“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened."
That is a nice sample of the promises of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount. The promises of asking and receiving, seeking and finding, and knocking and the door will be open, are some of the most misunderstood of the promises. We read words like that and immediately are overtaken by our natural greed and think that we have received a license to ask for everything.
In reality, God does listen and provide answers to such prayers but we fail to see that God's answer is sometimes a "no" answer. Or, he could possibly answer with, "not yet." We also interpret this as a chance to drive up to God's window, much in the same way we drive up at McDonald's, and we expect God to be standing there asking, "May I take your order? And would you like to Supersize that?" Then we expect him to fill our order immediately, while we wait impatiently.
This text is sandwiched in between two others pieces of instruction from Jesus, both of which deal with getting along with others. One is about judging and the other is about treating others like you wish to be treated yourself. Why do you think Jesus ended his discourse on judging others, talked about asking, seeking and knocking, then told us to treat everyone the same way we wish to be treated?
Yes, God desires for us to ask, seek, and knock, but in the context of us expecting God to meet all of our desires, we fail to see two basic truths. 1. What we are demanding from God may not be in accordance with his will. 2. What we pray for might interfere with God's overall plan for us.
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
Ray Stedman, in his book Spiritual Warfare, uses this text to show us some elements that are present in effectual prayer.
- ·Do not worry or be anxious. This is your chance to turn everything over to God, because he can deal with it better than you.
- ·Pray about everything! Yes, God is interested enough in you to hear it all.
- ·The result of prayer is peace. Look at the verse again. When we pray, the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, guards our hearts and minds in Jesus.
When we pray, heaven listens and answers. The asking, seeking and knocking child of God prays in accordance to God's will.