Is it really necessary to ask for God's help through prayer? Why doesn't He just take care of us?

Bible Answer

Matthew 7:7-8 (NKJV) “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened."

James 4:2 (KJV) "Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not."

Inspired Answer

“It is part of God’s plan to grant us, in answer to the prayer of faith, that which He would not bestow did we not thus ask.” Great Controversy, p. 525

"Prayer is both a duty and a privilege. We must have help which God alone can give, and that help will not come unasked. If we are too self-righteous to feel our need of help from God, we shall not have his help when we need it most. If we are too independent and self-sufficient to throw ourselves daily by earnest prayer upon the merits of a crucified and risen Saviour, we shall be left subject to Satan's temptations. Review and Herald, July 24, 1883

“Prayer is a heaven-ordained means of success. Appeals, petitions, entreaties, between man and man, move men and act a part in controlling the affairs of nations. But prayer moves heaven.” In Heavenly Places, p. 75

"Prayer is heaven’s ordained means of success in the conflict with sin and the development of Christian character. The divine influences that come in answer to the prayer of faith will accomplish in the soul of the suppliant all for which he pleads. For the pardon of sin, for the Holy Spirit, for a Christlike temper, for wisdom and strength to do His work, for any gift He has promised, we may ask; and the promise is, 'Ye shall receive.'" Acts of the Apostles, 564.1

“The people of God have accustomed themselves to think that they must rely upon their own effort, that little help is to be received from heaven; and the result is that they have little light to communicate to other souls who are dying in error and darkness. The church has long been contented with little of the blessing of God; they have not felt the need of reaching up to the exalted privileges purchased for them at infinite cost.... The power of God awaits their demand and reception.” Testimony to Ministers, 174.2

“The idea that prayer is not essential is one of Satan’s most successful devices to ruin souls.” My Life Today, 31.4

“Keep your wants, your joys, your sorrows, your cares, and your fears before God. You cannot burden Him; you cannot weary Him. He who numbers the hairs of your head is not indifferent to the wants of His children. “The Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.” James 5:11. His heart of love is touched by our sorrows and even by our utterances of them. Take to Him everything that perplexes the mind. Nothing is too great for Him to bear, for He holds up worlds, He rules over all the affairs of the universe. Nothing that in any way concerns our peace is too small for Him to notice. There is no chapter in our experience too dark for Him to read; there is no perplexity too difficult for Him to unravel. No calamity can befall the least of His children, no anxiety harass the soul, no joy cheer, no sincere prayer escape the lips, of which our heavenly Father is unobservant, or in which He takes no immediate interest.” Steps to Christ, 100.1

"The prayer that ascends from a broken and contrite heart, though it should come from the lips of the lowliest saint, is never disregarded. It is as sweet music in the ears of our heavenly Father; for he waits to bestow upon us the fullness of his blessing. It is not in our power to estimate the supplies that are provided by the Lord to meet our demands. What power might attend the church did we but call frequently and in faith for the abundant treasure of the store-house of God. We have only begun to taste of the richness of the divine promises. It is our privilege to drink largely of the fountain of boundless love. What a wonder it is that we pray so little! God is ready and willing to hear the sincere prayer of the humblest of his children, and yet there is much manifest reluctance on our part to make known our wants to God. What can the angels of God think of poor, helpless, human beings, who are subject to temptation, when God's heart of infinite love yearns toward them, and he is ready to give them more than they can ask or think, and yet they pray so little, and have so little faith? The angels love to bow before God, they love to be near him. They regard intercourse with God as their highest joy, and yet the children of earth, who need so much help that God only can give, seem satisfied to walk without the light of his Spirit, the companionship of his presence."  Signs of the Times, December 23, 1889 par. 4

"We lose many precious blessings by failing to bring our needs and cares and sorrows to our Saviour. He is the wonderful Counselor. He looks upon His church with intense interest and with tender sympathy. He enters into the depths of our necessities. But our ways are not always His ways. He sees the result of every action, and He asks us to trust patiently in His wisdom, not in the supposedly wise plans of our own making." – Signs of the Times May 10, 1910 Par. 12

"My dear boys, learn to trust in God. Learn to go to him who is mighty to save. He knows what you need before you ask him; but he has made this your duty, and the duty of every one of us, to come to him and ask him in confidence for what we need. We must comply with the conditions laid down in his word, namely, “ASK.” Tell the dear Saviour just what you need. He that said, “Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not,” will not reject your prayer. But he will send his angels to guard you and protect you from the evil angels, and will make it easy for you to do right. Then it will be much easier than if you should try in your own strength. You may ever feel like this, I have asked God to help me, and he will do it. I will do right in his strength. I will not grieve the dear angels that God has appointed to watch over me. I will never take a course to drive them from me; for if they should leave me I should then have evil angels around me to control my actions, and lead me to do wickedly, and grieve my parents. But we do not believe that good angels will leave you; because we believe you will do right, and encourage their watchful care." An Appeal To  Youth, p. 55.1

