I recently read that the Bible contains something like 3,294 questions. As a born question-asker myself, the idea intrigued me. So I decided to go on a lookout for questions in God's Word. Today, on Day One of my experiment, my regular Bible reading took me to Numbers 11, where Moses whines to God about the Israelites' whining. I was fascinated to see that his complaint mainly took the form of questions. Lots of them, in rapid-fire succession. In The Message version, there were seven. In other versions, they vary between five and seven. But whatever version you read, you will find Moses peppering God with questions. Here's his prayer:
Why are you treating me this way? What did I ever do to you to deserve this? Did I conceive them? Was I their mother? So why dump the responsibility of this people on me? Why tell me to carry them around like a nursing mother, carry them all the way to the land you promised to their ancestors? Where am I supposed to get meat for all these people who are whining to me, “Give us meat; we want meat”? (MSG vss. 11-14)
Moses’ question-filled prayer started thinking about other prayer-questions in the Bible. Without even using a concordance, I can think of lots of examples: “How long, Lord?” “Should we go up against the enemy?” “Why do the nations rage?” “Will you heal my daughter?”
I’m not going to research them all now—I think I just want to enjoy them as they come up in my reading. But I’m already starting to consider theories and ask myself questions. I’m wondering how many times I ask God questions? And if I do, what kinds of questions to I ask? Are my questions complaints like Moses’ (which apparently was okay with God, by the way)? Or are they requests for information? Do I ask Him for wisdom? Or help? Or questions about who He is or what He’s like or what is on His heart?
I’m also drawing a fairly obvious but challenging conclusion: to ask a question is to invite an answer. It’s to invite conversation and dialogue. So, I’m wondering, how will He respond to me? Do I really expect Him to? What would happen if I asked God more questions than I do now?
Moses didn’t hesitate to ask, and God answered him. He reassured him, promised him help, and told him what the next steps were. Moses asked, God answered, as a man talks with his friend (Exodus 33:11). I want my prayer life to be like that. What about you?