“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 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 (ESV)
Today’s passage is one we have considered previously but it is good and necessary for review. This is a training exercise we should do over and over and over again. So doing, it will become a natural response in times that we need God’s help. This is from what is called the Sermon On The Mount. Jesus was speaking to and teaching his disciples and many more who had gathered around him to listen to him teach. He was also speaking to us and this is a promise for us today. A promise we can take to heart and live by. We all have needs throughout our life and Jesus knows that. We all are looking for the truth and knowledge and guidance. We all come to places where we might find our way closed. Jesus tells us to Ask for what we need and it will be made available; Seek what we are promised and we will find it; Knock when the door is closed and it will be opened. We can be thankful and rejoice to know that God responds to us when we ask, seek and knock. He is always there to respond.
“You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.” – James 4:2-3 (ESV)
When we consider what God’s word teaches about prayer, we find that we are to ask—and to ask with humility, sincerity, and love, and with an understanding that God is sovereign and that His will is what we most wish to be done. For Jesus prayed in this way in the Garden of Gethsemane, praying “Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” (Mark 14:16) It was a bold prayer and Jesus had the courage to ask God to do something humanly impossible. Yet He showed complete submission to the Father’s will. It was God’s sovereign purpose that kept the cup from being removed as Christ prayed. In the same manner, the boldness, childlikeness, and eagerness we demonstrate when asking God to do the impossible are not undermined by His sovereignty; they are mercifully controlled by it. With boldness we too can come before our Father, trusting Him to accomplish all we need and all we ask that is in accordance with His will. We can never ask for something that is too big for God to do. So let’s ask!
“So I say to you, 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.” – Luke 11:9-10 (NASB)
IIn need? Ask. Receive. Lost? Seek. Find. On the outs? Knock at the Entrance. This is a promise. But these are not promises we will receive substantive goods. Not promises of material prosperity. Jesus is emphasizing the effectiveness of prayer. A threefold promise. The triple exhortation is as follows: ask, seek, knock. Arranged in an escalating scale of intensity. Ask. Asking suggests humility and a mindfulness of our need. When we asks, we expect an answer. This demonstrates a faith in God the Father. Having such a faith makes the prayer warm and personal. Seek. Seeking is asking plus acting. We must be active in striving to obtain the fulfilment of our needs. For example, as we pray for a deeper knowledge of the Bible, we should also diligently search and examine the Scriptures. Knock. Knocking is asking plus acting plus persevering. We are doing the knocking again and again until the door is opened. Another translation would be “continue to ask, to seek, to knock.” We continue knocking at the door of the kingdom-palace until our King, who is at the same time our Father God, and our Savior, opens and supplies whatever is needed.
“But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” – James 1:5 (NASB)
Too often perhaps if even once, we are prone to expect to receive what we are “owed” or “due.” The faulty thought that leads to this includes the idea that we don’t need to ask to receive what we are entitled to. We speak out only when we feel disenfranchised. Continuing the lessons and promises from the book of James, we find this command is a necessary part of the believer’s prayer life. When we need wisdom we are to ask God to give it to us for God has wisdom in abundance available and He is eager to provide it for those who seek it. God intends that trials will drive those who believe to a greater dependency on Him. They show us our own insufficiency. James’ Jewish audience recognized this as the understanding and practical skill that is necessary to live life to God’s glory. It was not wisdom of philosophical speculation, but wisdom contained in the pure and peaceable absolutes of God’s will revealed in His Word and lived out. It is only this divine wisdom from God that enables believers to rejoice and be submissive in the trials and testing of our lives.
In that day you will ask in My name, and I do not say to you that I will request of the Father on your behalf; for the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me and have believed that I came forth from the Father.” – John 16:26-27 (NASB)
Christ teaches what He meant by praying in His name. He did not mean asking Him to ask the Father, as if the Father was indifferent to believers, but not to His Son. Asking in Jesus’ name means simply asking on the basis of His merit, His righteousness, and for whatever would honor and glorify Him. We are in the time of the year when we celebrate the birth of Jesus. During these days we see lots of decorations and lights and beautiful pictures. We see pictures which artists have made of what we call manger scenes. We are reminded that when Jesus was born his mother had only a feed trough to use far a bed for Jesus. Even as he lay there, our verse reminds us that he was the Son of God for he came from God the Father in heaven to live on earth as a human. Our verse tells us that as we believe that Jesus came from God and love Him, God knows that, and He loves us. Let’s remember as we think of the time Jesus came as a baby, that He came from God because of God’s love.
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser.” – John 15:1
It is Thursday evening. Jesus and His closest disciples are in an upstairs room. Jesus is sharing His last Passover meal with them. They will be His Apostles and Jesus is also transforming the meal and establishing Holy Communion. These words are part of the Last Supper teaching. Jesus, knowing that very night He would be betrayed by one of them, arrested, tried and sentenced to death. His long hours of suffering would soon begin. Before 6 p.m. Friday He would be dead. Over and over Jesus was telling them that He and the Father are joined in one purpose. Jesus is the true vine from which all others are born into and serve the Kingdom of God. Jesus is about to pay the ultimate price to preserve the fruit forever. Judas, the betrayer has left their company. The other disciples will see Judas once more and then never again. The promises we have are woven throughout this chapter. Promises of abiding, sustaining, pruning, and bearing much fruit. Promises of direct access to God to ask for whatever we need in the name of Jesus. And the promise that we will all be filled with Christ’s joy.
“In that day you will ask in my name, and I do not say to you that I will ask the Father on your behalf; for the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God.” John 16:26–27 (ESV)
We learned a couple days ago in Apostle Paul’s first letter to Timothy, that there is only on mediator between us and God Almighty who is Holy and Righteous in all things. Becoming and being our go-between was the essential work and mission of Jesus, the Son of God. Those who believe in Jesus Christ and in what He has done for us, will often think of Him not as a negotiator but as a mediator working on our behalf. The Bible says Jesus does that for us and He is the only one between us and God who can mediate for us. That is exactly what Jesus did for us by dying on the cross for our sin, rising from the grace, and opened a direct pathway between us and God our Father. That is the promise in today’s verses. Jesus tells us, that believing in Him and loving Him is the way to go directly to God. We are not required to go through any intermediary and we don’t need Jesus to be more of a Mediator than He is. God the Father loves us and gives us the right of in-person audiences before Our Father God.
“Before they call I will answer; while they are yet speaking I will hear. Isaiah 65:24 (ESV)
Each of us carries burdens that drive us to seek help and answers from God. So we talk to Him in our prayers⸺both spoken and thoughts which we address to our Lord God. How then, do we perceive that God hears our prayers? We know He does because the Bible tells us that the effective prayer offered with clear conscience and relationship with God will be answered and bring about much in the way of answers. Sometimes we may talk about heaven being so far away. However, it is within speaking distance to those who belong there. The greater context of this verse is about a time yet to be. But we see a promise in this verse even for us today. We are promised that God knows our prayers before we speak them and he both hears and answers them according to His will⸺as we learn elsewhere in the Scriptures. Whatever we ask, according to God’s will, we receive to the glory of God. So it is in this promise today. God answers before we even call and hears before we even voice our requests. Yet, we continue to pray according to the will of God.