Figuring out the art of ‘asking’

Jesus asked more questions than He answered. In fact, “Jesus asked 307 questions. He was asked 183 of which He only answered three. Asking questions was central to Jesus’ life and teachings. In fact, for every question he answered directly, he asked, literally, one hundred.”

When we desire a response, we are in essence, asking a question, wanting the hearers to do something — so we “Ask.”

There are only two keys to Asking: First, we have to ask. Second, we have to ask correctly — that’s it. We need to look no further than the apostle James to define The Ask: “We desire and do not have. We… covet and cannot obtain. We fight and war. Yet we do not have because we do not ask. We ask and do not receive, because we ask amiss that we may spend it on our pleasures.” Adapted from James 4:1-3. The key in the text is, “We ask Amiss,” that is our ask is flawed. — As we can ask God amiss, we can ask people amiss as well.

Defining The Ask: The most impacting ask in my life was demonstrated by the Apostle Paul when God knocked him off of his pony while traveling from Jerusalem to Damascus Seria, Acts 9:6, When he asked: “Lord, what do You want me to do?” This is my go-to appeal when asking the Lord or asking people. For myself, “Lord, what do You want me to do?” And when asking people to respond to my request, I challenge them to do the same, ask, “Lord, what do You want me to do?” The strength in doing so is that we are placing the onus on God. This question asked sincerely (I believe) will always be answered.

What is asking correctly? The only way to make an ask is, sincerely. That is, I must believe in what I am asking, and that it is best for the ones I am asking to respond. I must be bold in asking, and I can only be genuinely bold if I am totally sold on what I am asking. We cannot fake sincerity. Maybe some can feign boldness, but it’s incredible how people can discern a fake when asked to make a God-sized response.

Depending on the size of the ask, it should seldom be spontaneous. A spontaneous ask most often gets an emotional response. It’s OK to pass the hat for a hat-size need, but for a God-size task, I would rather the ones being asked, to ask, “Lord, what would You have me to do?”

When preparing for the Ask, I use three criteria: Message, Method, and Measure. Stay on Message. The Method is delivering the Message in love (Luke 10:27). The Measure is obedience. (Acts 26:29).

The Art of Asking: tell your story with enthusiasm, conviction, authority, and the leading of the Holy Spirit, and you will ask rightly.

For an example of The Ask, (Go to YouTube: Tony Foglio, The Ask).

(“From the Pulpit” is a weekly sermon provided by the clergy members of The Weirton Ministerial Association)