Jesus said, “Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete” in John 16:24. And a lot of similar statement can be found in Matthew 7:7; 21:22; Mark 11:24; Luke 11:9; and John 15:7.
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says that whoever asks receives, whoever seeks finds, and whoever knocks will find an open door. Jesus also said that God will not fail to give His children good things. So does this mean to say that when we ask God for what we want, God will ultimately fulfill our desire?
It all depends on where you are coming from. In religious terms, God will always give us good things. And our job is to find out and understand what is good so that we can know what to ask for.
In the modern world, the phrase “ask and you shall receive” has been widely used to explain the change of thought patterns in achieving what one wants. For example, this phrase is used in the Law of Attraction to say that when you sincerely ask for the things that you want, the Universe will deliver. What truly happens according to science is that when you focus your mind on the things that you desire, you will activate your “Reticular Activating System”, which is a part of your brain that serves as a filter between your conscious and subconscious mind.
This means to say that when your RAS is activated, you will tend to notice things that you consciously want to see. Take goal setting as an example. After you set your goals and wrote down the things that you want, your brain will treat your goals as something important and thus, will pay attention to anything that is related to your goals. And because of this, you will notice opportunities to help you get to your goals out of a sudden. In fact, the opportunities are always there, but your brain has filtered off the information until you make them important.
And the phrase, “Ask and you shall receive” can be seen as the same as goal setting. When you ask for what you want, what truly happens is that you are creating the intention within your mind. And when you focus and often think about the things that you want, you will eventually move your life towards it.
The biblical instruction regarding prayer is that we pray for good things that we need in life. Jesus said, “If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” And those who truly believe in God will witness the amazing power of God. However, the asking must be done within the will of God. If you ask for healing, but God does not fulfill your request, you must understand that not being healed is a part of a larger plan. Jesus said that God has a bigger plan for you.
Sometimes we cannot seem to understand why certain things happen and why whatever we asked, sometimes we get and sometimes we do not get. Perhaps, the best explanation is our responses. While we cannot change our circumstances, we can change ourselves. When we change our thoughts, things will change.