“I really hate to ask you this, but could you…?” 

“I’m so sorry to bother you; but, if it wouldn’t be too much trouble, would you mind…?” 

Call them “qualified questions,”  “reserved requests,” or “asking with an asterisk.”  Whatever you want to call it, I have done it a lot in my life.

I just hate asking for things.  There is probably a psychological term that describes this behavior and the underlying emotions and thought processes, along with various theories as to why it exists among humans.  I would like to think that I hesitate to ask for things out of regard for other people; I really don’t want to be a nuisance or a bother; I don’t want to put anyone out, inconvenience them, make them late, exhaust their energy or resources, or distract them from something more pressing that they need to do.  Yeah, that’s it!  I hesitate to ask because I am such a great guy, such a thoughtful and considerate person!  That would be a wonderful explanation, but I think there is a better and more accurate one: Pride. 

I hate to ask because it is an acknowledgement that I need help, an admission that I don’t have all the answers and resources that I need, and an indication that I can’t do this by myself.  In short, I am human, imperfect, and limited in my abilities, “So, can you help a brother out?”  It takes humility to ask, and sometimes I just don’t have enough of it.

Perhaps that is why God wants us to ask.  From a knowledge and awareness standpoint, He doesn’t need us to do so because our omniscient, loving Father already knows what we need before we ask Him (Matt. 6:8).  But, amazingly, Jesus follows those words in the Sermon on the Mount not with a statement on the pointlessness of petitioning God, but with a lead-in to the Model Prayer.  “God already knows what you need, so….pray in this way…ask like this” (Matt. 6:9-13).  “Ask.. seek… knock…; your Father who is in heaven knows how to give good gifts to His children” (Matthew 7:7-11). 

So, don’t be afraid to ask.  Just humbly let Him know that you need Him and His divine help.  You can’t exhaust His resources; He’s not only “got” time, He rules time; He has unlimited power; you won’t distract Him; He can hear and process millions of requests in a single moment, and does so non-stop every single day.  And He wants us to get specific.  I think that is why Jesus asked a blind man who was crying out for mercy from the Son of David, “What do you want Me do for you?” (Mark 10:51).  “Let me hear your heart, Bartimaeus!  What is it specifically that you desire for Me to do for you?”

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God”  (Phil. 4:6).

“You do not have because you do not ask” (James 4:2). 

Proud Tim is still learning that.