A sweet grandmother telephoned Mount Sinai Hospital. She timidly asked, “Is it possible to speak to someone who can tell me how a patient is doing?” The operator said “I’ll be glad to help, Dear. What’s the name and room number?” The grandmother in her weak tremulous voice said, “Holly Finkel in room 302.” The Operator replied, “Let me check. Oh, good news. Her records say that Holly is doing very well. Her blood pressure is fine; her blood work just came back as normal and her physician, Dr. Cohen, has scheduled her to be discharged on Tuesday.”
The Grandmother said, “Thank you. That’s wonderful! I was so worried! God bless you for the good news.” The operator replied, “You’re more than welcome. Is Holly your daughter?” The Grandmother said, “No, I’m Holly Finkel in 302. Dr.Cohen doesn’t tell me anything!” (Unknown Author)
Sometimes we live with a mentality that God is like that doctor… constantly holding out on us. James teaches the opposite. In chapter 1:5 he says: “If anyone lacks wisdom let him ask of God, who gives generously…” And today’s passage informs us that God longs to meet our personal needs. And sometimes we don’t get what we need from God, because we neglect to ask Him. “Whether we like it or not, asking is the rule of the kingdom.” (Charles Spurgeon)
Some Bible teachers will tell you that as you mature in the art of prayer, you will eventually stop asking God for things. This seems to be contradicted by Jesus himself, who taught us to pray: “Give us this day our daily bread.” It appears Jesus did not outgrow asking… and He encourages each of us to “always pray and not give up.” (Luke 18:1-8 – Parable of the Persistent Widow)
Now James gives us a piece of advice about petitionary prayer. As when you pray for wisdom you are not to doubt He will answer (1:6), here you are not to petition God displaying greed… “that you might spend what you get on your pleasures.” Petitionary prayer is not so you can get ahead of the other guy. It is most often praying for the other guy. It is the selfless prayer… for your true needs and for the needs of others that gets noticed.
Got a serious need? The rule of the kingdom is asking.