Pressing On

with THE WORD

A study of the Scriptures to find out who God is, what is He like, and how to partner with Him now.

Ask, Search, Knock

Here are some commonly quoted verses regarding how we should pray

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.

Pretty clear, right?  The text says everyone who asks, so all we have to do is keep pestering God, and he’ll eventually give us what we’re asking for. 

Honestly, we don’t think of praying quite in those terms, but we do convince ourselves (and others) of similar thoughts, such as

·        If I pray about a situation every day for 40 days, God will hear and answer my request.
·        God hasn’t answered my prayer yet…maybe I’m not praying “hard enough”.
·        If I get a lot of people praying about my request, then God will be convinced to give me the outcome I want.

However, our experience tells us otherwise…everyone doesn’t get everything they pray for.  Healing doesn’t always come.  There are relationships that never reconcile.  Opportunities are lost forever because in some situations there are no take-backs, no do-overs, no mulligans.

So then what is Jesus really getting at here when he tells us to persistently ask, search, and knock?

We never want to read a few verses from the Bible without considering the context of the other verses around them.  In our case, we’re still looking at what Jesus taught during his Sermon on the Mount.  In a few verses previous to the ones we’re looking at, Jesus was teaching about how to avoid the trap of worrying, and said this:

Matthew 6:31-32 So don’t worry saying ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’…your heavenly Father knows that you need them.

Try to imagine life without a grocery store or clothing store.  The basic necessities of getting our next meal would be pretty high on our priority lists.  However, Jesus is instructing them to not get wrapped up in these kinds of questions…there is something more important than food and clothing, something else they should be pursuing.

Matthew 6:33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you.

All these things – food, drink, and clothing – will be provided by God when we focus on his purpose, his right way of living.  That’s a fantastic promise in and of itself…but then just a little bit later Jesus says

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.

Now that we see these verses context, it’s clear that Jesus is urging his followers to ask for, seek out, and pursue entrance into the kingdom of God and His righteousness.  Jesus is guaranteeing that his followers will obtain what they are after…the very thing they hold as more important than food and clothing…a relationship and partnership with the God of the Universe.

No other god, human, or religious system can fulfill a guarantee like this one.  Jesus claims that our Father in heaven will see us though.  Once again, Jesus’ teaching leaves us with the realization that the content of our prayers is much, much too small…and the relationship we’re being invited into is something much bigger and much better than anything in this life. 

That relationship is worth the effort it takes to persistently seek God.  Just like Jesus, I encourage you to keep asking, keep searching, keep knocking, and keep praying that God reveals the kingdom and His righteousness

Keep Pressing,
Ken