ask for it

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Wisdom, understanding, knowledge, counsel, piety, fortitude, fear of the Lord.

My eyes ran down the list of spiritual gifts eagerly scanning for a word to hone in on. There were brief descriptions of each.

"You have not because you ask not!" (James 4:2) was shouting at me from the top of the paper.

"Lord, what do I ask for?" I silently prayed. I had no idea. I needed Jesus to tell me what it is that I needed. So I silently asked, "Jesus, what do you want to give me?"

The two words that latched onto my heart were single-hearted and undivided, the definition of the spiritual gift of piety. I was perplexed at first, wondering what this meant. I felt my heart sink as my mind drifted to a weighty question.

How is my heart divided?

What happened next was beautiful. The Holy Spirit corrected my focus ever so gently. It was as if the Holy Spirit adjusted my chin to look in a different direction, communicating to me that now was not the time to focus on the places in my heart that are divided. Now is the time to receive the gift.

To set the scene, I was surrounded by co-workers, and we were leaning into this time of prayer together. I did not want to ask. My heart started pounding, and as the opportunity arose to ask the group to pray for me, I wanted to ignore the ever deepening thump of my heart telling me to speak up.

Staring at the floor to avoid eye contact, I mustered up the courage to ask for prayer for the gift of piety: to be undivided and singlehearted. They laid hands on me, and I listened to their prayers. Jesus spoke to me about this gift, and it became clear why the Holy Spirit wanted to give it to me.

The undivided heart swims through an ocean of love, breathing in the presence of Christ. Without fear, the undivided heart surrenders in joyful ease as it trusts completely in the faithfulness of God. Clinging to hope, the undivided heart invokes courage to cast its net another time into the deep.

In actuality, I want nothing more than to be released from hesitation, fickleness, or weariness that comes from trying to cast my sails in too many directions. Jesus wants to be my anchor. He wants to be your anchor.

He wants you to feel the security of trusting in his perfect will. Jesus desires for you to be grounded in his covenant of protection, generosity, unconditional love, loyalty, mercy, and eternity. He wants to answer your request to be filled with the gifts of the Spirit!

Here's a word I want to share with you, before we get to the asking... The Lord spoke to the prophet Ezekiel about restoring Israel, and today, he whispers this promise of renewal to you:

"Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! ... I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord." Ezekiel 37:4-6

The Holy Spirit longs to breathe his gifts into your dry bones. He desires an abundance for you, not a scarcity. He wants to awaken your soul and bring it to life. The Lord longs for greater union with you, and the spiritual gifts will draw you closer to his heart. Plus, he is a gift-giver!!

What gifts of the Holy Spirit will you ask for?

Wisdom: Insight into the purpose and plan of God
Understanding: A disposition to the Word of God; regarding the economy of salvation
Knowledge: As God sees it, of truth, of reality, of God himself, of sin
Counsel: Desiring new law perfection toward perfect charity (poverty, chastity, obedience)
Piety: Devotion to God; singlehearted, undivided, desire for him
Fortitude: Moral firmness in difficulty and constancy in pursuit of the good
Fear of the Lord: Awe and reverence before God

"Ask and it will be given to you..." Matthew 7:7