Ask, Seek, Knock
Jesus continued His Sermon on the Mount by declaring the following 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 he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? If you then, being 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!"

Our Lord is again teaching on the subject of prayer in this context. Asking is making a request with one's voice, seeking is the act of pursuing someone or something, and knocking is an effort to open and pass through an obstacle. All three of these verbs are continuous in the Greek (i.e., one must continue to ask, seek, and knock), and they seem to be communicating the same basic idea in a progressive manner. When one prays to the heavenly Father, he must do so seriously, not vainly. Prayer is not to be an empty ritual. To pray correctly, one must not only "ask" for a blessing, but he must also faithfully "knock" and "seek" for the fulfillment of his request (e.g., Luke 18:1-8). Prayer is not an opportunity to make requests for things one is unwilling to work for or too lazy to sincerely pray for again if the petition is not immediately answered in the affirmative!

Prayers that are pleasing to God are offered from the heart zealously. When a person puts little heart or passion into their prayers, should they really expect God to put much heart into answering them? Friends, you must continue to ask, seek, and knock according to the Lord's will, and He will bless you. This is a promise of God, and He is faithful to keep His word! Let me hasten to state that although there are no explicit restrictions placed upon this teaching here, the rest of the New Testament does establish some parameters (cf. Matt. 6:14,15; James 1:6,7; 4:3; I Pet. 3:7; I John 3:22; 5:14).

I believe one proper application of this verse is that those who are genuinely seeking the truth are going to find it. I do not believe that there is anyone who has lived, or will live, who sincerely desired to know the truth, who did not have an opportunity to come in contact with it (e.g., Acts 10). No one can truly believe in this promise unless he has great faith in the providence of God.

In Matthew 7:9,10, Jesus speaks of "bread" and "fish." These were common foods for the peasants of Galilee. Human parents "give good gifts" to their children to the best of their ability because they love them; that is, they wouldn't give them a stone instead of bread or a serpent instead of fish. But, how much more will God the Creator, whose love and ability to give are infinitely beyond any earthly parent, "give good things to those who ask Him!" (Matt. 7:11). Jesus is comparing human parents (who are "evil") with God Almighty who is perfectly good and righteous in every way. Have you considered that God's love for you is even greater than your parents' love for you? This truth must be remembered when petitions are offered to the Lord and not answered as one thinks they should be. One's prayers should always center around the fact that God knows best and He has our best interests in mind, regardless of how He answers. The Lord doesn't just give good gifts--He gives the greatest gifts (James 1:17)!

Dear listeners, as we ask, seek, and knock, let us never view prayer as striving to conquer God's reluctance but rather as the act of laying hold of His willingness. "Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen" (Eph. 3:20,21).