Many People Including Christians Desire To Know The Meaning Of – You Have Not Because You Ask Not!

You have not because you ask not’ is quite a confusing sentence. What does the sentence mean? What implications does it have? To understand the verse, we must look at what was said before and after it. We must dig deeper into the connotations and context of the verse.

What Verse In The Bible Says You Have Not Because You Ask Not?

The Bible talks about this in James 4:2-3.

“You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet, but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. 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.”

James 4:2-3

Therefore, let us discuss the implications of these verses.

What Is The Meaning Of James 4:2?

There is a distinct difference between the wisdom of the world and the wisdom that comes from heaven. In the above passage, James is talking to believers regarding their way of life.

We’re called to live according to the Word of God, not according to the ways of the world. It is true that no man is perfect and that we all make mistakes from time to time.

Yes, everybody sins, and the one who says he doesn’t sin is lying.

At the same time, it is possible to live a righteous and holy life. Christ makes it possible.

One explanation for the passage is that the readers weren’t getting what they wanted and used earthly means to do so, but James is pointing out the real problem here.

They didn’t trust God to know that He would provide for them. They even refused to ask God to provide for their needs or desires.

When we ask God for something, we have to first seek His will about it. These Believers refused to do so, and James was addressing this issue here.


You Have Not Because You Ask Not – What Is The Meaning?

A lot of times, we do not receive things because we do not ask God for them. Yes, it is that simple. How many of us take our needs and requests to God daily?

How many of us have a disciplined prayer life? How many of us pray through the entire storm? How many of us pray until we’ve seen God answer the prayer?

Fear keeps us from praying many times. We’re scared that the answer to our prayers isn’t what we want. At other times, we’re just too lazy to pray.

The Bible says in Proverbs 21:2, “A person may think their own ways are right, but the Lord weighs the heart.” God sees the contents of our hearts.

He knows what is going on inside, even if we hide it from the world. Our human hearts are not pure. When we don’t get something we want, we scheme and push to get it our way.

As much as we deny it, we’re guilty of it.

You Have Not Because You Ask Not Steve Harvey

Our intentions aren’t always pure. Does this mean we’re always doing things or asking God for something with the wrong intentions?

By no means!

Another thing we forget is that we cannot deceive or manipulate God. He knows and sees everything. We also forget that He is able to supply all our needs.

The Devil was thrown out of heaven because of his pride. He wanted to be above God and build his throne above that of the Lord; pride was his fall. 

A lot of us are guilty of allowing pride to take root in our hearts. Superficially, it doesn’t look like pride, but when we go deeper, the intents are rooted in pride.

In this world of instant gratification, we’re constantly being bombarded with luxuries.

You Have Not Because You Ask Not – Don’t Have To Be Your Complaint!

As Believers in Jesus Christ, we could have every good thing that we desire. But we must know how to achieve it according to the Word and will of God!

Social media has taken over by storm, and everybody shows off their perfect lives with all their riches and possessions.

Looking at them triggers the need for instant gratification in us, and we want what they have as well. Advertising doesn’t make it any easier, either.

Everywhere you look, there’s a trigger or marketer pushing a product into our lives.

That is why it is extremely important to stay rooted in Christ.

“I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.”

“If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.”

“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 15:5-7

The Secret To Get What You Want!

Here’s the secret to getting what we want: to abide in Christ and want what He wants. It is to seek His will and do it. It is to stay saturated in Him at all times and to seek His will alone.

When we seek God’s will, we stop focusing on ourselves and start focusing on Him. We start to look at the world and our lives through His eyes, which makes us want to keep our eyes on Him at all times.

How Should We Ask The Lord For What We Desire?

There is a way to ask God for what we want. Firstly, we must seek His will in all that we do. If it isn’t in God’s will, discard it. I know it isn’t easy to get rid of our desires, but it is possible through the power of the Holy Spirit. James 4:2 says that we do not receive because we do not ask. So part of the whole deal is to make our requests or desires known to God.

In order to do this, we must pray. How do we pray? Here are two things to consider before you pray:

  1. Pray With The Right Intentions: As we’ve seen above, God sees the contents of the heart. He knows what’s going on inside your heart. His will is our command. We live for His glory; we’re His bond-servants, so let us pray for His will and act accordingly. The Bible says in 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.” God will definitely hear your if you pray right.
  2. Pray With Faith: We know that faith is extremely important to God. It is impossible to please Him without faith. The Bible says in Matthew 21:22, “If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” Faith is an important ingredient in getting your prayers answered. We live to please God; it is good for us to pray for faith. God wants us to have more faith. Faith comes by reading the Word of God.

If God Knows What We Need Before We Ask Him – Why Do We Need To Ask?

God is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent. He knows, sees, and hears everything. He is present everywhere, and nothing escapes His eye.

As such, why do we need to pray? Why is prayer necessary? The first thing we need to understand about prayer is that it is for us. Prayer changes us.

It draws us towards the throne of God. It brings us closer to Him.

God knows what we need even before we ask Him. But we ask Him because we need Him. Praying opens up our hearts to God’s miraculous works.

It increases our faith in Him.

The Power Of The Prayer Of A Righteous Person

The Bible says in James 5:16, “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”

God hears the prayers of a righteous person, so it is important to be right with God. There should be no sin in us when we approach the throne of God.

We need the Gospel every single day; we need a fresh outpouring of God’s grace daily.

The Bible is filled with stories of people praying and God showing up. The thing is, God, doesn’t just show up in an ordinary manner; He shows off when He shows up!

When the Israelites made a golden calf, God was angry. But when Moses prayed, God had mercy on them.

When Elijah prayed in faith, God showed up in the most amazing way; fire fell from heaven, and it rained thereafter (1 Kings 18:42-46).

There is a massive power in prayer. We must pray often. We ought to pray with a pure heart. We should always persevere in prayer.


We’ve seen the context and meaning of James 4:2. We have also seen how to ask the Lord that which we desire. After that, we’ve seen the importance of faith and purity of heart.

We’ve also seen that the prayers of a righteous person are effective. We’ve also seen why we need to pray even though God knows our every need.

In closing, we need to ask more and more often because God answers each and every one of our prayers.

Here is a link to Photos by Ron Lach

Leroy A. Daley

Leroy A. Daley is an author, blogger, YouTuber, and Bible teacher. Globally, he's helped hundreds of Christians understand the Bible better. He has been studying and teaching the Bible for more than forty years. He is passionate about the Lord and spends quality time with the Word of God every day. His Books are available for purchase wherever books are sold.

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