Priorities and prayer
If we were to list our priorities in life, we would likely say that we want to have our basic needs met, we want to have a little bit ‘extra’ in reserve, and then we think that we’re in a good place to find out what God would have in store for us. However, Jesus desires for us to have our objectives in life properly organized. What he says should have top priority usually isn’t first in line for us.
Matthew 6:33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things [food, drink, and clothing] will be provided for you.
Matthew 7:7-8 Keep asking, and it will be given to you. Keep searching, and you will find. Keep knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who searches finds, and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
See how Jesus flips the order on us? He actually claims that pursuing a life that lines up with God’s priorities is more important than our basic sustenance…so much so that he makes two promises – that our basic needs will be met AND that when we aim for God’s kingdom, we’ll obtain it.
In order to drive home the point that our heavenly Father will actually reveal his kingdom and his righteousness to us, Jesus uses a comparison that we’re all familiar with – a father providing for the needs of his son.
Matthew 7:9-10 What man among you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake?
We read this and immediately think ‘Of course the father wouldn’t fulfill a good request with something useless (a stone) or something dangerous (a snake)’.
Anticipating this reaction, Jesus gives a comparison to demonstrate his application point:
Matthew 7:11 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!
Whenever a speaker wants his audience to understand something, he will make sure to drive the point by repeating himself in several different forms. So don’t miss out on what Jesus is saying in this passage.
Our pursuit of living as part of God’s kingdom and purposes is the most important aim for us in this life. It’s even more important that what we would consider to be the basic necessities – food, drink, and clothing. Jesus promises that the Father will fulfill our pursuit of kingdom living, even claiming that the Father is better at granting this request than we are at taking care of those closest to us.
Now that I’m convinced of the priority of seeking God’s kingdom and his righteousness, I just need to answer the question ‘how’. How do we do this? How is the kingdom possible to obtain?
Jesus said keep asking…keep searching…keep knocking…keep pursuing it by talking to God about it. Ask God about his kingdom, search for ways to live rightly in God’s eyes, knock when we have questions about what to do next. In a word, we need to