"Every promise in the Word of God is for us. In your prayers, present the pledged word of Jehovah and by faith claim His promises. His word is the assurance that if you ask in faith, you will receive all spiritual blessings. Continue to ask, and you will receive exceeding abundantly above all that you ask or think. Educate yourself to have unlimited confidence in God. Cast all your care upon Him. Wait patiently for Him, and He will bring it to pass. Heavenly Places p. 71.4 We are to come to God, not in a spirit of self-justification, but with humility, repenting of our sins. He is able to help us, willing to do for us more than we ask or think. He has the abundance of heaven wherewith to supply our necessities.... God is holy, and we must pray, 'lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting'” ( 1 Timothy 2:8).... Heavenly Places p. 71.5 

"God is willing to do great things for his people, and he has promised that if we ask we shall receive; but many fail to grasp the promises of blessed assurance and help. These precious promises are to be fulfilled to those who keep the commandments of God, and who do those things that are pleasing in his sight." Signs of the Times, December 8, 1890 Par. 4

Additional Thoughts

I believe God requires that we ask because (1) it causes us to search our hearts and motives on the particular subject, (2) brings about change in our lives as we spend time in God's presence pleading and meditating upon the subject, (3) allows Him to show us how much He loves us, (4) keeps us in a dependent relationship with Him, (5) the process of asking helps to clarify our thinking on the subject, (6) helps us recognize His will, etc.—Dan

Additional Bible Verses On Asking

Matthew 7:7-8 (KJV) "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: 8 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened."

James 4:2 (KJV) "Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not."

Luke 11:9-13 (KJV) "And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. 10 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. 11 If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? 12 Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? 13 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?"

John 15:7 (KJV) "If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you."

John 14:13-14 (KJV) "And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it."

Jeremiah 33:3 (KJV) "Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.

Jeremiah 29:11-12 (KJV) 11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. 12 Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you."

Isaiah 55:6 (KJV) "Seek ye the Lord while he may be found,
call ye upon him while he is near:"

Psalms 50:15 (KJV) "And call upon me in the day of trouble:
I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me."

Heb. 4:16 "Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need." 

Bible Characters Who Asked And Received

Job (who was praying for misguided friends who had been making false accusations against him): Job 42:10 (KJV) "And the Lord turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before."

Abraham (who was praying for the healing of an Egyptian king): Genesis 20:17 (KJV) "So Abraham prayed unto God: and God healed Abimelech, and his wife, and his maidservants; and they bare children."

Eliezer, (Abraham's servant who was seeking a wife for Jacob): Genesis 24:14-15 (KJV) "And let it come to pass, that the damsel to whom I shall say, Let down thy pitcher, I pray thee, that I may drink; and she shall say, Drink, and I will give thy camels drink also: let the same be she that thou hast appointed for thy servant Isaac; and thereby shall I know that thou hast shewed kindness unto my master. 15 And it came to pass, before he had done speaking, that, behold, Rebekah came out, who was born to Bethuel, son of Milcah, the wife of Nahor, Abraham's brother, with her pitcher upon her shoulder."

Isaac (who was praying about his wife's infertility): Genesis 25:21 (KJV) "And Isaac intreated the Lord for his wife, because she was barren: and the Lord was intreated of him, and Rebekah his wife conceived."

Moses (who was explaining to the people how God had blessed them, something for which he had been praying): Deuteronomy 2:7 (KJV) "For the Lord thy God hath blessed thee in all the works of thy hand: he knoweth thy walking through this great wilderness: these forty years the Lord thy God hath been with thee; thou hast lacked nothing."

Moses (who interceded on behalf of Pharaoh the wicked king of Egypt who had been plagued with frogs): Exodus 8:12-13 (KJV) "And Moses and Aaron went out from Pharaoh: and Moses cried unto the Lord because of the frogs which he had brought against Pharaoh. 13 And the Lord did according to the word of Moses; and the frogs died out of the houses, out of the villages, and out of the fields."

Moses (who prayed for God's wisdom when the people had come upon the bitter waters of Marah): Exodus 15:25 (KJV) "And he cried unto the Lord; and the Lord shewed him a tree, which when he had cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet: there he made for them a statute and an ordinance, and there he proved them,"

Moses (when he prayed for his sister Miriam's healing): Numbers 12:13 (KJV) "And Moses cried unto the Lord, saying, Heal her now, O God, I beseech thee."

Moses (speaking of his intercession on behalf of the people he was leading): Deuteronomy 9:18-19 (KJV) "And I fell down before the Lord, as at the first, forty days and forty nights: I did neither eat bread, nor drink water, because of all your sins which ye sinned, in doing wickedly in the sight of the Lord, to provoke him to anger. 19 For I was afraid of the anger and hot displeasure, wherewith the Lord was wroth against you to destroy you. But the Lord hearkened unto me at that time also."

