The Lord’s Prayer is filled with asking. It starts and ends with praise, and is filled with requests. The first three asks are directed to God (Matthew 6:9-10): His name, kingdom, and will; and the last three toward human needs (:11-13): physical, relational, and spiritual. It’s encouraging that this model prayer embraces both our physical and our spiritual needs. When you’re facing a season of disappointment, don’t forget that Jesus taught the disciples to approach the Father.
Jesus tells us to ask
Have you ever found yourself apologizing to someone before you even ask them for something? It is easy to fall into the trap of thinking that we are inconveniencing the Lord with our asking. But just remember that when the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray, and He told them to fill their prayer lives with asking. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you are selfish for bringing requests before the Lord.
Jesus’ conversation with His disciples at the last meal is filled with instruction:
Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.
-John 14:13–14 (ESV)
If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.
-John 15:7 (NKJV)
Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.
-John 16:23–24 (ESV)
What are we asking for?
Jesus wants us to ask Him to release His kingdom in fresh ways and for His will to be done in our lives and the lives of others. He wants us to ask! We must blow away the deception that when we ask, we are being selfish. Jesus tells us, “…whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you.” How can He say that? Matthew 6:10 is the filter for what we ask. We are asking for His kingdom to come, not ours. We are asking for His will to be done, not ours. According to John 15:7, as we abide in Him and His words abide in us, we will receive what we desire. This is because our will becomes conformed to His will as we abide in Him.
Now this is the confidence (free and fearless confidence, cheerful courage) that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.
-1 John 5:14–15 (NKJV)
If we focus on God, He changes our desires. This is how we start to desire what He desires and dislike what He dislikes. We are taught to pray for His kingdom. Get close and ask! Get close and watch your will adapt and conform to His will. Ask for your family, job, business, health, kids.
What holds us back?
There are variety of reasons that we don’t ask, but being disappointed or disillusioned can play a big role. Disappointment generously pours itself over any receptive heart and defeats expectation and hope. Disappointment has the power draw a human life into cautious living and risk avoidance where we find ourselves in survival mode living without anticipation or hope.
The problem with this is that living for Jesus involves stepping out of our comfort zones to repeatedly trust Him. Trust is a bold, confident, sure security or action based on that security. When we trust, we step out and risk. When we live disappointed, we don’t ask for things in prayer and try our best to protect ourselves from ever getting hurt. Life is not about trying to protect yourself from something bad, life is trusting Jesus and running into His plans with faith and hope. Consider these two passages of the Scripture:
…I press on (standing on tiptoes with expectation), that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
-Philippians 3:12–14 (NKJV)
For the earnest expectation (to watch with outstretched neck) of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body. For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.
-Romans 8:19, 23-25 (NKJV)
Living with Hope
Hope is the constant expectation of an unseen reality. You know disappointment has grabbed hold when you no longer expect, you no longer dream, you no longer have passionate expectation. You may have become a bit jaded and guarded, and skepticism and pain tell you not to let that happen to you again. Romans 10:11 tells us, “Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed.” And Romans 5:5 says, “…hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”
If you are living in disappointment, the Lord has a new day for you! Surrender your areas of disappointment and give up the right to understand why they happened. Confess your need for His help and the ways you have responded to disappointment in sin. Allow repentance to lead you into times of refreshing. Finally, “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4). May He refresh you with the expectation of a new day to dawn over your life.