In today’s gospel of Matthew 7:7-12, Jesus assures His disciples “ask and you will receive, seek and you will find, knock and the door shall be opened to you.
In this gospel of Matthew 7:7-12, Jesus repeats that whoever asks always receives, and whoever seeks, finds, and anyone that knocks will have the door opened for Him.
Before I proceed, this is one of the inspirational statements from Jesus that I kept as a guide. It applies not only to prayer but to every aspect of human existence. When you keep doing something, again and again, learning more and more, practicing it everyday, one day you become a master of that thing.
When you keep working hard, relying on God and having deep faith in Him, one day your light will shine.
In terms of our spiritual life, the more you pray, is the more you gradually draw close to God. The more you seek is the more you learn.
Hence, the more you persistently knock is the more you are opportune to break every barrier. In this statement, we see the need not to give up on God despite the challenges.
In some of the testimonies given by some people, they will always report how they have asked for particular intention and it didn’t work out at that particular time, then after few months, they tried again, now God surprised them.
Some tried several times, then at the point of giving up, God surprised them.
What it means that when God decides to answer our prayers is not in our power to decide. God has always an appointed time to answer our prayers. Therefore, to give up on God is the highest mistake we can make as Christians.
What Matthew 7:7-12 Does not Mean.
There are times when the things we face in life seem to present this promise as false. There are times when many pray, hope and even work hard yet the situation remains the same.
The first thing we have to know about this promise in Matthew 7:7-12, is that God is not telling us to turn Him into a machine who must obey whatever we say, and whenever we force Him, He would obey.
To ask here means to pray. In this relationship, there is One who we ask (God) and the one who asks (we). It indicates that the One who we ask (God) has what it takes to do what is asked of Him for the one who asked (we).
Therefore, it also shows that the One who We ask (God), must in one way or the other be superior to the one who asks (We).
In essence, to ask God something in prayer shows God’s superiority and power over us and that He has what it takes to do what we ask.
If this is true, then to go to God in prayer demands humility, obedience and trust. In this relationship, we ask, And the One who we ask (God) does it the way He wants. We do not detect for Him how He will do it.
Secondly, whoever asks, receives, means there is always an answer to every prayer. The answer could be yes, or no if it is not the will of God or that God has something better. The answer can be “wait” if there is a time God considers the best to answer our prayer.
When many ask, and they do not get exactly what they want or the way they want, they are tempted to lose hope. That we pray for something and things do not go the way we want is not a sign that God is keeping silent. He hears every voice at prayer but answers it the way He wants.
Never Give up on God but Remain In God.
To seek for something means there is an inner desire to search for it.
To seek for something means to go into action. It does not mean we pray only and sleep. To seek for something detests laziness. The Greek word used here is zēteite, which means to search with your heart.
What Jesus is trying to tell us is that if we pray, we have to seek too. Therefore, if we pray, we have to go into action. Prayer and works go together. Therefore, as you pray, do not forget to work towards the fulfillment of what you pray for too.
Secondly, Jesus is saying that if we seek God with all our hearts, we shall surely find Him (Jeremiah 29:13).
Do not forget that this hunger can only be known when we decide never to give up on God, even in challenges.
So when problems come, instead of giving up on God, hang your faith there. Be happy even. Though you may not know what God is doing, God knows what He is doing. So, it is a cause to be happy.
The time of great challenges is not a time of giving up but a time to prove to God how strong your faith is. Show God that you truly desire what you are asking.
Put More Effort.
So, we need to repeat this, when we hear “ask and you shall receive”, we often think God is only telling us to lock ourselves inside the room and begin to shout on top of our voices. Maybe the more you shout the more God hears. This is far from it.
This does not also mean that you stay without doing anything, and you expect manna from heaven. God can never encourage laziness. Even after putting the man in the garden of Eden, He instructed the man to till it and water the garden (Genesis 2:15).
In 2 Thessalonians 3;10, Paul also warns that He who does not work should not eat. So, in today’s promise, after Jesus says; Ask, and you shall receive, He also says seek and knock.
So, in Matthew 7:7-12, to seek and knock means action and effort. You have to work and pray. As you pray that God answers your prayer, make effort also on your part. God will now give you the grace to break those barriers.
Breaking barriers is not achieved through sleeping and whiling away our time. We have to work. If you are praying for progress, work for the progress. If you are praying for open doors, work for the open doors. Hence, if you are praying for peace to reign in your family or places of work, also work for it.
The reason many prayers remain unanswered is because the person praying refuses to work on the inspirations an ideas God gives to him or her during prayers.
This is why, I always encourage people to go in God’s presence with a pen and a paper. Once an inspiration comes on how to solve a particular problem, write it down and do it. You will marvelled at the results.
God is willing to give us good gifts. The only problem is that we do not have time for Him, or that we think He is a cosmic genie or machine we can control to perform the way we want.
Sometimes the problem is that we easily give up or maybe that we only ask to satisfy our motives and desires (James 4;2;3). God is good and whatever we receive from Him is good. Even His seeming silence may also be for good. Never lose hope.
May God have mercy on us and answer our prayers in a way good for Him. May He never forsake you. Amen.