Over the last several weeks we’ve been meditating on the question, why must we ask of Jesus in prayer? I have suggested eight answers to this question which you can find on an earlier post on my blog. For now, I’d like to turn our attention to the promises Jesus makes to those who will in fact ask of him by faith. We begin this six-week journey with the words of Jesus in Matthew 7:7-11.
“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 the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? 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!”
The promise Jesus makes in these verses is extreme. The one through whom all things were created, the one who sustains all things by the word of his power, has said that if we ask of him, seek him, and knock on his door, if you will, he will respond to us, he will be found by us, and he will answer us.
To help us process his hard-to-believe statement, Jesus uses the metaphor of a parent and child. He’s right in what he’s saying—what parent worth their weight in feathers would give a stone for bread or a serpent for fish? Only the most hard-hearted or mentally unstable among us would even think of doing such a thing, and therefore, how much more is God our Father disposed to give good things to those who ask of him, who seek him, who knock upon his door?
The logic is as hard to escape as the promise is to believe but as we meditate upon it we see that it implies something that precedes answered prayer. The proper context of Jesus’ stunning promise is a Father-child relationship in which there is genuine love and warmth, regular contact and communication, clear leadership from the Father and humble submission from the child. The context is one in which the child who asks, seeks, and knocks wants the Father himself more than anything so that his help and blessings are but icing on the cake of knowing him.
Understanding the relational nature of prayer and its answers is of utmost importance but as we grow in this understanding we must also grow in the refusal to minimize the extent of Jesus’ promises. Jesus meant exactly what he said and we would do well to receive and live by his words. “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.”
Prayer Focus: Pray that Jesus will help us understand the relational nature of prayer and the extent and power of his promises. Pray that he will teach us ask, seek, and knock at all times and in all things.