to ask because of pride or weak faith, I hope as you are reading this post you see that there is hope. God is able to humble the proud, but we are also called to pursue humility. It requires effort to think of ourselves less and more on God and His Word.
Since sharing my requests with the Lord, I have discovered three things. The first is that, while my circumstances may not always change, my heart is the thing that is changing as my relationship with Christ deepens. When I share my deepest desires with Him, I draw closer to Him. And while I know He cannot give me all I ask for, I am learning to come and ask anyway. I am experiencing the depths of His comfort and HIM as my Comforter, especially when His answer is “Not right now” or “Trust Me.”
The second is when He does answer my prayers and requests, I can now give HIM the glory specifically because I shared specific requests with Him. John Piper often says that our greatest purpose is to delight in Christ and magnifying Christ. When prayers are answered, He is magnified. When the answer doesn’t change our circumstances, how we remain faithful and delight in Him also magnifies Him.
The third is that as I draw closer to the Lord in prayer, I am discovering that my greatest desire is that His desire would be my desire. That is now what I ask for most; that my heart would break for what breaks His. I also now ask that He search both me and the motives of my prayers because I know deep down the things I ask for come from selfish motives and desires.
This is only the beginning of this deeper walk with God in the area of prayer and supplication. There is a reason our prayer life is healthiest when we are engaging in all four elements: Adoring God for who He is, confessing where we’ve fallen short and reeling on His grace to raise us up, thanking Him for all He’s done, and sharing our needs and requests with Him.
YOUR ENCOURAGED NEXT STEP: I invite you today to grab your journal and write down your needs and cares before the Lord. Invite Him into this process of expressing your deepest desires with Him. Come to Him confident in who you are in Him, open-handed, humble, and with faith. Ask for greater faith if you are struggling with unbelief. I would also love to hear what He is teaching you in the comments!
God is a prayer-hearing God. He loves you and He wants you to draw closer to Him.