(This is the third blog in our Month of KYLO series! If you’re reading Keep Your Love On with us, this corresponds to Chapters 5 and 6.)
One thing that all four Gospels record is Jesus emphatically teaching His disciples to ask the Father for what they need:
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” (Matthew 7:7)
“Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive [them], and you will have [them].” (Mark 11:24)
“So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” (Luke 11:9)
“And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do [it].” (John 14:13-14)
Jesus also showed us the Father’s heart for us in urging us to communicate with Him this way. He explained that we don’t need to beg or convince the Father to hear us, for He “knows the things [we] have need of before we ask Him” (Matthew 6:8). He also promised us that His response to us will be good—“If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!” (Matthew 7:11).
Wherever we see Jesus insisting on something repeatedly, we should sit up, pay attention, and ask, “Why?”
Prayer is Where We Confront Our Mistrust
Some preachers discourage us from making our prayer life solely about coming to God with our “needs list.” But frankly, most of us have the opposite problem, and I think this is the main reason Jesus was so passionate about teaching us to take this posture of communication with the Father.
The struggle for most of us is that we are addicted to our independence. We have long habits of trying to meet our needs on our own, because that’s what makes us feel safe and in control. Asking someone for what we need is vulnerable. It requires trust, which involves surrender. And as I point out in Chapter 6 of Keep Your Love On, “The Trust Cycle,” we all struggle with trust on some level due to the pain of broken trust and unmet needs in life, usually while growing up.
Unfortunately, the behaviors of mistrust we adopt only produce more pain, underscoring the truth that “we were designed to live out of trust . . . and have our needs met through a relational exchange” (KYLO, 95, 99) in which we are vulnerable in exposing our needs to God and others.
Restoring our ability to live out of this vulnerability, trust, and surrender is precisely what the Father is after in our prayer life! This is why we must learn to constantly go to Him and ask for what we need.
Prayer Is Where We Rebuild Trust
In Chapter 5, “Communication: Exchanging the Truth Inside,” I describe the common responses Sheri and I get when we ask people the powerful question, “What do you need?” Many realize that they don’t know what they need. Others realize that their default is not to expect that people care about what they need and want to help them.
These are typically the very two things that get exposed in prayer when we are trying to learn to ask God for what we need.
As the Holy Spirit shines His light of truth in our hearts, we discover that we don’t actually know what we need or how our needs should be met, and that as a result, we’ve been trying to meet our needs in illegitimate ways.
We are also confronted with the reality that even when we know intellectually that God knows us better than anyone, loves us more than anyone, and that if there’s anyone we can trust to meet our needs the right way, it’s Him—we still struggle to believe that in action by letting Him meet our needs!
The beauty of this exposure, however, is that whenever the Spirit of truth reveals our areas of ignorance, bondage, or weakness, His purpose us to lead us into all truth and set us free. That means He is faithful to reveal to us what we need, liberate us from every way we are trying to meet our needs outside of relationship with Him, and restore our trust deficit so we can surrender being in control and position ourselves to receive good gifts from our Father.
Prayer Is Where We Grow in Emotional Honesty and Health
In Chapter 5, I explain why the “I message” is such a powerful tool for us to communicate the truth of what is happening inside us to another person and express what we need:
I feel ________________ (emotion) when ______________ (behavior/experience), and I need to feel ____________________ (emotion).
If you’ve practiced using this tool, you’ve no doubt discovered that it requires a good degree of emotional intelligence to be effective. The ability to identify and verbalize your emotions, describe behavior that caused them, and express what you need to feel are all high-level emotional skills!
As David demonstrates throughout the Psalms, conversation with God is one of the most powerful places to practice emotional awareness and vulnerable honesty. He is the ultimate safe place for us to feel our “feels,” the ultimate helper in finding the right words to describe them, and most powerfully, the ultimate source of truth and wisdom on what we need and what to do about it.
This is a big part of what is going on during Sozo or inner healing ministry. We bring our areas of pain before the Lord in prayer and ask the Holy Spirit to help us understand them. One of the key principles in Sozo is that our emotions are rooted in our beliefs. We need the Holy Spirit’s help to identify lies we are believing and show us the truth so we can align our beliefs with His and produce healthy emotions. It’s impossible to walk through that type of prayer and not grow in our emotional awareness and ability to communicate what we’re feeling and needing!
Everyone I know who has walked through inner healing prayer and learned to be emotionally honest with the Lord has seen it directly impact their ability to communicate and build trust in relationships with others. What we learn from communicating with the Father is what we carry into communicating with others. The level to which we can be honest, real, vulnerable, and trusting with God sets the bar for the level we can do the same in our relationships.
So, this year, let’s go after asking the Father for what we need like never before!
P.S. KYLO is still 50% off this month! Get yours here!