Children of Israel (when they cried to God for deliverance): Judges 3:9 (KJV) "And when the children of Israel cried unto the Lord, the Lord raised up a deliverer to the children of Israel, who delivered them, even Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb's younger brother."

Children of Israel (on another occasion when they were needing God's deliverance): Judges 3:15 (KJV) "But when the children of Israel cried unto the Lord, the Lord raised them up a deliverer, Ehud the son of Gera, a Benjamite, a man lefthanded: and by him the children of Israel sent a present unto Eglon the king of Moab."

Children of Israel (when they cried out for deliverance from the Midianites): Judges 6:7-8 (KJV) "And it came to pass, when the children of Israel cried unto the Lord because of the Midianites, 8 That the Lord sent a prophet unto the children of Israel...."

Hannah (when she sought a baby from the Lord): 1 Samuel 1:10-11 (KJV) "And she [Hannah, the mother of Samuel] was in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the Lord, and wept sore. 11 And she vowed a vow, and said, O Lord of hosts, if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thine handmaid, and remember me, and not forget thine handmaid, but wilt give unto thine handmaid a man child, then I will give him unto the Lord all the days of his life, and there shall no razor come upon his head. ... 19 And they rose up in the morning early, and worshipped before the Lord, and returned, and came to their house to Ramah: and Elkanah knew Hannah his wife; and the Lord remembered her. 20 Wherefore it came to pass, when the time was come about after Hannah had conceived, that she bare a son, and called his name Samuel, saying, Because I have asked him of the Lord."

Samuel (when interceded for God's deliverance of his people from the Philistines): 1 Samuel 7:9-10 (KJV) "And Samuel took a sucking lamb, and offered it for a burnt offering wholly unto the Lord: and Samuel cried unto the Lord for Israel; and the Lord heard him. 10 And as Samuel was offering up the burnt offering, the Philistines drew near to battle against Israel: but the Lord thundered with a great thunder on that day upon the Philistines, and discomfited them; and they were smitten before Israel."

Samuel (when Samuel sought God when the people were rejecting his leadership in favor of a king like the other nations): 1 Samuel 8:6-7 (KJV) "But the thing displeased Samuel, when they said, Give us a king to judge us. And Samuel prayed unto the Lord. 7 And the Lord said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them."

Elijah (when he sought healing of a child): 1 Kings 17:18-22 (KJV) "And she said unto Elijah, What have I to do with thee, O thou man of God? art thou come unto me to call my sin to remembrance, and to slay my son? 19 And he said unto her, Give me thy son. And he took him out of her bosom, and carried him up into a loft, where he abode, and laid him upon his own bed. 20 And he cried unto the Lord, and said, O Lord my God, hast thou also brought evil upon the widow with whom I sojourn, by slaying her son? 21 And he stretched himself upon the child three times, and cried unto the Lord, and said, O Lord my God, I pray thee, let this child's soul come into him again. 22 And the Lord heard the voice of Elijah; and the soul of the child came into him again, and he revived."

Elijah (when he prayed for rain): James 5:17-18 (KJV) "Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months. 18 And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit."

Elisha (when he prayed that God would open the eyes of his servant so that he could see the protecting forces of God): 2 Kings 6:17 (KJV) "And Elisha prayed, and said, Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha."

Elisha (who was prayed for safety from a marauding army): 2 Kings 6:18 (NKJV) "So when the Syrians came down to him, Elisha prayed to the Lord, and said, “Strike this people, I pray, with blindness.” And He struck them with blindness according to the word of Elisha."

Hezekiah (when he sought God's healing): 2 Kings 20:2-7 (KJV) "Then he turned his face to the wall, and prayed unto the Lord, saying, 3 I beseech thee, O Lord, remember now how I have walked before thee in truth and with a perfect heart, and have done that which is good in thy sight. And Hezekiah wept sore. 4 And it came to pass, afore Isaiah was gone out into the middle court, that the word of the Lord came to him, saying, 5 Turn again, and tell Hezekiah the captain of my people, Thus saith the Lord, the God of David thy father, I have heard thy prayer, I have seen thy tears: behold, I will heal thee: on the third day thou shalt go up unto the house of the Lord. 6 And I will add unto thy days fifteen years; and I will deliver thee and this city out of the hand of the king of Assyria; and I will defend this city for mine own sake, and for my servant David's sake. 7 And Isaiah said, Take a lump of figs. And they took and laid it on the boil, and he recovered."

