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 the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.”Matthew 7:7-8
Have you ever heard this verse used like a blank check? I’ll confess, when I hear scripture misused and mishandled, it makes me cautious, so I spent some time digging: What is Jesus really promising us here?
First, this promise is addressed to believers. As part of the Sermon on the Mount, these are words for the ears of Jesus’s disciples and those who are part of his upside down kingdom. Pharisees and others were always referred to in the third person, so the “everyone” of verse 8 is “everyone in the Kingdom of God.”
Second, we need to be careful to allow scripture to interpret scripture, and both James and John have been helpful in shedding light on this promise:
- “And whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him.” (1 John 3:22)
Ask before you ask: Am I living in obedience to God?
- “You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.” (James 4:3)
Ask before you ask: What are my motives in asking?
- “He who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.”
Ask before you ask: Am I submissive to God’s will? Is my life characterized by faith?
Keep on Asking
The verbs form used for “ask, seek, and knock” in the Greek imply ongoing action.
The invitation goes out to us: Keep on asking! Keep on seeking! Keep on knocking! God will not tire of your voice in his holy ear.Tweet
Too, there’s a building intensity in those verbs. Even my St. Bernard knows that I can ignore an “ask” or may even miss the point when he seeks me out, but when he “knocks” by placing a huge paw in my lap, he has my attention!
God Wants You to Ask
Let’s guard against the insidious slide into presumption in our prayers, but…
Let’s never forget that the invitation is there and it is valid. Prayer to our Heavenly Father should be as natural as breathing. Do you ever forget to go to him first–before employing all your self-salvation strategies? I sure do, but today, I’m remembering a poem by John Newton that dilutes all my callous caution in reading Matthew 7:7-8:
Thou art coming to a King.
Large petitions with thee bring,
For his grace and power are such
None could ever ask too much.”
So make sure you are qualified, make sure you’re asking in faith–and then ASK BIG!
Under the mercy,
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