Concerning Prayer. Matthew 7:7-8
The Principle of Dependence: Ask!
Matthew 7a, 8a.
"Ask, and it shall be given you… For
everyone that asketh receiveth."
As indicated in the parable of Luke
11:5-9, Jesus gives the practical application of
persistence in asking when there is a sense of need.
The friend knocks at the door at midnight and insists on
borrowing bread: "I say unto you, though he will not
rise and give him because he is his friend, yet because of
his persistence he will rise and give him as many as he
needeth. And I say unto you, Ask and it shall be given you."
Another parable on persistence in prayer is given in Luke
18:1-8 where the widow "wearies" a hardened judge
by her "continual coming," and he finally responds
to her request. At the outset of that parable, Luke 18:1
says, "And he spoke a parable unto them to this end,
that men ought always to pray and not to faint." All
three words, Ask, seek and knock are in the present tense,
"Keep asking, keep seeking, keep knocking." When
the need is urgent, keep asking and you will receive!
The Principle of Desire: Seek!
Matthew 7:7b, 8b.
"Seek and ye shall find… and he that
Jesus had already commanded His true
disciples to "seek first the kingdom of God and His
righteousness," and then God would add all the "things"
(6:33), and this is now enforced in 7b; 8b. A sense
of motivation enters here, and it must be properly
directed. In I Kings 3:5-14 Jehovah asked Solomon what his
desires were, and when Solomon asked for "an
understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may
discern between good and bad" God gave him that, and
much, much more! Solomon’s motivation was for the honor of
God. The true disciple will "seek those things which
are above" (Colossians 3:1). Such seeking takes us
back to Matthew 6:19-21 with the admonition, "Lay up
for yourselves treasures in heaven… For where your
treasure is, there will your heart be also."
The Principle of Decision: Knock!
Matthew 7:c, 8:c
"Knock and it shall be opened unto you…
and to him that knocketh it shall be opened."
The Apostle Paul used "knocking on
doors" to discern the will of God. In Acts 16:6-10
they were actively trying to determine which way to go,
but "they were forbidden by the Holy Spirit to preach
the word in Asia…. they attempted to go into Bythinia, but
the Spirit allowed them not." Finally Paul had the
vision of the man of Macedonia, and he said, "Immediately
we endeavored to go into Macedonia, assuredly gathering
that the Lord had called us to preach the gospel unto them."
Christ is described in Revelation 3:7 as "he that hath
the key of David, he that openeth and no man shutteth; and
he that shutteth and no man openeth." It is true that
the Lord may use more than one method to open a door when
the true disciple knocks, but Jesus said, "To him that
keeps on knocking it shall be opened."
Some words of caution must needs be
presented here. There is an old saying that many have used
which goes something like this, "I do not know the Lord’s
will in this matter, so I am going to be like Gideon and
put out the fleece to find out just what God wants me to
do." This, of course, is taken from Judges 6:36-40, but
many well-meaning people forget verses 1-35 in their zeal
for imitating Gideon and the fleece. In those verses, God
had instructed Gideon to offer a kid of the goats as a
sacrifice, and fire came down and consumed it after which
God revealed to Gideon "Go in this thy might and thou
shalt save Israel from the hand of the Midianites. Have
not I sent thee?" Then God told Gideon to destroy his
father’s idols, and he did so.
Thus, in verses 33-35 Gideon blew a
trumpet and gathered the men of war from several tribes.
Only then did he put out the fleece on those two
occasions, but one thing is certain; it was not to
determine the will of God! He had already been told what
to do and had begun to prepare for war. The purpose of the
sign of the fleece was not to determine God’s will, but to
give a sign to God’s people Israel that Gideon was called
to be their leader, and to assure them of victory. God
even gave a third sign to encourage them, later in the
seventh chapter. The sad part is that when we know
God’s will and refuse to do it, then God may have
to discipline us, and we lose the blessing of obedience!
In the long run, in the fulness of time, it
is much better to walk daily, in His will for us!