Asking God for Mercy (2 Kings 4:3)

“Then he said, go outside, borrow vessels from all your neighbors, empty vessels, and not too few.”
-2 Kings 4:3

I love this first, the story of God’s provision of oil for this widow through Elijah. And she’s told to go out and get as many vessels as she can from all her neighbors, empty vessels and not too few. And basically, the picture is, God was going to provide oil, as much as this widow wanted, according to however many vessels she could find.

God, we ask for your mercy in our lives, in what seems like millions of ways.

And as I see this picture in 2 Kings 4, I see a picture of what we see all over the Bible. God promising to give to us, to provide for us, according to what we need, and according to what we ask. The picture we see all over scripture in God, is the storehouse of mercy that is under His authority, that is available to us, if only we will ask and believe; ask with faith.

When Jesus says to us, and it’s part of what this podcast is based on, “You remain in me, and my words remain in you. Ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.” That’s a promise. When we ask for God to answer our cries according to His word, He says, “I will answer. I will give you what you need, what you ask for, when you ask it according to my word.”

So, let me ask you this way. I remember years ago, somebody asked me this question, and it’s stuck with me ever since. They said, “David, if God gave you all that you were asking for right now, what would you have? What would you have, if God gave you everything you were asking for right now?” And the follow-up question was obvious. “Are you asking for all of that? If not, why not?” We have a generous God, which is mind blowing in and of itself, who has invited us to come to Him. And who has said to us, “You don’t have, because you don’t ask.”

So God, based on your generosity, your promises, in prayer, in this picture in 2 Kings of your provision of oil, as we think about the storehouse of your mercy that is available to us in prayer, God, we say, in the language of 2 Kings 4, “Pour the oil. Lord, pour out your provision in all the ways we need, and all the ways we desire. God, teach us to ask for all the things that are on our hearts, and teach us to ask according to your Word, trusting in your wisdom, knowing that you are far wiser than we are, but also knowing that you are far more generous than our prayers sometimes seem to make you out to be.”

God, we ask for your mercy in our lives, in what seems like millions of ways. Teach us to ask for all those millions of ways. We ask for your mercy among people around us, God. We ask for salvation of family members and friends and coworkers. God, we ask for salvation of Iraqi Arabs. God, we pray for your salvation among Arabs all across Iraq, and scattered through other countries. God, we pray for your salvation among Iraqi Arabs. Please God, show your power in saving them, bringing the gospel to them. God, help us to realize that the resources of heaven are ready to be poured out in response to our prayers. And so, teach us to plead for the pouring out of those resources. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

David Platt serves as Lead Pastor at McLean Bible Church in Washington, D.C. He is the founder and chairman of Radical.

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