Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Matthew 7:7-8
Isn’t that an exciting and encouraging promise? If we ask it will be given, if we seek we will find, if we knock it will be opened.
Asking is one of the most basic elements of prayer. And yet, how many of us are too proud to ask for something. We think we can handle it on our own, or we just think we will automatically get what we want without having to ask. Like the child who wants a treat but the parent says “first you must ask and say please” and the little guy just clams up, “I want it, but I don’t want to ask for it.” And that’s how we are. And it carries over into adulthood, when a man needs help with driving directions – we don’t want to stop and ask! Because asking depicts the petition of one in a lesser position, (the needy or lost one) to a superior, (the one with the treat or directions). We must settle the fact that the Lord is God and we are not , and one way He teaches us to do that is through petition, through asking of Him.
“Ask and it shall be given to you… For everyone that asks receives” Matthew 7:7-8
“Ask, and you shall receive, that your joy may be full.” John 16:24
“If you shall ask anything in my name, I will do it.” John 14:14
When we come before God with a request, it is important to check our heart’s motivation in asking. We should:
- Ask in Faith.
Are we confident that God is able? He says if we ask it will be given, but do we really believe that?
But when you ask him, be sure that you really expect him to answer, for a doubtful mind is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. People like that should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. James 1:6-7
- Ask Unselfishly
“Suppose you went to a friend’s house at midnight, wanting to borrow three loaves of bread. You would say to him, `A friend of mine has just arrived for a visit, and I have nothing for him to eat.’ Luke 11:5-6
The request for bread is not for himself, but for the visitor. The needs of others are in mind. Think about the Lords Prayer, the benefit of others is in mind when we pray “give us this day our daily bread.” “Us” and “our”, that is “others minded” asking.
- Ask According to His Will
We can’t be selfish in asking things of the Lord. Instead, we must ask in harmony with God love for mankind.
And even when you do ask, you don’t get it because your whole motive is wrong–you want only what will give you pleasure. James 4:3
So, Like Jesus, we pray, “Father, Your will be done…”
- Ask in Jesus’ Name
Jesus said, Yes, ask anything in my name, and I will do it! John 14:14
When we ask for something in Jesus name it means that we are asking for those things that are consistent with His name. It’s not like saying “Please” or “Thank you”. The words, “In Jesus Name” are not the “magic words” of prayer. “Okay, I hear your request, now what the magic word?” No. It’s like asking according to God’s will, we don’t want to suggest that the Lord do anything or give anything that is outside the scope of His holy character.
Now if we ask according to the requirements of God our requests will be granted. But remember the nation of Israel again, how they asked for bread and the Lord gave them manna. The WonderBread truck didn’t just pull up to their tents and pack loaves of bread into their cupboards. No. God granted their request, but they still had to be diligent about going out every day and gathering it.
They still had to get out there every day and seek the manna in order to benefit from it. But what are we really seeking from God? To seek the gift and neglect the giver is to miss the blessing found in finding what we are seeking—God wants daily, personal, intimate fellowship with His children. So when He tells us to “seek and we shall find”, primarily, it is our heavenly Father who we are to seek.
Search for the LORD and for his strength, and keep on searching. Psalm 105:4
“as long as he sought the Lord, God made him to prosper.” 2 Chronicles 26:5
So how do I seek the Lord? What can I do to pursue relationship with God? Have you ever thought about that? Are there practical steps? The Bible gives us a few starting points.
- Seek Him with your whole heart.
And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:13
- Seek Him early in the day.
God gave manna with the dew of the morning; then when the sun became hot it melted. Therefore, those who failed to get up early in the morning failed to receive God’s provision for their daily bread. In Psalm 63 David affirmed; “O God, you are my God; early will I seek thee…”
- Seek Him with generosity.
The bible says that when we ask for something just to consume it on our own lusts we aren’t going to get it. But when we are givers and giving is our heart and motivation, then we are in the position to receive.
If you give, you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full measure, pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, and running over. Whatever measure you use in giving—large or small—it will be used to measure what is given back to you. Luke 6:38
The encouragement to knock, and keep on knocking, is about perseverance.
Suppose you went to a friend’s house at midnight, wanting to borrow three loaves of bread. You would say to him, `A friend of mine has just arrived for a visit, and I have nothing for him to eat.’ He would call out from his bedroom, `Don’t bother me. The door is locked for the night, and we are all in bed. I can’t help you this time.’ But I tell you this–though he won’t do it as a friend, if you keep knocking long enough, he will get up and give you what you want… Luke 11:5-8
Our perseverance in the promises of God is found in not giving up just because we don’t see the answers right away. If you are praying for a loved one you don’t stop praying just because they take a turn for the worse, you knock louder! You stay persistent because that daily, conscious communion with God through believing prayer is the desired posture for your life. He wants you to be in that place all the time—crying out to Him with heartfelt petition, seeking Him with your whole heart, and coming before His throne daily, hourly, making your requests known. Why? Because God is busy and others are also demanding His time? Because He forgets your request? No, a thousand times no. It is because He wants you to remember who He is, dear one. He is the Sovereign Lord of Lords. God Most High. God our Provider, our Shield, our ever present help in time of struggle—and He will take care of your needs out of the abundance of His great love. Ask. Seek. Knock.