It took a long time for people to start asking God for things.
The first 14 chapters of Genesis tell of the creation, the fall of Adam and Eve, the Tower of Babel, Noah and the flood, and the call of Abram.
Those chapters hint at the misdeeds of the people, leading to the destructive flood and a “do-over.”
Those chapters also tell of people following God’s instructions with no questions. (OK, Cain asked “Am I my brother’s keeper?” but that was more of a rhetorical question.)
Finally, in Chapter 15, Abram asks God in a vision “O Lord God, what will you give me?”
And Abram is given the world. “Look toward heaven and count the stars, if you are able to count them. So shall your descendants be.”
This seemed to open the floodgates. The rest of the Bible is people asking God. They ask for children, they ask for success in battle, they ask for food, they ask for freedom. The worst times that people in the Bible have are when they stop asking, leave God behind, and go out on their own.
God didn’t just give. God gave if the people did what God asked them to do. Sometimes that involved battle. Sometimes that just involved prayer and worship. But God’s gifts required some effort and acknowledgement of the people.
There is a musical artist named Amanda Palmer who has approached her musical industry in a non-traditional way. She crowd-sourced an album through Kickstarter. She asked for $100,000, her fans gave her $1.2 million. She offers her music for free, asking her followers to pay what they are willing and able to pay. She spent years asking her fans to provide her and her band members a place to sleep while on tour. Her fans opened their homes to her.
She has learned to ask for help. And she has learned that people are more than glad to help, if they are asked.
We need to learn to ask.
We need to ask God. We do that through prayer, where we ask not only for ourselves, but more importantly for others.
We need to ask the others in our lives. The wonderful things that God does for us occur because we take the actions to make them happen. The tagline of the ELCA is “God’s works, our hands.” God does all things, but they are done through our efforts.
We need to ask for help for a friend who has been left homeless after a home fire. We need to ask for help when we can't drive anymore, but still want to remain active. We need to ask for help when we want to do more, but need people and money to make it happen.
People will respond, if they are asked.
- Ann Warner