SPOILER NOTICE: If you have not read the book Cold Sassy Tree by Olive Ann Burns, and you plan on reading it, you probably do not want to read this post. I am quoting from that book, and the quote may give some of the story away.
One of the themes that goes through the book is reference to the scripture, “Ask, and it shall be given you…” Towards the end of the book, the main character says something that gave me a lot of insight into that scripture. (I think it is funny how sometimes you get insight in political and religious views from a non political or religious book. That is one of the powerful tools an author can use.) The character Will Tweedy says the following:
“Grandpa didn’t think Jesus meant, by that, that we should ast God for things, or for special favors. He said we could trust that in the nature of things, without astin’, we’ll get lots of blessin;s and happy surprises and maybe a miracle or two. When Jesus said ast and you’ll get it, He meant things of the spirit, not the flesh. Right now, for instance, I could ast, ‘Lord, please raise Grandpa from the dead,’ but it wouldn’t happen. But I can say, ‘Please, God, comfort me.’ and I’ll get heart’s ease. Grandpa said Jesus meant us to ast for hope, forgiveness, and all like that. Ast, ‘Hep us not be scared, hep us not be greedy, give us courage to try.'”
Will continues, “Ast any such and God will give it to you. But don’t ast Him not to let fire burn, or say spare me from death. At least, uh, that’s what Grandpa said.”
There are also scriptures that tell us that with faith we can move mountains, and that with faith anything is possible. But there is always the disclaimer of, if it is God’s will. I personally don’t know anyone that could move a mountain with faith. I know that I could not do it. This book made me think. How often do we pray for more money, a bigger house, and for other monetary blessings? We may even pray for the Lord to guide us to friends, family, etc that need our help. But how often do we pray that the Lord would calm our hearts, bring peace to our minds, have His Spirit talk to the Spirit of child who needs comfort? This is one thing I am going to do more in the next year. I am going to pray more for the Lord to calm my spirit, give me peace when things may be hard, and to remove anger from my soul.
I think that Will is right. That the Lord wanted us to ask for things of the Spirit as well as things of the world. But I think that if we ask for things of the Spirit, they will be more in line with the Will of the Lord and we will be more likely to see our prayers answered. If we ask to have anger, greed, resentment, bad thoughts and feelings removed, and replaced with calm, peace, and contentment, we will see the Lord work miracles in our lives.