"So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you." - Luke 11:9
He reminded us that if we are not getting what we have been praying to receive, perhaps it is because we are not asking for the right things. After all, we are reminded in the New Testament that there we must be certain we are praying not for our earthly comforts but for those things which will lead us closer to God.
You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures. - James 4:3
It was an important reminder to me, to remember that the first thing I need to do before I begin to ask for things is to ask God what He wants me to receive. What does He think I need most in order to grow into the woman of God He wants me to be? If I ask this, I am sure to receive an answer and if I then pray for what has been revealed to me, I can guarantee I will not be disappointed.
For example, one morning two years ago, I was motivated to pray for the cross. I didn't want the cross, I knew it was going to humble me mightily and be incredibly painful, but I also knew it was the only way I would have a chance of getting what I truly wanted: to become a saint. So, with tears in my eyes but sincerity in my heart, that's exactly what I prayed to receive.
My prayer was answered more swiftly than I expected. Within days, my husband had lost his job. A month later, a huge betrayal by someone very close to me was revealed. We spent the next 10 months struggling for every mouthful, barely making ends meet. Yet as I look back I feel nothing but gratitude for the growth that came because I dared to ask God for something I knew He wanted me to have, something He knew I needed.
Did this cross make me perfect? No. I am a long way from that. However, in accepting that cross and thanking God for it, I have come to know Him better than I ever have and to trust Him in ways I never could have imagined before. I have learned to accept that no matter how ugly the wrapping paper may be, His way is the better way for me. And I have also learned that I am not nearly as strong as I like to give myself credit for being, but I am growing stronger each day.