“Ask and you shall receive” is a call to prayer. It is an invitation to communicate with God, by engaging in a Holy conversation. It requires man to ask (pray) in order to receive (be blessed), it shows that the Divine is interested in what we have to say and is willing to respond. “Ask and you shall receive” is a statement that suggests without asking, without verbally expressing your needs and desires, God will not respond and what is desired will not be received. Therefore, asking in religious prayer is essential to being blessed.
Religious and Prayer
But what about the atheist? They don’t engage in religious prayer, because they don’t believe there is a God to ask, nevertheless they manage to obtain their desires. Absent of religious prayer, absent of belief in God they still receive, why is this? The asking has to be something other than religious prayer, but what?
What happens when you ask as a dedicated religious person but do not receive? When you put in the work to pray everyday, fasting, and saturating your mind with sacred text and religious practice and your prayers go unanswered. Could it be there is a disconnect with God? No, because God is the life force of everything that exists, and all exist because of God. All things are dependent on God for life, a disconnection from God results in a disconnection from existence.
So, if asking and receiving is not based on religious prayer, a connection with God, or religious activity and service, then it must be based on practicing the correct religion, right? Not quite, throughout human history we have worshipped many strange gods, called ourselves gods, and denied God but have asked and still received. People in ancient times asked and effectively received while worshipping animals, trees, rocks and their kings as god manifested in the flesh.
They sacrificed children to appease God and started wars, slaughtering people in the name of God, yet none of these views no matter how blasphemous, malicious, or foolish have resulted in the inability to receive what has been asked for. A few religions claim to be the only true way to God, and their followers do receive what they ask but so do the believers of every other religion, cult, and belief system. Therefore, religion cannot be the basis of receiving what one asks for in prayer.
Deepest Thoughts and Beliefs as Prayer
Regardless if you believe in God or not, pray or not, we are all constantly communicating with God, not with words or through religious practice but with the contents of our hearts. Prayer is done according to what is at our core, our essence, the truth that resides in our heart. Our thoughts, beliefs, and intentions express the condition of the heart. They are the voice that speaks for the heart, and the only legitimate prayer, method of communication and manner of asking. We are eternally engaged in prayer, communicating with God and asking according to the condition of our hearts and the quality of our thoughts and beliefs.
You may pray for peace but if your heart is full of anger and frustration you’re essentially asking for more anger and frustration, not peace. You can pray for prosperity but if your thoughts are full of lack and limitation you’re asking for restricted resources and destitution. The problem is we’re praying for one thing with our mouths but asking for another with our hearts and the prayer of the heart is truthful and will always be heard.
This is not manifestation, A good heart full of positive thoughts and strong optimistic strong belief does not guarantee receiving. Manifestation suggests the universe is at the mercy of our thoughts and is required to serve us as we hold on to an idea with conviction. God is the superior force, the generator, operator and distributor that decides what is received. We can’t manifest whatever we want, when we want, how we want simply by thinking positively about it without the approval of God.
Manifestation itself is a form of asking. The asking is an act of submission, it means one is without the ability to obtain what is desired on their own and must seek a higher power, a superior force to grant what has been asked for and is at the mercy of that higher power to receive it.
When I was 5, I loved Oreo cookies but I couldn’t get to the cookies without the help of my parents. I had to ask in order to receive. I didn’t receive simply because I asked in confidence, and with optimism and positivity, I received at the will of and according to the authority of my parents.
The Spoken Word as Prayer
Regardless if you acknowledge God or not the dialogue is still defined as prayer. Communication with God, of any kind is Holy due to the nature of the one you are communicating with. Prayer is not limited to spoken words or religious practice. How can we base divine communication on simple words alone; a collection of letters and sounds that we have given definition to? How can the same common mundane words and language we use everyday to do trivial tasks like, joke with friends, creates memes for social media, and instruct our pets be the key to conducting a conversation with God that extends beyond the physical world into the unknown? Authentic prayer is not done with words but with the heart, as we speak our truth through our most sincere thoughts and strongest beliefs.
We can only communicate with God, who is the Ultimate truth according to our truth, which is the contents of our hearts. When we ask, God responds in truth to what is truthful in our asking, the contents of our hearts. The sincere prayer to God is not according to words but according to the voice of our hearts.
There is nothing special about words themselves that allow them to empower prayers.
Words are not essentially truthful; they can be used to manipulate, hurt, and divide. The authenticity of words fluctuates based on the intentions of the speaker. One man says I love you to express a deep, sincere love for his wife while another says it to manipulate his wife.
Words are simple vehicles of communication same as body movements, facial expressions and hand gestures. All these tools are subject to misapplication and decadence leading to confusion and a break-down in communication. Words are empty shells that require filling with life, intention, and purpose. The words you use to communicate with God are only as powerful and sincere as the heart that speaks them.
So we see that ask and you shall receive has more to do with what you’re thinking than it does with what you’re saying. We can say what we want, manipulating words and people to our advantage, but there is no manipulation of the heart. What’s in the heart does not hide, it fully exposes you, it is laid bare for all to discover that search it. The heart of a person tells the unadulterated story of who and what they are.
A woman who is a dedicated athlete will use her body and mind in a different manner than a man that simply says I am an athlete. She will push herself beyond limits and pain sacrificing in order to master her craft and condition her body. Her heart is in the sport and it drives her to go harder than the man, that may say they’re dedicated yet do not have the passion and tenacity to put in the work that she does. She practices differently, performs differently, and has a higher degree of appreciation for the sport because her heart is in it. Being an athlete on this level can’t be faked, if it’s not in you, if it’s not who you are at your core, you will never be able to achieve what a person driven by their heart can accomplish.
The State of the Heart as Prayer
The voice of our hearts is manifested as our thoughts, and beliefs. These thoughts represent who we are and what we deeply believe. The average person has about 50,000 thoughts a day that’s 2,083 an hour and about 35 thoughts every minute. So, we are literally praying constantly! Throughout the day, in our sleep, every moment that we have breath in our bodies. Without religious practice, rituals, traditions we produce faithful, consistent, sincere prayer with the Divine. We were built to be prayer warriors, constantly engaging in conversation with God. The key to powerful prayer is becoming aware of what you are asking for. Begin to pay attention to your heart and the thoughts and beliefs that speak for it.