Jesus said to his disciples: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. Which one of you would hand his son a stone when he asked for a loaf of bread, or a snake when he asked for a fish? If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good things to those who ask him. Do to others whatever you would have them do to you. This is the law and the prophets.” (Matthew 7:7-12)
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”
How often have we heard this Gospel passage and said to ourselves, “God did not give me what I asked for. He did not answer my prayer for (fill in the blank).”
Notice that Jesus did not just say, “Ask and it will be given to you,” as if God is a supernatural vending machine. God won’t give us whatever we want – we need to align our will with his, and then we will pray for the right things.
Today’s scripture is about prayer and an invitation to pray.
During the Lenten season, we are called to examine our life with Christ who is a constant companion in our lives. Every day his shadow is part of our shadow. But do we live our daily lives acknowledging that presence? Do we ever stop and thank God for that? Do we have a daily dialogue with him?
That’s what prayer is all about. Prayer is about conversing with God. Sometimes formally and sometimes conversationally.
He stands at the door of our hearts and knocks. “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any one hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.” (Revelations 3:20) He lives in us and we live in Him. Prayer is the house where we learn what that means.
Prayer is more than just communicating with God. Prayer leads us into a life of communion with him.
It is our fuel, the wind in our sails. It’s through prayer that our daily life can become a classroom of communion. In that classroom we can learn the truth about who we are – and who we are becoming – in Jesus. Through prayer, we receive new glasses through which we will see the true landscape of life. Through prayer, darkness can be dispelled and the path of progress illuminated.
Through prayer, we are drawn by Love into a deepening relationship with Jesus whose loving embrace on the hill of Golgotha bridged heaven with earth; His relationship with His Father is opened to us; the same Spirit that raised Him from the dead begins to give us new life as we are converted, transfigured and made new.
Through prayer, heavenly wisdom is planted in the field of our hearts and we experience a deepening communion with our Trinitarian God. We begin to experience the mystery and meaning in those words of the Apostle and actually become “partakers of the divine nature.” (2 Peter 1:4)
I smile as I write this because it reminds me that my happiest moments are those spent in prayer. Not just formal prayer where we praise, ask and seek. But in conversational prayer – talking to Him throughout the day – walking my dogs, driving a car, being touched by an image or a scene or, in moments of darkness, knowing that He is there, listening and waiting to respond.
Prayer is such a privilege – but it is a conversation, an intimate encounter with God and it is the bedrock of our relationship with him. God is always there for us; he will always hear us. But the question this passage asks us is about self-examination. Are you in a position to ask, or do you first have to seek, or even knock?
If we are proactive in pursuing God in a manner appropriate to where we currently are at, then our prayer lives will be transformed and our relationship with God will grow deeper and deeper as each day passes.
Prayer of The Day
“Dear Lord of infinite wisdom and knowledge, help me to always place my trust in Your goodness and care for me. Help me to daily turn to You in my need and to trust that You will answer my prayer according to Your perfect will. I place my life into Your hands, dear Lord.”
Jesus is saying to us that the driving motivation in our lives should be to develop our relationship with the Lord and to seek our happiness in Him. As we find our happiness in a relationship with God, then our desires in life will change and the things we pray for will change and our desires will become more aligned to the desires of God.
God won’t give us whatever we want – we need to align our will with his, and then we will pray for the right things.