Making Specific Requests of a Loving Father

It can be hard to ask for something if we don't specifically know in our hearts what it is we need or want. We can vaguely ask God to provide for us, but Jesus encourages us to come to him with specific requests.

“Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to Him, saying, “Teacher, we want You to do for us whatever we ask.” And He said to them, “What do you want Me to do for you?”
Mark 10:35-36

Jesus helped James and John create greater specificity around their request. They said “we want you to do whatever we ask” Jesus said “what do you want me to do?” It turns out they asked amiss, they need to get to the place of asking specifically.

Sometimes it can be hard to imagine what it is we want, but we can ask God as specifically as we know...and He will help us know more clearly what we are going for. Specificity is actually an evidence of faith! Why? Specificity development is actually a hope process.

Envisioning what you actually want requires hope.

Interestingly in Matthew 20 it recounts a similar scene (with James and John’s mom making the same type of request), but then it also recounts a new story in v. 29-33:
“Now as they went out of Jericho, a great multitude followed Him. And behold, two blind men sitting by the road, when they heard that Jesus was passing by, cried out, saying, “Have mercy on us, O Lord, Son of David!” Then the multitude warned them that they should be quiet; but they cried out all the more, saying, “Have mercy on us, O Lord, Son of David!” So Jesus stood still and called them, and said, “What do you want Me to do for you?” They said to Him, “Lord, that our eyes may be opened.” So Jesus had compassion and touched their eyes. And immediately their eyes received sight, and they followed Him.”

While their need was self-evident, He still asked them for specificity of their request. He asked “What do you want Me to do for you?”. Specific requests get specific answers.

One of the greatest hindrances to the hope process is you have to really believe that God loves you!

To the extent that I don’t believe that God really loves me I will limit my hope process!
Consider Philippians 1:9-10a :
"And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, that you may approve the things that are excellent …” When the love of God abounds in our hearts, one of the by-products is actually excellence. So a lack of excellence actually comes from a limitation on love.

Think about this: Excellence is a no-limits mindset. A poverty mindset is the lack of excellence. Decisions that are made over and over out of compromise and fear produce poverty. Decisions that are made over and over out of an awareness of God’s supply produce excellence!
As our love abounds more and more we will actually approve the things that are excellent!  
The love of God actually gives us the ability to hope with more specificity and more excellence.

And Romans 5:5 says hope does not disappoint because the love of God has been shed abroad in our hearts! So, aware of His love, we need to allow Jesus to ask us “what do you want Me to do for you?” If people cannot make a specific request yet, your love for them can actually unlock hope in their heart. Have you ever counseled someone (believer or not) that can’t actually get to the place of communicating what it is that they are going after? I am telling you … they need an environment of the unconditional love of God that will actually restore their capacity to dream. Hope will overtake shame when the love of God has been poured out in their hearts!

So many of us have dreamt so small because God’s love has not yet become so big!

I want to encourage us that as the love of God is poured out in our hearts, we will start to answer the question of “what do you want Me to do for you” with greater specificity and truthfully - just more like a child that is making a request of a loving Father!