James 4:2d-3 [2d] You do not have, because you do not ask God.  When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.
•• A simple statement, but a profound revelation! —
• “You do not have, because you do NOT ASK God”!
• You think: “God is too busy with bigger things.”
• Or: “My request is too insignificant.”
• Or: “I don’t know if God will answer this request.”
• But the Bible says, “Ye have not, because ye ask not.”
•• When motives are proper, there is great power in asking God.
• It is normal and right for children to ask things of their natural fathers and their heavenly Father.
• Answered prayers should be the regular experience of the family of God.
1 John 5:14-15 This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.  And if we know that he hears us — whatever we ask — we know that we have what we asked of him.
•• Key #1 — Determine the WILL OF GOD, then ASK for that.
• Pray and search the Scriptures for God’s will. Ask God for wisdom (James 1:5) to understand His will.
• There’s great confidence in prayer once you have discerned God’s will.
• You know that He hears you.
• You know that you have what you’ve asked. You believe God that your prayers will be answered.
1 John 3:21-22 Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God  and receive from him anything we ask, because we obey his commands and do what pleases him.
•• Key #2 — OBEY God’s commands, then ASK your petitions of God.
• “We receive from Him anything we ask, BECAUSE we OBEY His commands” — cause and effect.
•• Key #3 — Live a life PLEASING TO GOD, then ASK your petitions of God.
• Jesus Himself said, (John 8:29) “...I do always those things that please him.”
• There is great power in petitions to God that originate from a life that pleases God.
• And the opposite — for example, 1 Peter 3:7 = Dishonor your wife, and your prayers will be hindered.
John 15:7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.
•• Key #4 — Walk CLOSE TO JESUS (“remain in me”), then “ASK ... and it will be given you.”
• For example, imagine asking God for help with His Son Jesus standing at your side and saying the "amen" to your prayer. Christ's presence will give you great confidence.
•• Key #5 — Be FULL OF THE WORD of God, then ASK of God from that knowledge.
• “If...my words remain in you, ask...and it will be given you.”
• Full of God’s Word, your faith to ask will be strong.
• Full of God’s Word, your confidence will be strong.
James 1:5-6 If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.  But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.
Matthew 21:21-22 ... If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.
•• Key #6 — We bring our LACKS and NEEDS before God and ASK accordingly.
• “Lord, I lack wisdom for this situation. Please grant it.”
• “Lord, I lack finances for necessary expenses. Please help me.”
• “Lord, my body is in need of healing. Please touch me.”
•• Key #7 — “ASK IN FAITH, nothing wavering” (KJV).
• Why not! Jesus promised: “If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”
• Ask God ... Believe God —> Answered Prayers!
Matthew 18:19-20 Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven.  For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.
•• Key #8 — It can be helpful to have a trusted PRAYER PARTNER, someone who will agree with you in prayer.
• Do this on the personal level — your spouse, a believing relative, a close friend (of the same sex).
• This is one of the great benefits of the assembled church! You can have other believers agree with you in prayer for your needs.
Matthew 7:7-8Ask [“KEEP ON asking” — Amplified Bible] and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.
•• Key #9 — “KEEP ON asking.” Be importunate! Don't give up.
• Jesus illustrated this with the man at night persistently asking for bread and the woman insistently pleading her case before the unjust judge.
Summary: Asking God and Experiencing Answered Prayers
1. Determine God’s will, then ask for that.
2. Obey God’s commands, then ask...
3. Live a life pleasing to God, then ask...
4. Walk close to Jesus, then ask...
5. Be full of the Word of God, then ask according to that knowledge.
6. Acknowledge your lacks and needs to God, then ask of Him concerning them.
7. Ask in faith, nothing wavering.
8. Find a fellow believer to be a prayer partner with you.
9. Ask and keep on asking and see your prayers answered!