Asking vs. Begging

I recall an occasion while in primary school when a friend was fortunate enough to be able to purchase a treat we’d all been longing to try. A few of us gathered around asking for the chance to try a piece of it.

Well, that our friend accused us of begging and that stopped me in my tracks.

It was amazing how a change in perspective put a whole new spin on things.

My friend recognized that she had something, power maybe, over us and suddenly a hierarchy appeared in our friendship.

I didn’t like it. Not one bit.

What’s even more amazing is how that experience of more than thirty years ago continues to colour my interactions with others today.

And not just with my earthly companions.

Whenever I read or heard this text, the first phrase used to send a nervous tingle down my spine.

Image credit to YouVersion Bible App

Sounded suspiciously like begging to me.

Whenever I think about my prayer life in relation to that text, I have to consider that for a while I was missing out.

Sure, I prayed about the “big” things, but the supposedly-small and insignificant things, I kept for myself. Surely those were small enough to handle and not worth bothering God about.


Eventually, I came to the realization that the myriad of “small” things add up to a pretty heavy burden, and accompanying that are the added complications of stress, worry and anxiety.

But because I didn’t want to be seen as begging, I asked no one for help; not friends, not family, not even God.

Well here’s a game changer. I looked up the definition of both “ask” and “beg”. And I was surprised by the difference. Check out the results of my Google search:

Beg – to ask someone earnestly or humbly for something.

Ask – to say something in order to obtain an answer or information.

A major difference hopefully stood out to you.

It’s in the attitude!

Notice that in the definition of “beg” there are adverbs that attest to the attitude accompanying the verb.

It’s not enough to ask but it is doing so earnestly or humbly.

Hebrews 11:6 (NIV) reminds us that God “rewards those who earnestly seek him.”

Well, seems like I had some begging to do.

Do you?

When you switch from asking to begging God, you undergo an attitude change.

You lose the arrogance of entitlement, and you see yourself as you truly are – a sinner saved only through God’s ummerited grace and mercy.

I began to beg God for wisdom to make the right choices; for help to get through every day; for faith to trust in Him even when I couldn’t see the way and much more.

Begging implies your total dependency on God.

So, are you willing to ignore the negative connotations associated with the word, and surrender your all to Him?

Why don’t you give it a try today?

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