Matthew 7:7-11 English Standard Version (ESV)
Ask, and It Will Be Given
7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. 9 Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? 11 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!
Ask – What do you need or desire that you can’t obtain on your own accord? We can be praying for minutes (or even hours!) before we really start praying. Until we arrive at a keenly felt sense of dependency, we are often doing more bargaining than praying.
Seek – As we seek in prayer we often have the sense we are, at the core, looking for something we have lost and we desperately want to find it again. This is true even if what we are seeking is clarity on a new job, discernment within a relationship, or simple provision – even practical considerations are occasions for Jesus to make His home with us! As we seek we draw deeper and deeper into our own hearts where we can begin to see what we really want, through even everyday requests, is to find Jesus and make our home there. If the beginning of prayer is asking through dependence on Him, persistence in prayer is honest and thorough seeking. In seeking, we refine our asking aligning our hearts toward our true home through what we are praying.
Knock – Prayer turns to conviction as we knock. How many business have been started only as potential through the writing of a business plan? How many marriages have been imagined through lovestruck smitten daydreaming? How many gardens have been plotted but not planted? Business have to have real doors for customers to enter and buy real things. Marriages start with first date invitations. Gardens have to have planted seeds covered with soil. And when we pray, we must knock. To find our true home in whatever we are praying for, we must actually go to the door and knock to enter. And God promises to open the door, to receive us. But we always must move out in conviction and knock.
As you move through this first full week of Lent, what are some prayer desires that are surfacing in you that you know you can’t obtain on your own? Where do you know you have to ask if you ever have any hope of receiving?
As you pray for these things, are there places where God seems to want to make His home in these requests, or do you sense as you seek that He is directing you elsewhere, perhaps to places that get closer to truer desires of your heart?
In what ways can you take that purposeful step of knocking?