Isaiah (when he asked God to turn the shadow back ten degrees to prove that Hezekiah would be healed): 2 Kings 20:10-11 (KJV) "And Hezekiah answered, It is a light thing for the shadow to go down ten degrees: nay, but let the shadow return backward ten degrees. 11 And Isaiah the prophet cried unto the Lord: and he brought the shadow ten degrees backward, by which it had gone down in the dial of Ahaz."

Asa (when he asked God to defeat the attacking Ethiopians): 2 Chronicles 14:11-12 (KJV) "And Asa cried unto the Lord his God, and said, Lord, it is nothing with thee to help, whether with many, or with them that have no power: help us, O Lord our God; for we rest on thee, and in thy name we go against this multitude. O Lord, thou art our God; let not man prevail against thee. 12 So the Lord smote the Ethiopians before Asa, and before Judah; and the Ethiopians fled."

Jehoshaphat (when he sought God's protection on the battle field): 2 Chronicles 18:31 (KJV) "And it came to pass, when the captains of the chariots saw Jehoshaphat, that they said, It is the king of Israel. Therefore they compassed about him to fight: but Jehoshaphat cried out, and the Lord helped him; and God moved them to depart from him."

Manasseh (when he sought deliverance from the Babylonian prison): 2 Chronicles 33:13 (KJV) "And prayed unto him: and he was intreated of him, and heard his supplication, and brought him again to Jerusalem into his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the Lord he was God."

Ezra (when he interceded on behalf of his people): Ezra 10:1 (KJV) "Now when Ezra had prayed, and when he had confessed, weeping and casting himself down before the house of God, there assembled unto him out of Israel a very great congregation of men and women and children: for the people wept very sore."

Nehemiah (when he sought the King's help in rebuilding his city): Nehemiah 2:4-5 (KJV) "Then the king said unto me, For what dost thou make request? So I prayed to the God of heaven. 5 And I said unto the king, If it please the king, and if thy servant have found favour in thy sight, that thou wouldest send me unto Judah, unto the city of my fathers' sepulchres, that I may build it."

Hezekiah (when he sought God's deliverance from his enemies): Isaiah 37:20-21 (KJV) "Now therefore, O Lord our God, save us from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that thou art the Lord, even thou only. 21 Then Isaiah the son of Amoz sent unto Hezekiah, saying, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, ...  33 Therefore thus saith the Lord concerning the king of Assyria, He shall not come into this city, nor shoot an arrow there, nor come before it with shields, nor cast a bank against it. ... 35 For I will defend this city to save it for mine own sake, and for my servant David's sake. 36 Then the angel of the Lord went forth, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians a hundred and fourscore and five thousand: and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses."

Daniel (when he sought to understand the seeming prolongation of the seventy year prophecy): Daniel 9:4 (KJV) "And I prayed unto the Lord my God, and made my confession, and said, O Lord, the great and dreadful God, keeping the covenant and mercy to them that love him, and to them that keep his commandments; ... Daniel 9:20-22 (KJV) "And whiles I was speaking, and praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the Lord my God for the holy mountain of my God; 21 Yea, whiles I was speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation. 22 And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, O Daniel, I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding."

Jonah (when he sought to be delivered from the whale's belly): Jonah 2:1-2 (KJV) "Then Jonah prayed unto the Lord his God out of the fish's belly, 2 And said, I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the Lord, and he heard me;out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardest my voice."

Jesus (made prayer a regular part of his daily routine): Mark 1:35 (KJV) "And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed."(See Luke 5:16 and Luke 22:41 for more instances of Jesus's prayer life.)

Early Church (sought wisdom on who to place in leadership): Acts 1:24 (KJV) "And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen, "

Early Church (when the 120 prayed together in the Upper Room for the Holy Spirit): Acts 4:31 (KJV) "And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness."

Early Church (when believers were being commissioned for service): Acts 6:6 (KJV) "Whom they set before the apostles: and when they had prayed, they laid their hands on them."

Peter (when he sought the healing of Tabatha): Acts 9:40 (KJV) "But Peter put them all forth, and kneeled down, and prayed; and turning him to the body said, Tabitha, arise. And she opened her eyes: and when she saw Peter, she sat up."

Cornelius (when he sought help to understand truth): Acts 10:30-32 (KJV) "And Cornelius said, Four days ago I was fasting until this hour; and at the ninth hour I prayed in my house, and, behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing, 31 And said, Cornelius, thy prayer is heard, and thine alms are had in remembrance in the sight of God. 32 Send therefore to Joppa, and call hither Simon, whose surname is Peter; he is lodged in the house of one Simon a tanner by the sea side: who, when he cometh, shall speak unto thee."

Early Church (when Peter's deliverance from prison was sought): Acts 12:5 (KJV)"Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him."

Paul and Silas (when they were rejoicing in prison at midnight): Acts 16:25-26 (KJV) "And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them. 26 And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one's bands were loosed."

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