Daily Devotional

“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 - ESV

This is one of my favorite verses in the Bible on prayer.  In my book, it ranks right up there with Hebrews 11:6 and 1 John 5:14-15.  It begins with three mind-blowing promises for those who A.S.K. – Ask, Seek, and Knock.  At first blush, the promises sound like guarantees – “it will be given to you… you will find… it will be opened to you.”

But have you ever asked God for something and felt like he didn’t answer you?

There are a number of reasons why God sometimes chooses not to answer prayer: sin (Ps 66:18; Isa 59:2), asking for things that are not according to his will (1Jn 5:14-15), and asking with wrong motives are three of the main culprits (Jas 4:3).

But what if we ask for something that is genuinely good and our hearts are in the right place, yet we still don’t receive an answer?  In that case, perhaps the problem is we are asking… but we’re not seeking and knocking.

Have you ever wondered what the difference is between asking, seeking, and knocking?

Asking simply refers to making a request.  Seeking means looking for something – searching for it.  It implies that sometimes we don’t know what to ask for, so we need to investigate.  Seeking for something is more active than merely asking for it.  It’s a journey, a process that takes time and effort.  And it puts our faith to the test.  Knocking, on the other hand, means to strike or deliver a blow against something.  It’s more forceful than asking or seeking.  Ultimately, it speaks of desiring admittance.  It speaks of intimacy, communion, and fellowship.  To seek admittance is to be allowed into someone’s presence.

Let me give you an example.  Suppose I invite you over to my house for a wonderful dinner – grilled tri-tip, balsamic-glazed roasted veggies and potatoes, tiramisu for dessert.  If you’re smart, you might ask: “What time?  Where’s your house?”  But if you stop there, you wouldn’t even be close to experiencing the feast I prepare for you.  You have to get in your car and look for my house.  You may take a wrong turn or two, so it will take a little time and effort to find it.  But let’s say that finally you arrive at my place.  If for some reason you don’t knock on my door, you’re still not going to experience the feast.  You’ve got to knock until I open the door, and then you can come in and eat with me.

I think that’s what it’s like with prayer.  Sometimes we ask God for things, but we aren’t willing to seek and knock.  So we miss out on the opportunity to feast with God.

If we ask rightly, God will answer us.  If we seek persistently, God will show us great and mighty things we never anticipated (Jer 33:3).  And if we knock expectantly, God will open the door into his very presence, which is the greatest gift of all – the gift of Himself.
English Standard Version (ESV) The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
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